ELLISBURG — Lisa Bauer can barely sleep, eat or not cry, but she can find happiness when she is talking about Natalie, her 15-year-old daughter.
Natalie K. Bauer, a captain, honor student, avid fisher, lover of Luke Combs and a 15-year-old who would have entered 10th grade at Sandy Creek Central School this fall, died July 10 in a car accident. Natalie and an unidentified 14-year-old girl were sitting in the back seat of a 2018 Jeep Wrangler, being driven down Route 12 in the town of Turin when the vehicle went off the right shoulder of the road. The 14-year-old and driver suffered minor injuries. Natalie was taken to Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville, where she later died.
“Natalie’s fun-loving personality made it easy to love her,” said Tanya VanOrnum, a counselor at Natalie’s school. “She brought brightness and laughter to her teachers, coaches and peers. She is unforgettable to her Comet family as she remains always in our hearts.”
Natalie’s funeral service was held July 17 in Adams Center. Her pediatrician was there, as well as her orthodontist, softball umpires, coaches, teachers and countless classmates. The Bauer family brought their dog Tucker, which served as some comic relief for those who were there, but for the family it was impossible.
“Nothing made me laugh,” Mrs. Bauer said. “But I think having the videos playing was good.”
The videos were from TikTok, which is an app that Natalie loved. It is mostly short clips of funny videos or dance routines. She made TikToks by the pool, while fishing, while four-wheeling and while snowmobiling. Natalie had a friend over most days of the week, staying up late as they played in the pool.
“I’d hear them outside until two in the morning, splashing with the music cranked and just having a great time,” Mrs. Bauer said. “It didn’t bother me at all. I loved every second of the laughs and giggles.”
Natalie enjoying TikTok never bothered her mother. Mrs. Bauer would even make them with her.
“They are here and they are safe and they’re having fun,” she said. “What more do you want from your child?”
Natalie played soccer, softball and was captain of her junior varsity volleyball team. She was also in the National Junior Honor Society. At 15 it is somewhat unfair to ask if she had future plans, so her mother might say she was planning to walk the red carpet.
Natalie’s life revolved around her friends and family. She loved spending time down the street at her uncle’s house, Brian “Bri Bri” Overton, fishing in his stocked pond out back.
She did even more by playing travel volleyball and softball.
“I’m glad we did it,” Mrs. Bauer said. “I enjoyed every minute of it.”
She loved going on late-night drives with her older sister, Madison.
For Natalie’s funeral, Madison retrieved several videos from her sister’s phone and sent it to a friend, who edited them together to create a three-minute clip. It showed the giggler and risk-taker, and playing throughout the video was Luke Combs’ “Beautiful Crazy.”
Natalie was supposed to be seeing Luke Combs in concert in August, likely wearing her Luke Combs Crocs.
No matter what, for Natalie and for the Bauer family, it is all about making as many memories as they can.
“My kids are first,” Mrs. Bauer said. “I have no regrets. Some people may think they’re spoiled but I have no regrets. And Natalie just lived life. She lived every day — happy and carefree ... We made a lot of memories.”