Damian Johnsen Baer
AIKEN, SC – Damian Johnsen Baer, 37, died Sunday, October 20, 2013 in Afghanistan.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 AM Tuesday at St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church. Interment with military honors will follow in Sunset Memory Gardens. Pallbearers will be Ken Baer, Adrian Baer, Ethan Baer, Daniel Baer, Nathan Baer, Lauren Baer, Patrick Murch and Gene Pope.
Damian was born in Berrien Springs, MI. He graduated from South Aiken High School and received a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Masters in Opera from the University of South Carolina. He was a Sergeant in the US Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom, serving with the 2-1 Stryker Brigade in the Signal Intelligence Corp. He served one tour in Baghdad, and his brigade was the last to leave Iraq. He was most recently employed as a linguist at Baghram AFB in Afghanistan.
Mufti-talented, Damian played cello, and was in the All State Orchestra in Illinois in Junior High, He began singing in 6th grade, and his first solo performance was “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables. Damian was a member of the Aiken Choral Society and the St. Mary’s Choir, performing as a tenor soloist in both groups, as well as in the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC . Damian studied karate in high school and continued at college. He held a 2nd degree black belt.
Damian was a strong, balanced, talented, positive person - a loving and respectful son, an amazing brother and a steadfast friend to so many. Patriotic and dedicated to his brothers in arms, he loved his work in Afghanistan supporting our military forces. He received full military honors in his flight home from war, with a Dignified Transfer at Dover AFB on Thursday, October 24.
Survivors include his parents, Donald Ken and Debra M. Johnsen Baer, a son, Salvatore Andreas Ventimiglia; sisters, Lauren Baer, Madeleine Stratton; brothers, Adrian J. (Brittany) Baer, Nathan Baer, Daniel Baer, US Army Sgt. Ethan (Carletta) Baer, maternal grandmother, Viola Jean (the late Edward J.) Johnsen, paternal grandmother, Norma Gammel (the late Rudolph S.)Baer, Dayton; aunts Lynn Stout, Karyn Johnsen, Nancy Johnsen, Janet J. Sanchez, Jennifer Whitten; uncles, Greg Baer, Mark Baer.
He was preceded in death by an uncle, Edward Johnsen, Jr. and niece, Haley Elizabeth Baer.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Wounded Warrior Project, www.woundedwarriorproject.org.
A prayer service will be held at 6:00 PM Monday evening and the family will receive friends until 8:00 PM atSHELLHOUSE FUNERAL HOME, INC., 924 HAYNE AVE., AIKEN, SC
Damian’s online guest book may be signed at