The Obit For Mike Auer

Michael J. Auer

Published in Denver Post on August 3, 2010

Auer, Michael J. May 13, 1920 to July 31, 2010.

Mike died from complications of Interstitial Lung Disease on Saturday, surrounded by his loving wife and family.

Mike was born on a farm near Mott, North Dakota. He and his twin Jeremiah (Jerry) were the middle children of Louis Auer and Alice (Sullivan) Auer.

He spent most of his youth around Mott, playing baseball with Jerry (the best catcher he ever had) and living a small-town family life-terrorizing teachers with pocket gophers and playing in and around the Cannonball River. His family moved to Denver in 1934. Mike graduated from St Francis de Sales High School in 1938.

Mike is survived by his wife of almost 63 years, Virginia Grout Auer, and five of his six children: daughter Alice (Ori) and Ken Connor (Fort Collins, CO) and their sons Joe Busto and his son Coyle (Denver, CO), Stephen Busto (Seattle, WA), Mike and Susan Connor and family (O' Fallon, MO), and John Heigert Connor and family (Loveland, CO); daughter Marilyn Auer (Denver, CO); daughter Gloria Auer (Longmont, CO) and her sons Joe (Eugene, OR) and Sam (Boulder, CO) Bein; son Dan and Bonnie Auer and their sons Callum and Sawyer Auer (Vashon Island, WA); son David and Alia Auer (Franktown, CO) and their sons Ryan Auer and Jennie (Brooklyn, NY), Shane (Newport Coast, CA) and Randy (Tampa, FL) Archiquette, and great-grandson Solomon Archiquette.

Mike is also survived by his sister Mary Auer (Florence, AZ), and sister-in-law Jane Auer (Jerry's widow) and her children Jim, Joe, Sheila, Joyce, Paul, Jeannie (New London, WI) and Joan and Susie (Yuma, AZ); a sprinkling of cousins all across WI, nephews Fr. John Auer (Highlands Ranch, CO) and Bill and Lorna Auer (Sedona, AZ). He had seven great grandchildren.

In addition, he is survived by members of Virginia's family, friends and coworkers at The Bloomsbury Review (Denver, CO), and his 14th Armored Division Army buddies, including Jack DeWitt, Johnny Burgess, and Johnny Meyer, men he met and served with during the War.

Mike stayed in touch with his Army buddies by going to reunions and by phone. He spoke of his fellow soldiers, their bravery, and his lost men almost every day for the past 63 years. And last, but not least, his pup Cooper.

After high school Mike worked around Denver until he was able to play baseball for the Chicago Cubs farm team in Junction City, KS. Baseball was dear to his heart. Every one of Mike's children and grandchildren could pitch a baseball the length of the living room by age one.

Mike spent the last several months of his life reliving the baseball games he pitched to his beloved twin Jerry.

Mike played ball until drafted into the US Army. He served from December 1942 until July 1946. Mike was with Company A, 19th Armored Infantry Battalion, 14th Armored Division "Liberators" during campaigns in France and Germany, including the Battle of Hatten-Rittershoffen. He commanded an armored infantry platoon in combat and received a Battlefield Commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in France in January 1945. A parade was held in his honor on Armed Services Day, April 10, 1948, in downtown Denver to receive the Distinguished Service Cross.

Mike also received a number of other awards, among them the Silver Star, the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantry Badge, and the Army Occupation Medal, for his heroic service to his fellow men and his country. His last duty at the rank of Captain was as the Provost Marshall in Munich, Germany. He was in active overseas duty for 19 months.

After returning from the war, Mike participated in the GI baseball camp in St Augustine, FL, and from there went to the Chicago Cubs farm team in Janesville, WI, where he played for a season. He then returned to Denver to marry his sweetheart Virginia in September 1947.

Mike lived and worked in Denver for many small businesses until he became a journeyman pipefitter and worked with the Denver Public Schools as a pipefitter/steamfitter for 23 years until his retirement in 1986 at age 65.

Mike was a devoted and beloved husband and father, an avid birdwatcher and naturalist, a dedicated baseball fan (who loved the Cubs and the Rockies equally), a Broncos football fan, a coach of all things little league (especially pitching), and a great fisherman who taught all family members to fish on Scott Gomer Creek.

He loved the family cabin, Owaissa, in Indian Hills and spent much of his retirement closely observing the birds and wildlife there. He was a great storyteller and a bigger tease, and he knew more jokes than anyone could count. He had a wonderful singing voice and loved cowboy music and old western movies.

Mike's oldest son Tom preceded him in death (April 2003), as did twin Jerry and his older brother Edward and wife Elizabeth.

A Recitation of the Rosary will be held on Wednesday, August 4, 7pm at Horan & McConaty Family Chapel, 3020 Federal Blvd. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated Thursday, August 5, at Notre Dame Catholic Church, 10 am, 2190 S. Sheridan Blvd. with burial to follow at Fort Logan National Cemetery with military honors.