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
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
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
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
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.