John Louis Sauer, died April 30, 2020, after a 10 year battle with cancer. Born November 5, 1935, in Longview, WA, to John Peter Sauer and Frances Dora (Tarp) Sauer; After the death of his mother and baby sister, John moved to Toppenish in 1940, with his father and brother Gerald (“Jerry”). His father remarried, and another brother, Michael, was born. After graduating from Toppenish High School in 1954, he joined the Army. After serving for two years and being honorably discharged, he returned to Toppenish and began farming with his father and his brother Jerry. He and his brother Jerry stopped farming, but continued working together - leveling land, demolishing buildings, and custom harvesting. In 1957, he married his first wife Mary, and they had four children, Jerry, Betty, Andrew, and David. They later divorced. In 1981 he met Linda, who he married in 1984, gaining four bonus children: Wendy, Bob, Kelly, and Karri.
To try to encapsulate John in a few words is impossible. He was a self-proclaimed junkie and lover of all things free. One of his favorite things to do was to stop his pickup, make Linda jump out, and pick up whatever he had just seen (a bucket, a tire, or other valuable finds). He enjoyed going to auctions and couldn’t resist a good deal, even if he didn’t need what he bought immediately; he thought one day he might, or someone else would, so purchasing 10 buckets of nuts and bolts made perfect sense (if anyone needs nuts or bolts, let us know). He took pride in using items he salvaged for projects and would happily tell you that a project cost him only the cost of a box of screws, or some nails, or he had broken down and bought new tin. For many years he collected and restored antique Caterpillar tractors with his son Andy, always on the hunt for the elusive “rare” Caterpillar Twenty-Five.
He dearly loved his wife Linda, or Linda Lou as he often called her. He often said that he felt lucky to have found someone so wonderful that would put up with him. John and Linda played a card game every morning, which could turn into a heated debate over who was luckier, or who had won the most games. He had a wicked sense of humor, loved to tell jokes (even though he could have used some new material), and would take a prank as far as he could. He was honest, and would share his opinion, whether you wanted it or not. He was generous, always willing to help others with projects, or give what he had (especially canned goods that he and Linda would spend weeks canning every year), even if he didn’t have much. He was one of the original customers at the Branding Iron Restaurant in Toppenish and would go to coffee almost every day (and sometimes twice) to visit friends and “talk business”. He loved animals, and reveled in the fact that on any given day, you might find 5-6 dogs and 2-3 cats sleeping on the living room floor or on the daveno with him. Finally, he loved and was intensely proud of each of his eight children; he never differentiated between his natural children and his step-children, they were all his.
John is survived by his wife Linda, his children (and spouses), Jerry Sauer (Mary), Betty Rambur (John, dec’d), Wendy Stover (Jerry), Andrew Sauer (Cheryl), Bob Adams (Lynda), David Sauer (Terri), Kelly Yarwood (Bill), and his “little girl” Karri Lapin (Michael), He is also survived by his brother Mike Sauer, many grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.
John, you were a kind, generous, hard-working, and loving person, and you will be missed beyond words. Rest in peace Johnny, until we all meet again.
John had wanted a graveside service followed by a party at the Branding Iron (of course). He did not want people to be sad, but wanted us to all come together, share our best John stories, laugh, and love each other. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this is not currently possible. John will be buried on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at Elmwood Cemetery, but we will get together to celebrate his life when it is safe for us all to do so.
Thank you North Star Lodge for a decade of wonderful cancer care. Special thanks to the Memorial Hospice team of Shelby, Belinda, and Dr. Waber for their dedication and care in John’s final months.