LARAMIE, Wyo. -- Arthur A. Lauer, fondly known as "Archie", died at age 81, Feb.19, 2002, at his son's home at Laramie, Wyo., with his wife, Rema, and his family by his side.
Archie was the youngest of 15 children. He was born to Edward and Magdeline (Vollmer) Lauer, April 26, 1920, at Merna, Neb. Archie grew up on the family farm in Eureka Valley, Custer County, Neb. Archie was 18 years old when his father died, but he and his brother, Herbert, (who now resides in McCook), continued to operate the Lauer farm for a few more years until it was sold to provide for their mother. Archie met Rema White of Custer County and later worked for her parents, Loren and Lizzie, whose farm was located on the Cliff Table in Custer County.
On April 4, 1942, he was inducted into the United States Army. The next two and one-half years Archie was stationed at Dutch Harbor and Adak on the Aleutian Islands near Alaska. Archie and Rema were married on Jan. 14, 1945 at Paso Robles, California, at the Army Chapel. They spent their honeymoon in San Diego and La Jolla. His remaining service term was spent in Germany as World War II came to an end and he was honorably discharged on Nov. 9, 1945. In January 1946, Archie and Rema moved to Lusk, Wyoming and Archie began working at the Kilmer Creamery for his brother-in-law, Roscoe Kilmer, (formerly from Arnold, Nebraska).
In 1957 Archie opened his own business, "Archie's Dairy Bar" which specialized in hamburgers, sandwiches, ice cream, floats, milk shakes, and the famous "Jersey Cow" and "Jersey Calf" sundaes. Archie introduced the Niobrara community to the "instant photo" developed by the Polaroid Land Camera which he sold and demonstrated by taking photos of Dairy Bar customers. Archie's Dairy Bar also featured one of the largest selections of magazines in the region and Russell Stover candies, heated cashews, pistachios, and other assorted nuts. Archie spent a few years working at the Port of Entry, then at Culver and Sons as a parts manager and self-trained bookkeeper for Leif Culver and Carl Peterson. In 1977 at the age of 57, Archie began a new career working as Supervisor and manager of a newly created Niobrara County Weed and Pest District at Lusk, Wyoming where he worked full time through Sept. 20, 2002 when he became ill. Archie was abruptly admitted to the hospital at Casper, Wyo., for treatment resulting from prostrate cancer and from there was unable to return to his home or work in Lusk. Archie's remaining life was spent in Laramie with his wife. As supervisor for the Weed & Pest, Archie completed several college courses by correspondence receiving "A's" and accolades having only a 10th grade preparatory education. Archie became friends with and enjoyed the respect of many colleagues throughout the Wyoming Weed & Pest Districts, the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture, and Extension Services. Archie began and implemented consecutive annual farmer and rancher meetings bringing professionals, consultants, vendors and local agricultural producers together. A highlight of Archie's career was when he received the first Everett E. Johnson Award initiated by the Wyoming Weed and Pest Council in 1995 in honor of Everett E. Johnson, an Albany County Rancher who has made significant contributions to the Weed and Pest Program. Archie was recognized for having demonstrated outstanding weed and pest management practices in Niobrara County, a Weed & Pest District with the lowest fiscal budget in the State. Archie loved life in Lusk and Niobrara County where he and Rema brought up their two children, Diana and Warren. He served as Commander of the Wieten-Dups American Legion Post No. 4 in Lusk and also served there as Adjutant for over forty years. Archie had been the secretary and chairman of the annual outdoor presentation of the "Legend of the Rawhide"; secretary of the Lusk Chamber of Commerce; and, was elected and served as a member of the School Board for the Niobrara County School District. Archie never had an opportunity to participate in school sports but became an avid fan and supporter of the Niobrara County High School Wrestling program. His enthusiasm at wrestling matches was noted by fans as his vocal "encouragements" could be heard over the roar of the crowd when wrestlers would take to the mat. Absent any formal training in music, Archie became a strong vocalist in the tenor and baritone sections of the Lusk Community Choir during the 60's under the direction of the late Helen Bardo of Lusk. Archie was a dedicated and loving companion to Rema and together they were the same as parents to their children, supporting them in school activities, especially music, beginning in the children's grade school years and throughout their college and adult lives. His favorite pastime was spent with his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Archie was preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Magdeline; four brothers, Gustav, William, John, and Albert; one sister, Victoria Wagner; and three infant siblings; and one grandson, Dustin Arthur Lauer.
Archie is survived by his wife, Rema Lauer, of Lusk, Wyo.; two children, Diana Jean Larson and husband, Larry of Gillette, Wyo., and Warren Arthur Lauer and his wife, Judy of Laramie, Wyo. Along with dozens of nephews, nieces and cousins, Archie is survived by four brothers and two sisters: Edmond, age 96, of McCook, Neb.; Leona Fogle, age 95, of Hanford, Calif.; Nettie Kilmer, age 94, of Fremont, Neb.; Karl Lauer, age 92, and his wife Alvina, of Broken Bow, Neb.; Fred Lauer, age 90, and his wife, Marie, of La Mirada, Calif.; and, Herbert Lauer, age 85, and his wife, Velma, of McCook, Neb. Archie enjoyed the affections of several nieces and nephews who grew up in the McCook area or still remain: Velma and Bud Kircher, Geraldine (Lauer), Larry and Barbara Lauer and Mr. and Mrs. Victor Lauer; Patsy and Raymond Fisher, Cheryl (Lauer) Shullet, and Gary Lauer; Bethene and Terry Blackman, Ron and Debbie Lauer. Six grandchildren and five great grandchildren survive Archie's death, who are Michael J. Larson and his wife, Dawn at Phoenix, Arizona; Shannon Bethany Lauer at Santee, California; Kara Jean Larson and her son, Auston Larson, at Gillette, Wyoming; Jodi DeBerard and her husband, Zachery and their children, Betty Jo Goodwin, Erin Conley and Sharon DeBerard, at Laramie, Wyo.; Lauri Kelly and her son, Marshall Kelly, at Euless, Texas; and, Aaron J. Goodwin, at Laramie, Wyo.
Funeral services were held in Lusk, Wyo. on Feb. 23rd, 2 p.m., at the Niobrara County Fairgrounds Auditorium officiated by Reverand David Curtis, interim pastor of the First Christian Church, Laramie, Wyo. All of Archie's immediate family were present along with his sister-in-law and nephew, Louise Schmidt and Dale Schmidt, Merna, Neb.; a niece and spouse, Shirley and Dean Wilmoth, Kearney, Neb.; a niece and spouse, Ramona and Del Wagner, and a nephew and spouse, Harold and Alice Lauer, both from North Platte, Neb. Pallbearers were Hugo Lenz, Babe Schnorenberg, Allen Mooney, Robert Shoemaker, Stanley "Skip" Lewis and, Wayne Tatman. Pallbearers honored by name were Noel Larson, Darryl Manring, Ed Fulk, Billy Smith, Roy Reichenbach, Stan McNamie, Tom McNamie, Earl E. Lukkes, Everett E. Johnson and Rich Schnorenberg.
Interment was held at Green Hill Cemetery at Laramie, Wyo., on Feb. 25, at 10 a.m. The family has requested that memorial donations in memory of Archie's be given to the Lusk Ambulance Service, the Veteran's Memorial Fund at the Wieten-Dups American Legion Post 4 at Lusk, or the charity of their personal choice.