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Nyack Journal News 
March 28, 1951

John F. Auer, Holder of Congressional Medal of Honor, Dies at Nyack Home


John F. Auer of 232 High Avenue, Nyack, a holder of the Congressional Medal of Honor and retired Nyack mail carrier, died yesterday.  Mr. Auer was warded the Congressional Medal of Honor on Feb. 2, 1884 for saving the life of a French boy at Marseilles, France Nov. 20, 1883.  He was at the time serving in the U.S. navy and the boy had either jumped or fallen into the harbor from the U.S. flagship Lancaster on which Mr. Auer was stationed.  The boy could not swim and had gone down twice before Mr. Auer, who dove from the ship, was able to reach him.

The citation which accompanied the medal was signed by Secretary of the Navy William E. Dandler, ear Admiral Baldwin and Lt. Commander G.A. Converse.  Mr. Auer served in the Navy for five years and while he was still n the navy the medal was stolen.  Mr. Auer however, still had the citation ribbon which indicated that he had been awarded the medal and the citation.  Until very recent years, he wore the ribbon always on the lapel of his coat.  In the years since the Congressional Medal of Honor was established less than 400 have been awarded.

The Medal was awarded in an elaborate ceremony aboard ship and was followed by a banquet in Mr. Auer’s honor.

During his service in the Navy, Mr. Auer traveled all over the world.  Among the places he had visited which he liked to recall was the Holy Land and Christ’s sepulcher.

Mr. Auer in later years became a leter carrier for the Nyack post office and had the mounted route in Central Nyack.  He had the assignment for more than 20 years.

He was musically inclined and could play the violin and cello.  This talent was passed on to his sons, Dr. Charles R. Auer of New York city and John Auer of Nyack, both of whom survive.  Dr. Auer plays the flute in four orchestras, one of them made up of doctors.  John Auer played for 25 years with the United States Marine Band.

Mr. Auer was a native of Nyack.  His father was the late Joseph Auer, who had a harness shop in lower main Street.  There were five Auer children, Theodore, Joseph, Kate, Charles and John.  Charles drowned when he was a small boy.  Kate Auer became Mrs. James B. VanWeelden.  Mr. Auer’s mother was married twice and he had four half-brothers.  James W. VanWeelden of Nyack is a nephew and Mrs. Frank Nelson Smith of Nyack, a niece.  Anton Fluhr and Donald Fluhr are half nephews and Mrs. Katherine Miller a half-neice.

Mr. Auer had been in ill health in recent years.

Funeral services will be held at the Flender Funeral Home, 118 High Avenue, Nyack, tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 o’clock.  Interment will be in Oak Hill Cemetery, Nyack.


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