Herbert I. Sauer

COLUMBIA - Herbert I. Sauer, 100, died Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010. He was a Columbia resident for 48 years.

“Dad was a wonderful, complex individual," said his son Charles Sauer. "He was very dedicated to lots of things—his family, his church, his work.”

Born in West Alexandria, Ohio, on June 13, 1910, Mr. Sauer was raised on his family’s farm by parents Irvin and Lucy Sauer. He was the middle of three boys, with older and younger brothers Ray and Hugh.

Mr. Sauer excelled academically throughout his life. He graduated valedictorian of his high school class, Phi Beta Kappa with Distinction in philosophy from Ohio State, performed graduate studies at Stanford University and got his master's degree in public health at MU.

Mr. Sauer used his studies to dedicate himself to a career in public health. When Mr. Sauer was 5, a windmill fell on his leg and broke it in multiple places. He was hospitalized for months at this young age and thereafter remained exceedingly active and health conscious for the rest of his life.

After he served in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1943, Mr. Sauer performed extensive research about geographic differences in the cause of death, and he was one of the first to do so. He worked with MU and the U.S. Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare, and he traveled 46 states in order to conduct the research. He continued to research and publish past the age of 80.

The same proficiency and commitment he demonstrated in his studies throughout his life were shown in his daily habits as well. Mr. Sauer took precautions to avoid heart disease and he was known for riding his single-speed bicycle to work every day.

His daughter Lucy Sauer also remembered how gentlemanly her father was.

“He always wanted to open a door for a woman and pull out her chair,” she said. “(But) he always referred to men as the weaker sex because, through his research, he realized that men died earlier than women. He really was ahead of his time.”

Mr. Sauer remained connected to MU throughout his life. He was both a distinguished fellow of the College of Arts and Sciences, and served on the board of the Peace Studies Program until 2008.

Mr. Sauer was married to E. Doris Johnson from 1946 to 1996 when she passed away. Together, they helped start the Columbia Visiting Nurses Association and funded housing projects in Nicaragua. Mr. Sauer was also a member of both Community United Methodist Church and New Horizons United Methodist Church.

He is survived by his son, Charles, of Austin, Texas; daughter, Lucy, of Little Rock, Ark.; his two granddaughters, Elizabeth and Hannah; and his great-granddaughter, April Rose.

Services will be at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Lenoir Chapel with the Rev. Sally Robinson and the Rev. Melvin West conducting. Visitation will follow.

Memorial contributions can be made to the PET project or Rainbow Network.

Tributes can be posted online at