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Gary Sauer

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Gary Dean Sauer

April 23, 1942 ~ July 1, 2014

Gary Dean Sauer, 72, died in Seattle of complications related to Parkinson’s disease on July 1, 2014. He was the third and youngest child of Welcome Friend Sauer and Celia Miriam Knowles Sauer and was born at Cascade Hospital in Leavenworth, WA, on April 23, 1942. He graduated from Leavenworth High School in 1960. His early years were filled with adventures in the Icicle Valley and the high lakes, including hiking, fishing and hunting trips with friends and family. He received numerous 4-H awards for raising and judging prize livestock and was selected to represent eleven western states at the 1959 National 4-H Club Congress in Chicago. His specialty for the award was “telling the 4-H story.” While still a student, Gary worked during the summers for the US Forest Service on the trail crew, and during the summers of 1960 and 1961, at the Icicle Ridge lookout tower watching for wildfires in the wilderness. He began his career with the United States Postal Service as a mail carrier in Richland, then moved to the Wenatchee area, serving there as a mail carrier for more than 25 years. In addition to his career in the Postal Service, he ran a very successful business as a beekeeper, supplying beehives for pollination to orchardists throughout Chelan and Douglas Counties. After retiring from the post office, he designed and built outdoor fish ponds and stocked them with fish and pond supplies. He was also active in square dance clubs in central Washington and served as a club officer between 1989 and 2005.

Gary will be remembered for his devotion to family and friends as well as his fearless pursuit of new interests. He enjoyed years of fishing, hunting and nature photography. He learned to fly gliders at Fancher Field and explored the topography of familiar high lakes and trails from the perspective of a soaring eagle. Gary’s photograph taken from the cockpit and showing his sleek fiberglass sailplane in front of the Wyoming Grand Tetons was chosen for the cover of the January 1983 issue of Soaring Magazine. In his fifties, he took up paragliding and was delighted to climb with his mountain-savvy older brother, Leonard, to high Cascade cliffs and outcrops, then fly out over the valley, soaring and looping down to the base of the mountain. He also accomplished his lifelong dream of flying home from a mountain lake with a backpack full of fish. He worked as a volunteer driver for the forest service, hauling supplies in his pickup to firefighters, for example, during the Rat Creek Fire in 1994. In 2002, he self-published a memoir of his adventures in the Cascades and enjoyed expanding this into a second edition five years later titled My First Sixty-five Years. At the time of his Parkinson’s diagnosis, he had begun planning a climb to Everest Base Camp. Although that trip did not happen, he was able to look out from his home in East Wenatchee to Mt. Cashmere and dream about the Himalayas. He spent his final years in Seattle in close companionship with his daughter, sons, grandchildren, loving sister and others. A tribute to Gary may be viewed on line at

He is survived by his two siblings and their spouses, Dolores Sauer Dahl (Bing), Leonard Sauer (Jean); his sons, Wesley Sauer (Andriana) and Scott Sauer; his daughter, Char Sauer Saitta (Chris); five grandchildren, Emmanuel Sauer, Celia Abigail Sauer, Cole Saitta, Cara Mia Celia Saitta and Gray Dean Saitta; and nine nieces and nephews, Eric Dahl, Ellie Dahl, LeAnn Eernisse, Chris Dahl, Heidi Sauer Kinne, Joe Sauer, Welcome Sauer, Steve Sauer and Debbie Sauer Draker and their children.

We celebrate Gary for his loving sweetness, generosity, fun-loving and adventuresome nature, and the stories he told us throughout his life.

A Memorial Service will be held at the Sleeping Lady Lodge, 7375 Icicle Road, Leavenworth, WA, (509)548-6344, on Saturday, August 23,2014 at 1:00 p.m.

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