KINGSFORD - Joseph A. Sauter, 91, of Kingsford, passed away on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012 at his home. He was born the eldest of six children on Sept. 29, 1921, in Ironwood, son of the late Joseph K and Caroline (Zimmerman) Sauter.
Joe married Jeanette Sundell on Dec. 31, 1941, in Ironwood, and she preceded him in death on Sept. 12, 2009. He was drafted into the United States Army Air Corps, served from 1942 to 1946 as a radio mechanic and was assigned to several bases in California before being assigned to the Philippines and Japan. Upon being honorably discharged and returning home from the service, he returned to work for the A&P Food Stores, where he worked his way up to manager and eventually supervisor.
He and Jeanette also owned and operated the Brass Knocker in Iron Mountain. Prior to retirement, Joe worked as a custodian for Central and East Elementary schools in Iron Mountain. He loved working with the teachers and students and was respected by all who crossed his path.
Jeanette and Joe retired to Sun City, Ariz. where they spent 17 wonderful years with friends from Michigan. They were active senior citizens and participated in bowling league, rec center activities, cribbage club, and won many gold medals playing bocce ball. They returned to the Iron Mountain-Kingsford area in 2003.
Both Joe and Jeanette were devout Christians and long time members of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Kingsford. When Jeanette passed away in 2009, Joe continued to live his life to the fullest. He spent a great deal of time with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who all adored him.
He watched and cheered for his beloved Packers, Tigers and Michigan State Spartans. He was on several bocce ball teams and drove friends to the Breen Senior Center where he was a regular every day at table 5 for his noon dinner.
He was always friendly and considerate of others and will be deeply missed. Although we are all very sad to have lost his ever optimistic and jovial presence, his humor and his practical approach to life, there is comfort in knowing he died very peacefully in his sleep.
Joe was the kind of guy you don't forget. He was a happy, gentle, kind and caring person, with the grace and dignity of a real gentleman who lived by a wonderful set of values. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother and friend.
Joe is survived by his three children, Sandy (Jim) Hoffman of Eden Prairie, Minn., Bill (Jeanne) Sauter of Escanaba, and Paul (Lynn) Sauter of Green Bay, Wis.; nine grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; four brothers, Carl (Doris) Sauter of Ironwood, John (Carolyn) Sauter of Sun City, David (Joanne) Sauter of Ironwood, and Dick (Karen) Sauter of Golden Valley, Minn; one sister-in-law, Beverly Lane of Ironwood; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his only sister, Gretchen (Skelly) Peterson; and his sister-in-law, Mona Kuklinski.
A celebration of Joe's life is being held on Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Chippewa Club in Iron Mountain.
There is also a visitation scheduled for Saturday from noon to 1 p.m. at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Ironwood. The funeral service will follow Saturday at 1 p.m. at the church.
Burial will be in the Riverside Cemetery. Full Military Honors will be accorded at the grave.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in his memory and directed to: Breen Senior Center Memorial Fund, re:Joe Sauter, 244 Parkway, Kingsford, Mich. 49802.
Condolences to the family of Joseph Sauter may be expressed online at ernashfuneral homes.com
The family has entrusted the Erickson-Rochon and Nash Funeral Home of Iron Mountain and Range Funeral Service and Crematory of Ironwood with the funeral arrangements.