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Robert A. (Bob) Kauer

1941 - 2018 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Robert A. (Bob) Kauer Obituary
Robert A. (Bob) Kauer was born November 19, 1941, to chemist Kenneth C. and music teacher Maurine E. (Neustrom) Kauer in Kearney, Nebraska. He lived most of his life in Michigan and Colorado, until his accidental death on May 25, 2018, while visiting Albuquerque.

Bob graduated from Midland High School in 1959, and proceeded to Michigan State University where he obtained a BA in Business and later an MBA. He joined the National Guard and responded to the 1967 Detroit riots.

Bob's career started as a banker in California and then an economic analyst in Detroit, Michigan. He realized corporate America did not appeal to him and a Dale Carnegie course propelled him into real estate sales. He started with the Thompson Brown Co. in Detroit, which provided him with a shared office, desk, and telephone and indicated they would be happy to accept one-half of any commission he earned. After eight months without a single sale, he began to prosper. He then partnered with Ben Crabill to form Crabill-Kauer Co. They joined forces with contractor Gordon B. Hall & Sons to build and lease industrial buildings. The men borrowed every cent but, by successfully managing their shared interests over their lifetimes, Bob was able to mostly retire at the age of 40.

Bob married Barbara Frances Schultz in 1967. Their union produced two lovely children, Regan K. and Matthew R. Kauer. He spoke fondly of Barbara throughout his life, even though their marriage later dissolved.

Bob spent many happy days at his in-laws' country house in Manton, Michigan, hunting partridge and woodcock with his first of four English Springer Spaniels (Cleo) and fishing the local trout streams. With his wife and kids, he often drove to Lake Michigan, rented cottages, and skied with friends in winter. He enjoyed duck hunting in Canada across the river from Detroit, as well as canoeing, sailing, and traveling. He once chased down a thief through the streets of Rome to get his wife's purse back.

In 1982 Bob decided he had lived in the Detroit area long enough. He moved his family to Durango, Colorado, a region he discovered as a child on family vacations. In Durango he quickly acquired two horses and ten acres in the north Animas Valley where he built a passive solar home and small farm. His dream Colorado adventure worked out better for him than the rest of the family. After five years, he moved his family back to the Detroit suburbs to resume his real estate career, except for his daughter who remained in Durango to attend Fort Lewis College. But Bob no longer enjoyed the pace of urban life and missed Colorado. He and Barbara divorced. Bob began a two year odyssey of self-discovery, exploring every challenge he was drawn to or afraid of. He spent time at yoga ashrams in the Bahamas and Berkshires, attended the Option Institute and other personal development workshops, read volumes of "self-help" books and lived in Boulder, Colorado, before coming home again to Durango. It was a wonderful and life changing experience. He became quite a different person.

Bob purchased an historic home on Durango's Third Avenue and enjoyed restoring it. He was an avid reader and frequent visitor to the Durango Public Library.

One of Bob's most gratifying accomplishments began in 2001 when he purchased a 36-acre farm in the Florida River Valley east of Durango to launch Shared Harvest Community Garden, the first community garden in the Four Corners region. People warned him it was not a good idea to allow strangers on his land, but Bob believed the farm was too beautiful not to share with others. His trust in others was deeply rewarded. The garden was a remarkable success for over 15 years with more than 80 households planting, tending and harvesting crops together. In 2005 he met Jama Crawford at Electra Lake. She became his loving wife, horse packing companion, and garden manager.

Bob was a colorful connoisseur of life who brought joy, laughter, friendly irreverence, and goodwill to everyone around him. His steadfast faith in humanity was an inspiration to all.

He is survived by his wife Jama Elizabeth Crawford of the home, children Regan K. Bloom and Matthew R. Kauer, and two beautiful granddaughters Ivy and Poppy Bloom, all of Michigan, as well as sisters Kay Fishburn, Wisconsin, and Pam Larocca, California, who will miss him greatly and cherish his memory always.

A celebration of life will be held Saturday, July 14, 2018, 4 pm, at the Kauer Farm, 3232 County Road 234, Durango, Co. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Friends of the Durango Public Library, 1900 East Third Avenue, Durango, CO 81301.
Published in The Durango Herald on June 6, 2018
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