Ralph Lee Auer passed away November 30, 2013 after a lengthy illness. He was 84 years old. Ralph in born in Fort Wayne, IN on January 31, 1929 to Walter William Joseph Auer and Gladys Rohrer Auer. Ralph attended North Side High School in Fort Wayne; he achieved the honor of being an Eagle Scout and was Senior Class President. At North Side High School Ralph won the Indiana State Debating Championship. Growing up in Fort Wayne, he spent time in his father's hometown of Columbia City, IN with his cousins and grandparents Henry Ludwig Auer and Clara Justine Fiedler. He also had great passion for his other grandmother Emily Rohrer of Berne, IN. After graduation from North Side High School, Ralph was appointed to West Point for the 4th Congressional District. Upon graduation from West Point, Ralph went in the Infantry and after completing the Basic Infantry course and Jump School served as a platoon leader in the 3rd Battalion 188th Airborne Infantry Regiment. At that time the third battalion was African American except for a few officers. In 1952-1953 Ralph served as a platoon leader and company commander in the 5th regimental Combat Team. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal and Combat Infantry Badge. When the Korea conflict was over he returned to the 3rd Battalion, 188th Airborne Infantry regiment, which by then was integrated. He resigned his commission in late 1954 and earned a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from San Jose State University. Ralph in October 1960 married Rosalie Ann Moore of Palo Alto, CA. They had three children. Rosalie died in 1988. In 1965 Ralph moved his family to Boulder, where he was an engineer for Ball Aerospace. Ralph founded Western Medical in 1973, where he sold the first lithium-iodide powered pacemaker used in the western US. Proponents of the status qou who advocated the continued use of mercury-zinc cells (similar to flashlight batteries) warned that lithium-iodide batteries would soon begin to explode in the chests of patients. In 1976, 60,000 mercury-zinc powered pacemakers were recalled and the entire pacemaker industry switched to lithium-iodide cells. In 1989, Ralph prepared a full page commentary for the Boulder Camera stating that mammography screening was both ineffective, and harmful. The ad caused such furor that Ralph was asked to debate the president of the American Cancer Society for California the previous year. Ralph and four local physicians were interviewed in the Camera. One physician agreed completely with everything Ralph had stated. Barry Lynes in his book "The Healing of Cancer" described Ralph's attempts to change cancer screening and treatment. Ralph retired from LEC, Inc. in 2000 after spending eleven years in technical sales. During that time he wrote a number of papers for professional societies describing Transfer System, a multipoint lighting powered system for collecting strikes. Ralph was a longtime member of the First Congregational Church in Boulder. Ralph is preceded in death by his wife Rosalie. He is survived by his sister Sue Auer of Saint Louis, MO; sons Roger of Boulder, Tom of Seattle, WA and Chris of Morrison; three grandchildren Lauren, Brendan and Evan also of Morrison and an extended family. A memorial will be held at a later date. Burial will take place in Pacific Grove, CA.
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Published in The Boulder Daily Camera on Dec. 22, 2013