Family-Placed Death Notice
SAUSER, Martin Martin H. Sauser, 88, of Atlanta, Georgia, died on December 19, 2011 from complications of Parkinson's disease. Mr. Sauser played violin with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra from 1951 to 1988 under conductors Henry Sopkin and Robert Shaw. He served as concertmaster from 1957 to 1974 and personnel manager from 1968 to 1982. Born January 3, 1923 in Chicago, Illinois, Mr. Sauser began violin lessons at age 6. At age 10, he was concertmaster of a children's orchestra in two performances at the Chicago World's Fair. He also played in the orchestra at Lane Technical High School, graduating in 1940. Studies under violin teacher Ramon B. Girvin ended when Mr. Sauser was drafted in 1943. He served with the 231st Station Hospital in England for three years. As a member of the "Gable Gators" orchestra, he played at officers' clubs and dances. He also played solo recitals at Norwich Cathedral. After the war, Mr. Sauser played with the Arkansas, Grant Park, and Minneapolis Symphony Orchestras. He married Grace Cochran of Bradley, Arkansas in 1948 and moved to Atlanta in 1951 to join the Atlanta Symphony. From 1951 to 1968 he also worked for Aetna Casualty and Surety Company. As personnel manager under Robert Shaw, Mr. Sauser played a key role in recruiting talented musicians to the Atlanta Symphony. During his career the ASO played its first Carnegie Hall concert (1971) and received its first Grammy award (1986). Mr. Sauser and Mr. Shaw both retired in 1988 after the symphony's first European tour. Mr. Sauser also played with the Atlanta Pops Orchestra and Hollywood Hills Orchestra. He played for Sunday services at Druid Hills Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, GA, for 50 years, where he also served as a deacon and elder. He is survived by his wife, Grace; children Ann Pridgen, Linda Mentzer, Martin Sauser Jr., and Jean Trammell; ten grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. "Pop Pop" was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He and his music will live on in the hearts and lives of his family; in the many people whose musical careers he helped promote; and in the continuing success of the Atlanta Symphony. Memorial gifts may be given to Druid Hills Presbyterian Church and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. A memorial service will be held at Druid Hills Presbyterian Church, 1026 Ponce de Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA, on Friday, December 23, 2011 at 11 am, with visitation at the church beginning at 10 am.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Dec. 22, 2011