OELWEIN - Walter L. Saur, Ret. Brigadier General, 86, of Oelwein, died Saturday morning, Jan. 11, 2014 at his home with family members at his side.
A Celebration of Life funeral service will be 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15, at Grace United Methodist Church, Oelwein, with the Rev. Connie Markle officiating. Interment will be in Woodlawn Cemetery, Oelwein, with graveside military rites conducted by the Air Force Military Honor Guard.
Family will greet friends from 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Jamison-Schmitz Funeral Home, Oelwein and for one hour before the service Wednesday at the church.
A public military service will be conducted at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home by the Oelwein American Legion Ross Reid Post 9.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to Grace United Methodist Church, Oelwein American Legion Ross Reid Post 9, Oelwein Community Healthcare Foundation, or
Online obituary at www.jamisonschmitzfuneralhome.com
Walter Leroy Saur was born Jan. 27, 1927 in Cresco, Iowa, the son of Walter Emil and Anna Emily (Bahr) Saur. The family moved to Elkader where Walt graduated from Elkader High School in 1944. In January of 1945, Walt enlisted in the Navy. He served during World War II in the Pacific at Iwo Jima, Okinawa and in China.
Walt received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education in 1949 from Coe College in Cedar Rapids. He then taught at Marion High School, while also working on his Masters Degree in Education, which he completed at the University of Iowa in 1951. That November, Walt joined the Air Force, and was a pilot during the Korean Conflict.
He married Shirley "Jane" Maxson on April 20, 1952 in Elkader. Walt continued his active duty military service as a pilot until going to law school in Des Moines at Drake University where he received his Juris Doctor Degree in 1959. He was on the Drake Law Review, and served as Drake Law School Student President. Immediately thereafter Walt and Jane moved to Oelwein, where Walt and his good friend, Gus Johnson, threw out their shingle as the Saur & Johnson Law Firm.
Walt was elected Fayette County Attorney in 1960, and he continued to serve in that capacity until he was appointed to the Iowa Board of Parole in 1978. He served on the Parole Board for over 20 years, longer than anyone has ever served in that capacity.
After Gus was appointed a District Associate Judge in 1993, the partnership was re-named Saur and Saur. Walt continued to practice law until well into 2013, a legal career spanning 54 years.
He remained active in the reserves, and served as a liaison and recruiter for the Air Force Academy. More than 100 Northeast Iowa "sons and daughters" became USAFA Cadets, and he and Jane kept in close touch with them throughout their careers.
Walt attained the rank of Brigadier General in the Air Force. During his 45 year military career he received the Legion of Merit, the USAF Lifetime Achievement Award, was a member for many years of Oelwein's American Legion Ross Reid Post 9, including serving as Post Commander, served as State VFW Judge Advocate General several years, was past president of the Iowa Reserve Officers Association, as well as being an active member of the Military Officers Association.
During his law career he was a member of the Iowa County Attorneys Association (1961-1978), President (1966), received their Distinguished Service Award, and was made a Honorary Life Member, was Executive Director and then on the Board of Directors of the ICAA (1965-1978), and received their Lifetime Service Award in 1998; was a member of the National District Attorneys Association (1961-1978), including serving as State Director four years, was on their Board of Directors for 10 years, and was the recipient of their Distinguished Service Award in 1974. Walt served on several committees of the Iowa State Bar Association. He was a member of the Iowa Crime Commission (1973-1978).
He was very active in his community. Walt served in many capacities at Grace United Methodist Church, including serving as Lay Leader, singing in the choir for two decades, teaching Sunday School and serving as past District Chairman of the Council on Ministries, Boy Scout Area Council, Iowa Crippled Children's Society, (County co-chair); American Red Cross (Past Director), Rotary (Past President), American Cancer Society, Community Chest (Past Chairman), Senior Citizens Housing Corp (Incorporator and Past President), Distinguished Service Award (Man of the Year) from Oelwein and Iowa State Jaycees, Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, University of Iowa Alumni Council, U of Iowa and UNI Parents Association, U of Iowa Dad of the Year (1975), and Oelwein Lions Club Citizen of the Year (2007).
Walt is survived by Jane, his bride of 61 years, three children, Wayne of Oelwein, Cindy Saur Grote and her husband Tom, of Cedar Rapids, and Dixie Saur Hinman and her husband, Andy of Iowa City and grandchildren Karla (husband Julian Grizzard), Natalie and Emily Saur; Kyle and Evan Grote, and Gabe and Ariana Hinman.
Walt was preceded in death by his parents.
Walt will be remembered for his devotion to his family, dedication to his profession, loyalty to his friends and his unique sense of humor. He greatly enjoyed family gatherings for Iowa Hawkeye games, birthdays, holidays and other get togethers just to be in each other's company.
Published in Oelwein Daily Register on Jan. 13, 2014