Gardening 10

John Michael Auer

March 2, 2024

John Auer Obituary

     John Michael Auer, affectionately known as "Poppie" to his family, faced his battle with pancreatic cancer with remarkable courage. He peacefully passed away at his home in Sister Bay on March 2, 2024, at the age of 81, leaving behind a legacy of love and resilience.

     Born and raised in Milwaukee, John's journey began at St. John Cathedral High School, where he met his soulmate, Rosemary Therese Merlo. Their love story spanned 59 beautiful years of marriage, marked by an unbreakable bond and endless devotion. Together, they raised a close-knit family who will dearly miss him: John (Christina) Auer II, Christa (Tony) Shields, and Joy (David) Verfuerth; grandchildren, Ashley (Lewis) Johnson, Sophie (Malik) Shields, Elizabeth (Joe) Auer, John Auer III, Jacob Verfuerth, and Lucas Verfuerth; and his newest loves, great-grandchildren, Christian Johnson and Myles Johnson.

     John was a hardworking man, known for his strong work ethic and determination. From proudly serving in the United States Army Reserves to his various roles with companies like Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble, he always gave his best. But his proudest moments came as a business owner alongside his beloved Rosemary. Together, they ventured into entrepreneurship, from The Eagle Harbor Inn in Ephraim to The Voyager Inn in Sister Bay, turning each endeavor into a family affair with everyone pitching in to make beds and clean bathrooms, landscape, and work the registration desk. Even in his "retirement," John embarked on a new adventure, starting his own independent landscaping business. He poured his heart into crafting beautiful outdoor spaces for his clients, turning strangers into cherished friends along the way.  Creating beauty in the world around him brought John immense pride and joy, a testament to his unwavering work ethic and generous spirit.

     Beyond his professional life, John's heart overflowed with kindness and generosity. He was always there for his children, with too many moves to count (cross-country and across the street), building front porch railings and spice racks, so much painting and wallpapering, planting trees, and most importantly sharing his strong faith. John also offered a helping hand to friends, and even strangers, without hesitation.

     John found solace and joy in nature, “putzing” on his land, planting vibrant flowers and bountiful tomato crops, feeding the birds, camping, boating, tinkering with his vintage tractor and wood splitter, fishing, snowmobiling, and even parasailing. John had a profound affection for animals, cherishing the many family dogs that graced his life, as well as the baby sheep, goats, and Brahma Bull he encountered during his many visits to The Farm in Sturgeon Bay.

     John was preceded in death by his dear parents, John and Margaret (Buehner) Auer; sister, Kathleen (Glenn) Carlson; and brother-in-law, Jimmy (Dolly) Merlo.

     A Mass celebrating John's wonderful life will take place on Friday, March 8, 2024at Stella Maris Parish - Fish Creek site at 11:00 a.m.

     Visitation for family and friends at the church from 9:00 a.m. until 10:50 a.m.

     In lieu of flowers, contributions to the American Cancer Society in John's memory are appreciated to support pancreatic and other cancer research.

     May John's warmth and compassion continue to live on in the hearts of all who knew him.

     Casperson Funeral Home & Cremation Services of Sister Bay is honored to assist the family during this time. Memories, condolences, and photos of John may be shared through his tribute page at


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March 8, 2024

9:00 AM to 10:50 AM
Stella Maris Parish-Fish Creek site
4012 State Highway 42
Fish Creek, WI 54212

Memorial Mass of Christian Burial
March 8, 2024

11:00 AM
Stella Maris Parish-Fish Creek site
4012 State Highway 42
Fish Creek, WI 54212


American Cancer Society
P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City OK 73123
Tel: 1-800-227-2345


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