Geneva C. Lauer

 Geneva C.  Lauer
Cyril and Geneva (Severin) Lauer on wedding day

Geneva C. Lauer, 70, of Seneca, KS, died on Sunday, March 27, 1977 at the Nemaha Valley Community Hospital in Seneca.

She was born on March 18, 1907 on a farm northwest of Baileyville to Fred and Clara (Rastle) Severin.  She graduated from St. Michael's High School in Axtell and attended St. Mary's College in Leavenworth.

On Septemeber 12, 1927 she married Cyril J. Lauer at St. Michael's Church in Axtell.  Geneva and Cyril jointly owned and operated Lauer Funeral Home, founded by Cyril and his dad Phil as the first modern funeral home in Nemaha County.  Previously families held visitations and services in their own homes, but Geneva and Cyril help introduce the new custom of holding visitations at dedicated facilities at Lauer Funeral Home.

As an active partner in the business with her husband Cyril, Geneva earned a funeral director's license, which she held until her retirement in 1966.

Geneva enjoyed handiwork of any kind and was an expert seamstress.  She continued seamstress projects, such as assisting her granchild Chris in sewing a priest marionette for a school project, even when she was suffering from advanced arthritis.

Along with her husband she enjoyed many remodeling projects for updating what had been a vacant house for many years into a first-class funeral home and living space.  From her many remodeling projects and precise instructions to the work crews (and her husband!) you would guess she was a civil engineer.

In March of 1966, with both Geneva and Cyril having health problems, the funeral home was sold to their son David and his wife Sally.

Geneva and Cyril retired to a small house brought in from the country and set on the same block just west of the funeral home.  Cyril preceded her in death on October 13, 1967.  As Geneva's problems with arthritis and other health problems became more severe, her sister Jean Koelzer came from Kansas City to live with her.

Geneva took strong interest in the lives of her grandchildren, who called her "Neenee."  She took great delight in drawing her grandchildren into handicraft projects, especially the children of her son David, since they lived nearby in the funeral home.  She and her sister Jean created a tradtion of Easter egg coloring and Christmas cookie decorating with whatever grandchildren where available.  For grandchildren visiting from out of town, she played matchmatcher finding other kids for her grandchildren to play with via the grandchildren of her friend network.

In the early 1970s she became a fanatic about following news about the developing Watergate scandal in Washington D.C., going so far as to become the only person in samll-town Seneca, KS with a subscription to the Washington Post.  She created scrap books of news clippings relating to Watergate that she later willed to her grandchildren.  Even before the Watergate scandal, she would often quiz her grandchildren about world and national current events to instill a sense of social responsibility.

She was a member of Sts. Peter & Paul Church and St. Ann's Altar Society at the church in Seneca.  She was also a member of the VFW Auxiliary #7458 and the Nemaha Valley Community Hospital Guild.

Survivors include three sons, David of Seneca, Donald of Los Alamos NM, and James of Olathe; a daughter, Jeanann Colle of Denver; four brothers, Fr. Frank Severin, S.J. of St Louis, Henry Severin of Ellensburg, WA, Frederick of Fredericksburg, IA, and James of Omaha; two sisters, Jean Koelzer and Anna Marie Gruetze, both of Seneca; and 16 grandchildren.

Besides her husband Cyril, she ws preceded in death by two brothers, Urban and Bernard Severin.

Rosaries were prayed on Sunday and Monday evenings at Lauer Funeral Home.  Mass of Christian burial was offered on Tuesday at Sts. Peter & Paul Church.  Burial was in the church cemetery.

Pall bearers were Collette Colle, Gregg Colle, Janelle Colle, Terri Lauer, Joe Lauer, Chris Lauer and Stephanie Lauer.  Honorary pall bearers were Chris Colle, Annette Colle, Martha Lauer, Greg Lauer, Kristi Lauer, Ann Lauer and Joel Lauer.

Memorials may be given for the Nemaha Valley Community Hospital or the Seneca Library.