Philip J. Lauer

 Philip J.  Lauer
Phil and Anna Lauer and family ~1912.  According to family lore, Phil had this photo taken at the ornate entrance to the Seneca Public School, then sent this photo as a postcard to out-of-town relatives saying this was his house!  Left to right: Anthony, Phil, Damian, Anna, Margaret, Cyril.

Philip J. Lauer, 52, of Seneca, KS, died at 8:45 am Tuesday morning, January 10, 1933 at his home, due to complications of throat disease.

Phil was born on December 12, 1880 to John Joseph Lauer, Sr. and Maria Marguerite "Maggie" (Machinot) Lauer in the Fidelity area. His parents had both immigrated from the Alsace Lorraine area of France. When he was two years old the family lived in Blaine in Pottawatomie County. When he was 12 the family moved to Moodyville in Rock Creek Valley, north of Westmoreland.

In 1901 Phil and his brother Tony came to Seneca and bought the furniture business of John Reinhart. As was usual practice of the day, the furniture business also included an undertaking business, which was run by Phil. At various times, Phil partnered in the furniture and undertaking business with John Wempe, Ed Wempe, A.H. Hutton and Clyde Jenkins. His funeral parlor and furniture shop was located on the east end of Seneca's Main Street business district.

Phil married Anna M. Wempe on May 17, 1904 at Sts. Peter & Paul Church in Seneca.

In 1927 Phil and his son Cyril opened Lauer Funeral Home on 4th and Roanoke in Seneca, the first modern funeral home in Nemaha County, KS. Phil continued to assist his son Cyril there until two years ago, when his health began to fail.

Phil was active in his community, serving at various times as county coroner, city council member, and other civic roles. He was also a long-time volunteer with the Seneca Fire Department.

Phil was a genuinely well liked man full of brotherly sympathy for people in poor health or otherwise in need, and was always ready to lend a helping hand. He had not been well since a fire in his shop on January 17, 1927. Friends and family have speculated that fumes from the fire, which included celluloid material creating noxious smoke, may have brought on his throat disease. After the fire he was hoarse for some time. In recent months difficulty in talking returned. He was also weakened by an attack of the flu last July.

Phil is survived by his wife Anna; seven children, Margaret Barbara Lauer, a registered nurse who attended him through his illness, Anthony John Lauer, an attendant at St. Joseph's Hospital in St. Joseph, MO, Cyril Joseph Lauer of Lauer Funeral Home in Seneca; Damian Joseph Lauer of A&P company in Leavenworth, and Rosanna Clare, Mary Genevieve, and Leonard Edward Lauer of the home; four brothers, John and Peter Lauer of the Westmoreland area, Fred Lauer of Sheridan, WY, and Anthony Lauer of Seneca; and four sisters, Anna Conrad of Los Angeles, Margaret Smalley of of Springfield, MO, Josephine Ernst of Yakima, WA, and Anna Karnowski of Seneca.

He was preceded in death by his father John Joseph Lauer, Sr. on March 29, 1899 in Blain, KS; his mother Maggie on April 19, 1920 in Blaine; and brothers and sisters.

He was a member of the Sts. Peter & Paul Church and the Knights of Columbus in Seneca.

Burial was in the Sts. Peter & Paul Cemetery. Pall bearers were Ed Herold, William P. Firstenberger, Joe Vogel, F.W. Severin, Tony Lueb, and Frank Geary.