December 17, 1950 - July 17, 2020


Francis (Fran) H. Sauer, age 69, of Sauk Rapids, MN, died from complications of COPD on Friday, July 17, 2020, at home, surrounded by all 13 members of his family.

When he talked about his obituary he said, “this is all it needs to say, I loved my wife, I loved my kids, I loved my grandkids”.

He was born on December 17, 1950 in Grand Forks, ND to Lawrence and Inez Sauer. He grew up moving around, attending a variety of schools because of his dad’s railroad career. He graduated from Staples High School in 1969. Fran started his railroad career in 1968, working summers for the Northern Pacific Railroad.

In 1974, he reconnected with Kaye Schroeder, who had also attended Staples High School. They dated for 6 years and married on June 7th, 1980, living in Sauk Rapids ever since.

Fran spent many years playing town team basketball, softball with the St. Joe Men’s Softball League, bowling in the St. Cloud area, and in his later years, golfing with the St. Joe crew.

Fran retired from the BNSF Signal Department in 2010. During his 42 years of railroad service he was continuously elected to serve his fellow union members as their local chairman of Local #154.

He started his retirement on his 60th birthday and soon after started a part time job with Central Signal. During his retirement, he also spent time traveling to Northern California with Kaye, golfing with Steve, coffee with the other railroad retirees, reading, and spoiling his six grandchildren.

He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Kaye, his children and their partners, Josie Sauer & Jesse Ponsness, Nicholas Sauer & Nicole Lieser, and Keely & Matt Lee, his beloved grandchildren, Simon Francis & Dominic Amanuel, Lincoln Jennifer, and Tyler James, Theodore Norman, & Carly Kaye. He is also survived by his brothers and sisters, Tom (Yvonne), Larry (Julie), Mike (Diane), Charlene, Jim (Peggy), Cheryl, John (Kris), Annette, and Mary Kay (Ron) Hirsch; his brother-in-law Keith Schroeder (Patrick Barnett), sister-in-law Kathy (Tim) Wilhelmson, and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Lawrence and Inez Sauer, his step-mother, Rita Sauer, his brother and sister, Kathleen and Daniel, and his in-laws, Norm and Glorene Schroeder. He was also preceded in death by his canine companions, Harry, Sally and the “best dog in the world”, Fairway.

A COVID-socially responsible gathering will be held on Sunday, July 26th from 12-4 at Mill Stream Park in St. Joseph, MN. The family requests that masks are worn. There will be a time of sharing memories of Fran at 2pm. Instead of flowers, please consider donating to Doctors without Borders, Boys Town, or an environmental charity of your choice.

“It’s been a hell of a ride!”