A 78 year Love Story

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CINCINNATI — When Helen Auer died on Wednesday, she was sitting in her chair. Her husband of 73 years came into the room and knew right away. Joe leaned over, gave her a kiss goodbye, and whispered in her ear: “Helen, call me home.”

Just 28 hours later, Helen did. Joe Auer died at the age of 100. His children figured he could manage one night without her, but not two. Wednesday they will have a funeral mass in front of the same altar where they were married in 1941.

This was a couple from a different time. They survived the Depression in East Price Hill, they met at church and had their first of 10 children before Joe went off to fight in World War II. Helen was pregnant with their second when Joe left. She kissed him at the end of the driveway and he walked down toward Greenwell Avenue and then Union Terminal on his way to go fight the Germans with the U.S. Army.

Helen (nee Fluegeman) was able to mail him a photo, somewhere in France, of her with their two children, Barry and Judy. Joe would meet Judy for the first time when she was 3 years old.

Joe carried that photo in his wallet as he trudged through Europe after landing at Utah Beach on D-Day. He kept that photo in his wallet, in fact, the rest of his life; smudged and worn and endlessly important. “It never left his wallet,” Jerry Auer, Helen and Joe’s 10th and final child, said. “It’s still in there right now.”

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Recommended Resources
Gospel Centered Marriages for a Glorious Church
Building a Godly Home, Volume 1: A Holy Vision for Family Life
Building a God-Centered Family, A Father’s Manual
Marrying Well: Practical Wisdom on Courtship for Parents & Children

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