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Ruth C. Auer, 89, honored as teacher and school administrator

Aug. 9, 1928 – Dec. 27, 2017

Ruth C. Auer, of Hamburg, honored for her work as a teacher and school administrator, died Wednesday in Hospice Buffalo, Cheektowaga, after a short illness from complications due to lung cancer. She was 89.

Born in Buffalo, the former Ruth Christine Thompson grew up on Seneca Street in South Buffalo, was an honors graduate of St. Teresa’s Elementary School and salutatorian of the Class of 1945 at Sacred Heart Academy.

She earned an associate’s degree in art from the Albright Art School and a bachelor’s degree in art education from Buffalo State Teachers College in 1949. She completed a master’s degree in art education and administration at the University of Buffalo in 1952.

She later received a superintendency certificate from UB and a doctorate in administration from the University of Sarasota, Fla.

From 1949 to 1958, she was an art teacher in the Buffalo schools and, in 1951, was the teacher in the first educational program on WBEN-TV, Channel 4. She chaired the Western New York Art Teachers Steering Committee in 1958.

Mrs. Auer became assistant principal of School 19 in 1958, then was named principal of School 42 in 1964. She went on to be principal of Allendale Elementary School in West Seneca in 1967.

During the 1970s, as a member of the board of the School Administrators Association of New York State, she oversaw many summer leadership workshops at SUNY Plattsburgh. She was elected the first woman president of SAANYS in 1976.

She was appointed director of elementary education for the West Seneca Schools in 1981, then was assistant superintendent from 1982 to 1985, when she retired to care for her ailing husband.

She married Richard B. Auer in 1952, when he was a draftsman for Bethlehem Steel Corp. He went on to teach drafting and architectural drawing at West Seneca High School.

For 35 years, the Auers raised standardbred horses on a 122-acre farm in the Town of Concord and raced them at Buffalo Raceway, Batavia Downs and other tracks across New York State, Pennsylvania and Canada.

They also were active at Pompano Park Raceway in Florida after they began spending winters in Pompano Beach in the mid 1980s.

After her husband’s death in 2003, Mrs. Auer moved to Hamburg and became a member of St. Bernadette’s Catholic Church, where she joined the Altar and Rosary Society, helped lead trips and programs, and led the recitation of the rosary for residents of the memory unit at Fox Run in Orchard Park.

Previously, she  volunteered as a religious education teacher for 20 years at the former St. Mary’s Catholic Church in New Oregon, was treasurer of the Altar and Rosary Society there and served as a eucharistic minister. She helped run card parties in the church basement and, until recently, at Epiphany of Our Lord Catholic Church in North Collins.

She was a board member at the Community Art Center in Hamburg and did watercolor paintings and calligraphy. She designed and painted her own Christmas cards every year. She also was a volunteer sign painter for the annual American Association of University Women book sale.

Since 2000, she had been a volunteer usher at Shea’s Performing Arts Center. She also lectured on the history of the eight school districts in West Seneca prior to centralization.

She was inducted in 1975 into Delta Kappa Gamma, a professional society for outstanding women educators, and held every office in the Beta Zeta Chapter except treasurer.

She received the Christus Super Omnia distinguished alumna award from Sacred Heart Academy in 2014.

She enjoyed pinochle, tennis, golf with the Golden Girls League and sewing. She made most of her own clothes, as well as her husband’s suit jackets and racing silks.

Survivors include 14 godchildren and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. Bernadette’s Church, 5930 S. Abbott Road, Orchard Park.

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