BLAUER John and Laura Blauer, both 91 years old and married
for 67 years, died during the same week in November.
Laura Smith Blauer died on Nov. 9, 2014, at Haven
Hospice in Gainesville, Fla., of complications from Alzheimers. Laura
Smith was born on July 18, 1923, in Independence, Mo., the only child of
Beulah Nancy Blair and Claude Carson Smith. She spent her childhood in
Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas and graduated from Prairie Grove High
School (Ark.) in 1939. Laura's family moved to Jacksonville, Fla., in
1942, and she worked as a secretary.
John Maurice Blauer died on Nov. 15, 2014, at North
Florida Regional Medical Center in Gainesville, Fla., of pneumonia. John
was born on Aug. 27, 1923, in Mountain Top, Pa., the eldest son of
Catherine Hughes and John Emlyn Blower. His family later moved to Morris
Run, Pa., where John graduated from high school. John joined the army in
1942 and became a machine gunner in Co. F, 508th Paratroop Infantry,
82nd Airborne Division. John's unit was dropped behind German lines in
the early morning hours of D-Day. He fought in Normandy for a month
before being wounded and evacuated to England. John rejoined Co. F in
France in December 1944 and within hours was ordered to Belgium for what
became the Battle of the Bulge. John was awarded three Bronze Battle
Stars, the Purple Heart and other citations, and his war service was
chronicled by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Project at UF. John was
the last survivor of his band of brothers.
After the war, John met Laura while visiting
Jacksonville, and they married four months later on March 8, 1947. John
and Laura lived in Gainesville while John earned his B.S. in Business
Administration at the University of Florida. In 1951 they returned to
Jacksonville where they raised their family. Early in their marriage,
John worked in various sales jobs. In the early 1960s, John became a
bookman and owned, over the next three decades, The Old Book Store, The
Downtown Book Shop, The San Jose Bookstore and The San Marco Bookstore.
He became an expert in rare books, maps, documents and prints and had
clients all over the country. Laura worked beside John in a business
they both loved. In 2009, they moved to Gainesville to be near family.
John and Laura are survived by their four children:
Connie (Richard Holzinger), Kay (Sergio Lopez), Mike, and Robert (Cindy
Adkinson). They are also survived by grandchildren Erika Holzinger (Nick
Dolce), Rainer (Maja) Holzinger, Scott Lopez (Melissa), Laura Lopez
Levine (Josh), Missy Blauer, Jennifer Blauer Griffin (Beau) and 5 great
grandchildren. They are also survived by John's brother Robert (Maryann)
and several nieces and nephews. John's brother Paul died in June.
John and Laura were a devoted couple who complemented
each other in all things. Laura was calm, reserved, level-headed and
organized. John was energetic, gregarious, persistent and creative. They
lived happy lives and were wonderful parents. John demonstrated his deep
love and devotion to Laura the past few years by keeping her engaged in
life, even as her mental capacity diminished. They kept their vow, Till
death us do part.
Cremation arrangements were made with Crevasse's
Simple Cremation and they will be buried in Jacksonville National
Cemetery. The family plans a celebration of their lives in January in
Published in the Florida Times-Union on Nov. 23,
APPLICATION FOR WWII COMPENSATION --- TO BE USED BY HONORABLY DISCHARGED
submitted by John M. Blauer* [sic], ASN 12198584.
John was born on 27 August 1943 in Mountain Top
(Luzerne), PA and at the time this application was submitted was a
resident of Gainesville, FL.
John enlisted in
the Army at Buffalo, NY on 5 November 1942 and was assigned to Company
F, 508th PIR.
Pfc Blower was wounded in action
on 6 July 1944 in France and was evacuated. He was transferred to
an unknown hospital on 10 October 1944 and was later able to return to
duty with Service company for further recuperation.
On 9 December 1944 Pfc Blower was transferred back into
Company F and went into combat with the regiment on 18 December for the
Battle of The Bulge.
On 11 January he was listed
as a non-battle casualty, presumably for frostbite. On 11 April
1945 was transferred to an undisclosed hospital and did not return to
Although his death has been
reported (perhaps by his association company rep) to have occurred, no
record of his expiration or burial has yet been located.
* NOTE: John's surname consistently appeared as
"BLOWER" in federal census files and on his service records but as
BLAUER on this one application however the ASN matches in all cases of