Clifford Lauer

Obituary of Clifford Ronald Lauer

Clifford Ronald Lauer was born April 23, 1932 and died June 21, 2019 at the age of 87.

Born in Quintard Hospital in San Diego.  He attended Florence Elementary, Horace Mann Junior High, and San Diego High School, graduating in 1950.

From age 16 he earned his summer keep as a staff member of Camp Marston, near Julian, CA.  On Saturday nights the YMCA boys would go into Julian for the weekly dance.  There he met Estelle Gibson, whose family came from Imperial Valley to escape the summer heat. 

It wasn’t until 1951 that they discovered each other’s others merits and agreed to explore their friendship through the mail.  Ron returned for a second year at San Diego State College and Estelle pursued higher education at College of the Pacific (COP) in Stockton.

Ron had no idea what kind of a career he should pursue.  He got A’s in music but was flunking the requirements.  The Korean War was looming over him and because of poor grades he was in danger of being drafted into the Army.   So he chose his branch of the service – USMC.  Ultimately he became a cryptographer at K6, an air base south of Seoul, Korea.

Through the mail, he and Estelle pursued their friendship which developed into courtship and marriage one month before his January discharge in 1955. 

Estelle had graduated from COP and was settled into teaching 5th grade in Concord, California.

At the semester Ron enrolled at UC Berkeley.  To fulfill the language requirement he needed another year of Spanish.  When he sat in on the required class the teacher was using the Castillian style which was unfamiliar.  So he audited the German class next door where he easily understood “Mutter”, “Fater,” “Schvester” and “Bruder”.

Berkeley was a trafficky commute so the couple moved to Davis where he became the first German major to graduate from that University.

In 1957, never having spoken German to a native, he and Estelle sold their car and traveled to Germany, where they took delivery of the Volkswagen Kombi they had ordered.  They spent 5 months traveling throughout Europe, leeching off of contacts of friends of friends of friends.  Americans were a novelty at the time, and were welcomed everywhere.  As Southern California natives, and at age 25, they were not fully prepared for the colder climate in the winter months.  The low point came when the Kombi’s container of water froze, so they started staying in youth hostels, which cost 25 cents per night.

Upon their return to the United States, Ron returned to UC Davis to complete requirements for his teaching credential.  Their first child, Joe, was born in 1959 while Ron was finishing school.  The family of three moved to San Diego, where Ron got a job teaching German at Crawford High School.  After a year of staying up until 2 a.m. every night grading essays and writing lesson plans, Ron exited teaching and became a customs examiner in San Francisco where their second child, Jenny, was born in 1961.

When the Russians launched Sputnik, the US school systems suddenly realized that American youth was not geared to international communication so foreign languages became a focus in the educational curriculums.

Morse, in Southeast San Diego was a newly build High School and he had no trouble offering his language skills which would extend student knowledge of the outside world. 

In 1963, the family bought a house in Lemon Grove, just seven minutes from Morse High School.

Their 3rd child, Margaret was born into this community in 1963.

Over the span of the 16 years at Morse High School, Ron was a German teacher, an ASB advisor and a college counselor, and he founded a chapter of a student exchange program called American Field Service.  He and Estelle later hosted a foreign exchange student from Ghana, Africa.

Ron transferred to San Diego High School and later to Serra High School, where he served as a college counselor until his retirement in January, 1994.  He was dedicated to helping his students get to college, and spent many evenings on the phone guiding their parents through the process of applying for financial aid and scholarships.  He was an educator for more than 33 years and touched countless lives for over 3 decades.

From early youth Ron had an obsession with mountain-climbing--- Mt. Whitney, Mt. Lassen, Mt. Shasta, Mt. Rainier, and Longs Peak in Colorado.  His ultimate dream was to approach Mt Everest.  In 1998, he and Estelle journeyed to Nepal and with a Sherpa guide, hiked to Pokhara, the last settlement before the Everest Trail. 

 For the next 15 years, they visited all of the continents, including Antarctica. Their final trip was to Russia in 2009. 

In 2015, they sold their home in Lemon Grove and moved into a nearby retirement community. 

Ron’s lineage extends into four generations:

  • His wife of 67 years, Estelle
  • His younger brother Jim (and extended family, Gregg and Hilary)
  • His son Joe Lauer (Ella)
  • His daughter Jenny Dermody (Michael)
  • His daughter Margaret  Scheib (Ken)
  • His grandchildren – Josh (Natalie) Scheib, Keith (Brooke) Scheib, Kylee Scheib, Kevin and Craig Dermody, Gilli Lauer
  • His great-grandchildren – Brooke, Maria and Olivia Scheib

Memorial services will be held August 10, 2019, 2-4 pm

at La Vida Real Retirement Community, 11588 Via Rancho San Diego, El Cajon, CA 92019

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Memorial Service

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Saturday, August 10, 2019
La Vida Real Retirement Community
11588 Via Rancho San Diego
El Cajon, California, United States
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