July 26, 1943 – July 21, 2020
Reverend John Jeffery Auer III passed away on July 21, 2020, surrounded by family and loved ones at his home in Fresno, California. He was born July 26, 1943 in Oberlin, Ohio to John Jeffery Auer II and Eleanor Richmond.
He attended University High School in Bloomington, Indiana and went on to attain his B.A. in English at Indiana University. There he met his future wife, Joyce Juliane Juengel, while plying the Ohio River on IU’s Showboat Majestic. They married in 1965, immediately joining the Peace Corps for two years teaching English in Diyarbakir, Turkey. Upon their return, they began teaching in South Boardman, Michigan.
Greatly moved by the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, he and Julie moved to Chicago for him to attend seminary at Meadville Lombard Theological School. Proceeding his schooling, John went on to pastor for 25 years in Chicago at Parish of the Holy Covenant (1969 – 1971), Julia Gay Methodist Church (1972 – 1981), and the United Church of Rogers Park (1981 – 1992). Their children were born and mostly reared there.
They moved to California in 1992, where their grandchildren were born – Alexandra Castile, Aden Avila, Matthew Auer, and Mason Auer. In Fresno he served as pastor at Sierra Vista and St. Mark’s United Methodist Churches. In 1996, John and his family moved to San Rafael, California where he was pastor at San Rafael United Methodist church from 1996-2003. His final appointment was in Reno, Nevada where he was pastor at First United Methodist Church from 2003-2009.
Upon his retirement he and Julie moved to Naples, Florida until Julie’s passing in 2012. In Naples, he and Julie were heavily involved in PFLAG, Vets for Peace, Coalition of Immokalee Workers – along with two congregations – Celebration Metropolitan Community Church and First Christian Church (Disciples).
He returned to Fresno in the spring of 2012, and continued to pastor throughout the central valley as a locum tenens for the Methodist Church. He was an active member of Wesley United Methodist Church until the very end. He was loved by all and left an incredible legacy of service; fighting for the rights of the oppressed, spreading the word of God through Social Action and the People’s Gospel..
Preceded in death by his parents John Jeffery Auer II and Eleanor Richmond Auer, wife Joyce Julianne, and brother-in-law Donald Childs.
Survived by two sons and one daughter: John Jeffery Auer IV (Nicholas) of Reno, Jane Auer (Ayesha) of Fresno, Jacob Auer (Sonya) of Sacramento, grandchildren: Alexandra, Aden. Matthew, Mason. Two sisters and a sister-in-law: Jane Childs (Donald) of Las Vegas, NV, Judy Shaw (Bruce) of Kent, OH, and Judy Pence (Gary) of Oakland, CA. His sense of family extends through cousins, nieces, nephews, countless friends – and beyond!!
“Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.”
There was a celebration of life for John on Saturday, July 24, 2021, at 4:00 PM, at Wesley United Methodist Church, 1343 E Barstow Ave., Fresno, CA 93710-6309.