Our parents, Paul and Marcelene Gauger, died too early in our lives. We have missed Dad and Mom for several years, and have been saddened that most of our children did not have the blessing of these wonderful grandparents in their lives. We are creating this blog to write some of our memories, organize photos, and share thoughts of our loving parents and their family. In doing so, it is our wish that our children, grandchildren, extended family, and friends may understand our love for our parents and our family. As King Benjamin taught, our parents lived: "...ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another." Mosiah 4:15. This truth, love and service are the legacy of Paul and Marcelene Gauger.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Dennis' Recollections of Grandma and Grandpa Gauger

My first introduction to Grandpa and Grandma Gauger was probably during a visit by them to our farm in Highland in July 2004. Dad, ever the farmer, purchased a small farm in Highland near the mouth of the American Fork Canyon, where he attempted to farm while he worked full time at the Geneva Steel Plant. My sisters, Paulene and Linda, and I were small, three, one and two years old, respectively, at this time. Grandpa and Grandma Gauger were accompanied by Uncle Ralph (Dad’s brother), his wife Rosella, and their two sons, Arvid and Gary. I believe that this was the one-and-only visit to Utah that Grandpa and Grandma Gauger made.

Front left to right: Arvid, Paulene, Julie and Gary. Back left to right: Ralph, Grandma, Grandpa, Dennis, Dad, Linda, Rosella.

I do have many vivid and happy memories of visiting Grandpa and Grandma Gauger in New Hampton, Iowa every few summers while growing up. These were long, wonderful trips by car where we stayed in motels, ate three meals a day in restaurants (before fast food), and saw some wonderful sights. We generally travelled through Wyoming and Nebraska on the way there, a long, boring route to young children, but the three of us pretty much enjoyed each others’ company in the back seat of the car, and brought or invented games to play. The return trip often was by a northern route, including at times, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming.

Grandpa Gauger died December 13, 1963; therefore only the first trips to Iowa included him in my memories. I do remember Grandpa as a man who was tall, quiet, gentle, and smelled of pipe tobacco. I definitely remember feeling that he loved me. Like my Father, Grandpa Gauger loved to fish and at times took us fishing when we visited.

Grandpa Gauger on his horse on Gauger Farm

Grandpa Gauger with his grandchildren left to right, Dennis and Paulene in front, Arvid, Linda (held in arms) and Gary.

Fishing in Iowa with Grandpa Gauger, left to right, Arvid, Grandpa, Linda, Paulene, Dennis

We always stayed at the Gauger home in New Hampton, which was a two-story house located near the base of the town of New Hampton’s water tank. Speaking of water, I do recall how terrible the water tasted in New Hampton compared to our fresh water in Utah. We used to mix Kool-Aid in the water so that we could tolerate it, or drink soft drinks, referred to in Iowa as “pop.” We stayed in a room upstairs where all the bedrooms were and suffered from the humid, hot weather typical of Iowa summers. Our visits also included time spent with Uncle Ralph and Aunt Rosella and their two sons, Arvid and Gary.

Earlier in his life before he moved to Utah, Dad adopted a son, Robert. We also enjoyed visiting with Bob and his wife Betty and their small children. Our Iowa cousins and relatives were not members of the LDS Church, but Bob would see that we were driven to church on Sunday in not-too-distant Waterloo to attend the LDS branch meetings.

On occasion, we drove out to the Gauger homestead in the farming country just outside New Hampton where Dad was raised. Most of the German immigrants to Iowa were farmers. Dad related stories of how hard and strenuous life on the farm was. He often would be pulled out of school to help on the farm, particularly during the harvest, and was not allowed to participate in sports or other extracurricular activities at school because he had to work. Dad also ran trap lines to earn money that his parents could not afford to pay him. I am not sure how far in school Dad went, but he often joked that he quit after the third grade so that he would not pass up the schooling his father had.

Grandma Gauger always seemed to be more animated and “difficult” than Grandpa Gauger. Grandma “Minnie” was often sharp, disciplinary, and hard to be around, but she loved her grandchildren and we could sense this. I believe Grandma had a difficult life, with her first child, our Dad, born out of wedlock and a hard life supporting a family on a farm. She also raised Robert when Dad moved to Utah and left him behind, which I believe gives us a glimpse of the true charity she did possess but not often show outwardly. At times we felt that the New Hampton grandchildren, Arvid and Gary, were favorites, particularly Gary. But thinking back on our visits with Grandma now, this perceived favoritism was probably because those grandchildren were always near her and not just visitors every few years.

I have a special memory of Grandma Gauger when I visited her along with Mom and Dad shortly after I returned from my mission in April 1973. Grandma was not well at that time and neither was Dad. We once again drove to Iowa and spend quality time with Grandma, Uncle Ralph and Aunt Rosella. They referred to me as the “Preacher” and repeatedly asked me to pronounce a blessing on the food, even when we ate one night at a local bar and pool hall that was one of Uncle Ralph’s favorite places to eat. We took some special pictures during this trip. Grandma seemed especially loving to me during this visit and it was the last visit Dad had with his mother. Dad preceded his mother in death on December 21, 1978. Grandma Gauger died on September 11, 1979.

Dennis, Dad Grandma and Mom 1973

After I was married, my wife, Katie, wrote Grandma Gauger and sent her pictures of our little children and family. Grandma responded with interest and tenderness, and made a special pink afghan that she mailed for our first child, Molly. The nature of this relationship was somewhat inconsistent with the Grandma Minnie I had known in my early years, but special to me and Katie. I believe this was another glimpse of the tenderness and love for family that really existed in Grandma’s heart.

We performed the temple work for Grandma and Grandpa Gauger on June 4, 1981 in the Provo temple. I particularly remember the sweet spirit when Grandpa and Grandma were sealed for time and all eternity. I felt her presence there and commented to my mother and to Katie afterward that I felt impressed that any hard feelings, sharpness, or conflict between Grandma and any member of our family were now non-existent.

Uncle Ralph, Grandma, Grandpa and Dad

Grandpa and Grandma Gauger

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Mrs. Santa

Grandma Bennett was known as Mrs. Santa. I like to think that our family’s love of Christmas was inherited from our Grandmother Bennett. She was a compassionate woman who worked along side a doctor as a midwife. She loved serving others especially her family. The following is an excerpt from a 1940 article that appeared in the Relief Society Magazine which was an official church publication at that time.

Yes, there really is a lady Santa Claus. No she does not live at the North Pole, but in her modest little home near the Wasatch Mountains. This short chubby Mrs. Santa is wholly convincing dressed in her bright red suit with its white trimmings, and with the saucy little hood coming down to the upper tips of the white beard, and black shining boots that afford her ample protection for wading through the snow and ice as she shoulders her bag and starts out on her round of home calls each Christmas Eve.
Tucked away in the bag are penny all-day suckers transformed into dolls with crepe paper dresses, penny balloons, tempting red apples with marshmallow faces, and many other inexpensive gifts to gladden the hearts of tiny tots. The jingle of the old-fashioned sleigh bells, which hang from her shoulder, announces her approach--yet there is no sleigh (or automobile) at her command. She walks.
Her visits take her to different parts of the city, and chiefly into the homes where she feels that “Santa” could give the most cheer--where there is an ill or a crippled child, a lonely woman, an elderly couple who might be “remembering” on Christmas Eve, or where sorrowing folk might be cheered by a comforting word. Then, too, Mrs. Santa has become a tradition in many families, and it would not be Christmas Eve without her brief visits.
To her neighbors and friends, she is Mrs. Mary Bennett, a good neighbor, a true friend, and her husband’s loyal helpmate. For many years, Mrs. Bennett had dreamed of the day when she could know the joy of making others happy at Christmas. But the years rolled by, each one much the same as the last. Then, ten years ago, she decided that if she ever expected to do anything about it, now was the time to begin. Little by little, her hopes evolved into a plan--not an elaborate plan, such as she would like, but at least one that would enable her to bring smiles of happiness to the faces of small children.
Although it was only a few days before the New Year, and there was yet ample time before the next Christmas, she decided to act upon her plans at once, lest she change her mind. Hurrying to town, she purchased the cloth for her Santa Claus suit. As she cut, stitched, and fitted, other plans came into being. With the suit completed, she turned her attention to the bag and its contents. She resolved that each day or each week, she would make some little gift to place in the bag. Out of the sewing box came bits of left-over materials which her deft fingers fashioned into adorable little front aprons for the wee lassies and comfy bibs for the babies. From small scraps of flowered lawn (pima cotton), white voile, and two-cents-a-yard lace, she created dainty hankies to delight many a small miss. Often the few extra pennies in her purse were spent for tiny, bright trinkets--a china doll, or quacking ducks and croaking frogs that sing the same tune when squeezed between the thumbs and fingers of little chaps who adore noise makers. A few old-fashioned net stockings were filled with candy, nuts, a few small picture books, and topped with an orange--these for the homes where children might be disappointed on Christmas morning. Then when those last busy days before Christmas came again, they found her ready and waiting with only the popcorn balls to make, wrap, and pack into her bag.
This very real Mrs. Santa humbly says, “If I can cheer but one person each Christmas, surely that is all the pay anyone could ask—and no one gets more joy out of it than I do.”
I have read this article many times over the years. I do not have too many memories of my Grandmother Bennett except for stories and photos given to me by others. This is my favorite. Posted by Paulene Gauger Davis, daughter of Paul and Marcelene Gauger, sister to Dennis Gauger, and granddaughter of Mary Bennett.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Gauger Coat of Arms

I did a brief internet search for the meaning and origin of the surname Gauger, focusing on its German origin. I found several sites that were commercial in nature, selling coat of arms, family crests and descriptions of the origin of surnames. Apparently, the surname of GAUGER was an official name, "the gauge", meaning a measurer and tester of wheat and barley. It was also occasionally used as an occupational name for a moneylender or userer, from the Old French word "gage", or pledge, surety against which money was lent. Other records of the name include GAGE, GAUGE, GAIGER, DUGAGE, DAGET, GAGEOT, GAGELIN, and GAGEY, to name a few.

I ordered a GAUGER coat of arms, specifically requesting a German origin, since that is where the Gauger family that settled in Iowa emigrated from. The following is what was sent to me:

I have no way to verify the authenticity of this coat of arms, but it is fun to speculate and delve into the origins of the GAUGER surname. Someone with a nice graphics computer in his or her basement in the desert of New Mexico or the high plains of North Dakota was happy to take my money and create this "authentic" German coat of arms, modifying slightly another coat of arms ordered by another gullible buyer.

Sunday, 17 May 2009


Paul George Gauger was born June 29, 1911 in New Hampton, Chickasaw County, Iowa the son of Minnie Alvina Koehler. Minnie married Herman August Gauger on December 17, 1915, and Paul took on the surname Gauger and was raised by Herman as his father. Herman and Minnie worked a farm outside of New Hampton, and Paul learned at an early age the value of hard work and the importance of an extensive "fix it" knowledge. This work ethic apparently came from the German ancestry of the Gaugers. Many German immigrants settled in Iowa and in the Midwest to farm this fertile part of the United States.Paul had one brother, Ralph Earland Gauger, born May 24, 1917

Marcelene Bennett was born June 16, 1917 in Provo, Utah County, the daughter of John Bell Bennett, Jr. and Mary Elizabeth Hustler. She was the fifth of six children and the first girl born to this family. Marcelene was educated in the public school system of Provo, Utah, and graduated from Provo High School. Marcelene had a wonderful example of Christ like love and service in her parents, and she followed this example her entire life.

Paul and Marcelene were married June 23, 1948, the second marraige for each of them. They had three children, Paulene born September 1, 1950, Dennis born February 19, 1952 and Linda born April 15, 1953. Their marraige was later solemnized in the Salt Lake City, Utah. Paul died December 21, 1978 and Marcelene died March 4, 1990.

Paul and Marcelene Wedding