Obituary: Hauer, Harold Joseph
HAUER, Harold Joseph “Hal”
August 8, 1921 - May 10, 2012
Hal passed away peacefully on May 10th at Providence Sacred Heart Hospital after a short illness.
Hal was born in Terre Haute, Indiana on August 8th, 1921 to Alma and Frederick Hauer. He had a happy childhood, showing an early enterprising spirit by trapping and raising pigeons to sell to his neighbors. He also developed a lifelong love of the natural world, exploring and fishing along Racoon Creek.
After high school and a stint working at Allison Engine Works in Indianapolis, he struck out for California to seek his fortune. There he met and married Vivian Jones, who became the mother of his six children. It was in California that their first child, daughter Winifred was born.
With the advent of WWII, duty called, and Hal joined the Army Air Corps. He trained to be a pilot in Carlsbad, New Mexico and stayed there for the duration of the war as a flight instructor.
Son, Harold Jr., followed approximately one year after their first child.
After the war years, the lure of adventure and unlimited hunting and fishing opportunities drew him to Alaska. With limited funds, no job, two toddlers and a pregnant wife, he put the family on a ferry to Anchorage in the winter of 1945-46. Working at construction jobs and as a private flight instructor he was able to provide for his growing family and build a small home in Mountain View, on the outskirts of Anchorage. Their third child, son Fred was born during the summer 1946. During this time, Hal indulged his passions while providing moose meat and other wild game for the family table.
In 1950, son Dennis was born. The next year, Hal moved the family to a small homesteader’s cabin outside of Homer, which is a small village on the Kenai Peninsula. He worked construction jobs during the summer of 1951, while his children reveled in the daily adventures of living on the seashore in wild Alaska. Maybe it wasn’t so idyllic for Vivian who had to contend with four small children in a tiny cabin with a wood cook stove and no indoor plumbing! That fall he moved the family to Indiana to reconnect with this family and to see if “civilized’ life was more to his liking. One winter in Terre Haute helped him decided. That spring he bought a 37ft mobile home, and packing up the family proceeded to pull it out to California to visit Vivan’s family. From there, in the summer of 1952, family and mobile home headed back up to Alaska via the primitive Alcan Highway, a trek of some 3,500 miles.
Back in Mountain View, he built a home, started a successful mobile home park, and resumed flight instruction. During this time Hal was living his dream. He was bush piloting throughout Alaska and hunting and fishing with family and friends. He had many hair-raising adventures, including a mid-winter crash landing on Anatuvuk Pass and a hike out to a remote Eskimo village.
In 1957 Hal moved the family to Spokane, and just days later daughter Cynthia, was born. He purchased 10 acres just south of the city and built a large home for his ever expanding family. During this time he was a private pilot for business executives and worked construction jobs. In 1960, their last child Valerie, was born.
Always dreaming of being his own boss, at the age of 47, in 1968, Hal sold their home and purchased 80 acres of land five miles south of Spokane with plans for a mobile home park. After years of struggle, Mullen Hill Terrace finally opened in 1974 with son, Harold, Jr., as a partner. In 1977 and 1984 additions were made to the park bringing it to its current 119 spaces. This was truly a labor of love for Hal, putting a family enterprise together amidst the majestic pines he so loved. He always smiled when people told him that it was the most beautiful park in Spokane. During this time he also flew for Cascade Airways leaving the managing of the park to Harold Jr., and Fred. He eventually sold his interest in the park to them. He moved to Clarkston, WA, but, after several years moved back to Spokane and ended up living in the mobile home park that he had built.
He enjoyed his final years with many family gatherings and with the companionship of his beloved cats and dog. He especially relished frequent outings to the ranch of his daughter Cynthia and her husband, Doug, in Tum Tum along with his very special lady friend Lois Brown. Hal was an extraordinary man by any measure. he was an inventor, a dreamer, and a hard worker. He could be stubborn, but was always compassionate, with a droll sense of humor that he kept right to the end. He touched everyone he met.
Godspeed Pops. You’re leaving a huge hole in all of our hearts.
Thanks so much for everything you gave us.
Hal is survived by his sister Bea, his six children, grandchildren: Scott, Pamela, Aaron, Naomi, Cameron, Daniel, and great-grand- children Audrey, Maia and Elliot,
A family memorial will be held on Sunday, June 24th.