COOPERSTOWN – Beloved, gentle Len Sauer, senior research physician emeritus at Bassett Research Institute since retiring in 1996, died April 15, 2019, at his home on the Bitterroot River in Montana.
For 89 years, he was his own definite self, a quiet person of integrity and acceptance.
He went to high school in Schenectady, but was a less-than-serious student: he skipped school to play pool. However, in 1948, he enlisted in the Army and spent nearly four years in the Signal Corps. This experience changed his life, for thanks to the GI Bill, he was able to go to college and there he found his passion: science.
After graduation from Cornell, he got his M.D. at the University of Rochester and then his Ph.D. from The Rockefeller Institute in New York. He became a research scientist, working most of his career at Bassett Hospital, and publishing some 70 papers. Among other topics, he researched tumor metabolism of fatty acids; his work was imaginative, analytical and critical.
When he retired, he started a new life in Montana and began woodworking. Continuing his lifelong love of fly fishing, he spent many happy hours on the Bitterroot. Bird watching was an enduring interest and in his younger years he had enjoyed back packing in the Adirondacks with his family. Mel Brooks, John Belushi and Jack Nicholson were among those who entertained him.
Len‘s radiant smile, his repertoire of arcane family sayings, and his unique sense of humor were precious to his family, which includes his wife, Mimi, his three offspring, their spouses, and his treasured grandchildren: Beneth and Alix Goldschmidt-Sauer of Guilford, Vt.; David Sauer and Jenna Murray of Portland, Or.; Matt Sauer and Rocio Sanchez-Fernandez of Limburgerhof, Germany; Hanna Reichel, Carmen Sauer and Leo Goldschmidt-Sauer.
He was fortunate in that all of them were able to spend time with him in his last weeks. The way he approached death was the last of many excellent examples he provided for how to live a life.
In lieu of flowers, please consider supporting a cause close to Len‘s heart: children and wild places. Two organizations he believed in were Save the Children (501 Kings Highway East, Suite 400, Fairfield, CT 06825) and The Bitter Root Land Trust (170 S. 2nd Street, Suite B, PO Box 1806, Hamilton, MT, 59840).