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David Alan Lauer: 1930 - 2015

Lauer Obituary

David Alan Lauer, teacher, artist, and collector, died on 3 January 2015 at UCSF Medical Center as a result of complications from a fall shortly before Christmas. He was born in Iowa City, Iowa on 13 October 1930 to Professor Edward Lauer and Edna Mayworm Lauer. He grew up in Seattle, Washington, where Professor Lauer had become Dean of the University of Washington. It was here, as a high school boy, that David saw That Hamilton Woman and became interested in Admiral Nelson. He attended the University of Michigan where he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta and graduated with a Bachelor of Design. Following graduation he toured Europe spending time studying at Fontainebleau. In London, he recalled his interest in Nelson and returned with a few Nelson objects. After Europe he attended the University of Washington to get the Master of Fine Arts degree. 

Following service in Korea in the Signal Corps, David came to the Bay Area and received a teaching credential from San Francisco State University. He joined what became the Peralta Community College District and was a part of the founding art faculty of the College of Alameda where he taught until retirement. 

Working with James Jewell, the Nelson Collection grew to some four hundred items of the iconography of a hero”. The collection, plus a hundred books on Nelson, is now at the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News VA, an endowed gift from Lauer and Jewell. 

David painted and designed throughout his career, and his works adorn his and James Jewell’s home on Potrero Hill and those of many friends. He was the designer of the backdrop at the Cow Palace for the 1964 Republican Convention, a work so large it had to be painted on the floor of the Cow Palace. He was the author of eight editions of the highly successful and widely used art textbook Design Basics.

David was a member of the Nelson Society, and was a patron of the San Francisco Opera and of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. He was a generous supporter of the University of Michigan and of the University of the Pacific. With James he was the proud and happy owner of four successive Gordon Setter dogs: Andrew, Cameron, Duncan, and Stuart. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, two older brothers, and his sister Eleanor Lauer, late of the Dance Faculty at Mills College. He is survived by his companion of fifty years, James Jewell; H‑L Ittner of Moraga, widow of Fred Bear” Ittner, his college roommate, fellow Fiji, and life-long financial advisor; nephew James Graham of Oakland; and the countless students whom he taught, mentored, and nurtured in their art careers. 

At the specific request of David there will be no service or memorial. Gifts in his honour may be made to the Stamps School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan or to the Mariners’ Museum, Newport News, VA.