What started as a childhood dream of being a bus driver turned into a career mission to attend the U.S. Military Academy after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Thomas Joseph 'Tom' Auger set his sights on the Academy and let nothing stop him. He took an extra year of post-grad school at the New York Military Academy and a year of intense tutoring in calculus after getting turned back. He joked that his gravestone should read, 'He was a tenacious little bastard,' but it would have been an accurate epitaph.
Other than academics, Tom's five years at West Point were characterized by success. In military aptitude, Tom was a natural leader who was both liked and respected by his classmates. Cow year he was a corporal, and first class year he was a captain and company commander. On the athletic field, Tom excelled. He starred as a midfield player on Army's highly successful intercollegiate Lacrosse Team where his job was to 'knock down' opposing players who were set up by other midfield teammates. Tom thoroughly enjoyed that assignment. He was a pugnacious runt, and, his 5-foot-6-inch height limitation notwithstanding, the annual Goat-Engineer Football Game found Tom in the thick of the game - on the Goat Team, of course.
Despite the rocky road to get to West Point and his high degree of success as a cadet, Tom left the Army less than four years after graduation. He was so deeply affected when classmate Tom McCarthy was killed in Vietnam that he tried to re-enlist, only to be told that the Army wanted privates, not first lieutenants. He frequently said that the only regret in life was not staying in the Army.
His post-Army career started in electronics sales for the Raytheon Company and morphed into a career in human resources. He spent many years working for companies around the Route 128 belt in the Boston area, came back to Raytheon in human resources for more than 10 years, and spent the final days of his career with Lee Hecht Harrison, an outplacement consulting firm. He lived in many different places during his work life: New York, Houston, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and finally St. Louis. In retirement, he purchased an Audi S5 convertible and spent his days driving around St. Louis stopping at just about every Starbucks along the way. He was well known and well loved by baristas throughout the community!
Tom and Elaine, his first wife, had six children of whom he was immensely proud. They all inherited his wonderful sense of humor, and one of his greatest joys was getting together with the extended family. He loved to hear about 'what really happened when we told you and Mom that we did ..."
Tom was never afraid to test out new hobbies, from hand gunning to motor homing to race car driving. He enjoyed life to the fullest and brought his big personality to every job, personal relationship, and activity in his life. He was particularly enthusiastic about his involvement in service and therapy dog training organizations, and he was quite attached to the various German Shepherds that he and wife Gerry made integral members of their family.
While Tom was an active contributor to discussions held on his class net, one thing that he could not abide was people who were full of themselves. He was quite adept at cutting such individuals down to size with just a few words that on the surface could be taken as praise. On close reading, however, the subtle nature of his words left no doubt as to his disgust with superficial egotism.
By the same token, Tom thoroughly enjoyed being the butt of any joke or personal reckoning. Tom and Gerry had been married for several years before Gerry learned of Tom's West Point record, to include his academic stumbles and physical successes on the athletic field. Upon learning all of those things from one of Tom's classmates, Gerry exclaimed, 'You mean I married a dumb jock!' The heartiest laugh in the room came from Tom.
Tom was originally diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, but after a stroke in 2014 and the implantation of a pacemaker it was determined that he had multiple system atrophy, a degenerative neurological disease. He died on February 15, 2015 leaving behind Gerry, his wife of 25 years, his six children, 16 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. According to his wishes, he was cremated and his ashes were buried in his family's plot in New Hampshire. Rest in peace you 'tenacious little bastard."
- Wife Gerry, Son Dewey, and M-1 yearling-year roommate, Bill
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