Wallace Dale Auen was born at home on a family farm in Early, Iowa on April 22, 1931. His parents, Dick and Matilda (Dreessen) Auen and their seven other children welcomed him into the world. He would be joined by another brother in the next few years. They lived a good life working together on the farms they rented in the Westside area. Wally attended country school there with his brothers and sisters. He and his brothers would ride their horses to school together, Wally on his beloved horse, Rowdy. After graduating eighth grade, he started high school in Westside. When his dad purchased a farm in Ida Grove, Wally left school to go farm with his dad, also working for surrounding farmers who needed extra help. As young men, he and his brother, Herb became interested in racing stock cars and did the circuit racing together. Wally continued this passion for cars throughout his life.
In 1951, Wally met and married a beautiful, young widow, Eileen Hauschildt Strong. Along with her two-year-old daughter, Barbara, the three made a home together on a small farm near Kiron, working for the farmer who owned it. In the following twelve years, five more children would be born into the family: Connie, Mike, Patti, Sandy and Jim.
Moving to Denison, Wally took a job as a milk route driver for White Star Dairy. A move to the country had him working for another farmer until Farmland opened in Denison. He worked at different jobs there for 30 years. He was a hard and willing worker and at times held two or three jobs to support his family.
Wally retired early at 58, but he and Eileen filled the years with other jobs working together to manage the campground at Storm Lake and the Rath Inn at Missouri Valley. They loved camping and spent 18 years being snowbirds in Texas with two of his brothers and their wives. They enjoyed visits from their children there. Through the years, Wally and Eileen enjoyed buying and remodeling houses together. The family home might have changed many times over the years, but wherever they were was always home. When Eileen was diagnosed with Dementia, Wally took loving care of her at home until she passed away in July of 2011. They were blessed with 60 years.
Wally returned to Texas for a few more winters, then missing his family, came home to stay where he could spend time with his children and grandchildren with an unconditional love that made each of them feel special. He enjoyed taking the grandchildren fishing and going to watch them play their sports, always their biggest cheerleader. Wally enjoyed watching sports on television, too, along with Nascar and westerns. He was always available to help family and friends out and being a jack of all trades was called on frequently. He mostly loved spending time with his family. He had a big heart and you never saw him without a smile on his face and a big hug for you.
Wally was diagnosed with lung cancer this last summer and deciding he wanted to be here for his family as long as possible, underwent radiation treatments. But it was not meant to be and with failing health, he moved to Gracewell Nursing Care the week of Thanksgiving and passed away there on Saturday, December 17th with his family at his side. He was 91 years, seven months and 25 days old.
Wally was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Eileen Auen; one son: Michael Auen; three brothers: Jack Auen, Arnold Auen and Richard Auen; and three sisters: Margaret Dreessen, Edna Brotherson, and Emogene Hansman. He is survived by his daughters: Barb Nemitz of Denison, Connie (Randy) Volkmann of Denison, Patti (Edwin) Frazier of Denison, Sandy (David) Yarnell of Sergeant Bluff; son, Jim (Rebekah) Auen of Creston; 17 grandchildren; 27 great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren; two brothers, Ivan Auen of Wall Lake and Herb Auen of Lake View; and many other relatives and friends.
The memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 22, 2023, at the First United Methodist Church in Denison. Inurnment will follow in the Oakland Cemetery also in Denison. Memorials may be directed to the family.
The memorial service will be live streamed on the Denison First United Methodist Church Facebook page.