AURORA | Longtime Aurora Mayor Paul E. Tauer died this week. He was 86.
Tauer was an iconic and perennial force in the city for decades. A Denver Public Schools teacher for 30 years, he was elected to the Aurora City Council in 1979 and served until he was elected mayor in 1987. He served three terms as mayor, through 2003, leaving after being term limited.
Tauer was born in 1935. He graduated from Regis University in Denver in 1961 and received his masters degree in education administration from the University of Northern Colorado in 1964. He took a hiatus from his studies at Regis to join the Air Force for four years.
Tauer sat on or was leading the city council as Denver’s Lowry Air Force Base closed as well as the decommissioning of Fitzsimons Army Post.
Throughout his long political career as a Republican, he was virtually the face of Aurora for years on local and regional media.
He notably, and visibly, battled Denver to address noise from Stapleton International Airport, often publicly sparring with Denver officials. The Stapleton landing pattern covered much of Aurora at the time. Tauer was also heavily involved in regional transportation issues and was on the city council as a lawmaker or as mayor during much of Aurora’s expansion.
“Paul Tauer was a champion for Aurora and a pillar of our history, serving as mayor for 16 years and overseeing an era of tremendous business, residential and cultural growth,” said Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman in a statement. “He was instrumental in the transformation of the former Fitzsimons Army Medical Center into the Anschutz Medical Campus, establishing Aurora as home to one of the nation’s largest and most respected medical communities. We offer our condolences to the Tauer family and our thanks for his service, leadership and advocacy for Aurora.”
Tauer and his wife, Kate, were also instrumental in creating support organizations for Aurora’s growing Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
In 2004 Colorado Congressman Bob Beauprez honored Paul and Kate Tauer for being a model family and parents. “I am pleased to announce that Paul and Kate Tauer, of Aurora, Colorado, were recipients of the 2004 National Excellence in Parenting Award presented by the National Parents’ Day Council,” Beauprez said from the House floor. “The Tauers have served on countless committees and participate in a myriad of volunteer endeavors. Together they started the Aurora Asian Pacific Partnership and both serve on the Mental Health Center Board. They are distinguished citizens, activists and parents — there is no higher or more honorable calling.”
Tauer was a fixture in the local Catholic community, attending St. Pius X Church in north Aurora.
His son, Ed Tauer, also was elected to the city council and eventually elected mayor, taking the gavel from his father, Paul, at the end of his tenure in 2003.
Tauer is survived by his wife, Kate, children Eugene, Roch, Paul E. Junior, Andrew, Tammie, Kathryn, Timothy, Ed and 13 grandchildren.
The family has planned for a private service.