Edward A. “Eddie” Auerbach, a Korean War veteran who was awarded four Bronze Stars for his Army service, died Saturday at the home of his “honorary niece” in Toledo. He was 87.
He had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, said one of his longtime friends, Roy Miller, who worked with him at General Motors for more than 40 years.
“[He was the] most interesting person you’d ever want to meet,” Mr. Miller said.
Mr. Auerbach was born Nov. 20, 1930, in Toledo, to Edward and Ethel Auerbach. He grew up in a home on South Detroit Avenue with his parents and brother and graduated from Libbey High School. After graduation, Mr. Miller said, Mr. Auerbach stayed involved with the school and helped the high school football team before he joined the Army.
“As he said, the Korean War caught up with him,” Mr. Miller said.
Stationed in North Korea, Mr. Auerbach served as a staff sergeant first class. During the war, he was a cook and his job was to prepare meals for the troops, Mr. Miller said. Not knowing how many troops were coming in to eat each day, Mr. Auerbach had to guess how much food to make.
“He would have more food than they would eat because he was always prepared,” Mr. Miller said.
His superiors instructed him to take the leftovers and bury them, but Mr. Auerbach would instead give the leftover food to the Koreans who lived nearby, Mr. Miller said. Mr. Auerbach would tell them to go bury the food, knowing they would take it home and eat it.
“He said he wasn’t a hero,” Mr. Miller said.
During the winter, Mr. Auerbach would also take old cloths and rags that he was instructed to burn and give those to the locals as well, Mr. Miller said. He helped them as much as he could.
“That’s what he told me,” Mr. Miller said. “If you knew the man, he didn’t lie.”
Mr. Auerbach worked as an inspector and special machinist at GM Powertrain for 45 years. He loved Toledo, and the people who worked in Toledo, Mr. Miller said. He believed in unions and resented that with all of Toledo’s trains, planes, and ports, everybody went to Cleveland.
He was a hard worker, Mr. Miller said, and did his job well.
“His name was ‘Steady Eddie,’” he said. “He constantly, constantly stayed on the machine.”
His bosses would frequently get annoyed, thinking that he was holding up production, but by the end of the day, he would hit the target output, and his bosses would be satisfied, Mr. Miller said.
Mr. Auerbach loved history and politics, and read extensively, Mr. Miller said. He was a fan of Ohio State and Army Black Knights football teams.
“He earned everything he got,” he said.
Mr. Auerbach’s wife, Donna Ruth Auerbach, died Oct. 6, 2009.
Surviving are his stepdaughter, Brenda Sandurski, and stepsons, Pete, Royce, and Eric Badas.
Visitation is scheduled for 3 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Sujkowski Funeral Home, Northpointe, 114 E. Alexis Rd., where services will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. Memorial donations may be given to the Ohio Veterans Home in Sandusky.
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