Leslie “Les” Howard Saurer

Birth Date: 
Monday, August 25, 1952
Date of Passing: 
Saturday, October 30, 2021

Leslie “Les” Howard Saurer, 69, of Wooster passed away in the early morning of Saturday, October 30, 2021 at home, surrounded by his loving family, after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. 

He was born on August 25, 1952 to Atlee and Esther (Marton) Saurer of Apple Creek.   Les grew up on the family farm near Maysville.  He graduated from Waynedale High School in 1970 and from Kent State University in 1974 with a degree in Education.

Les married Karen Burkholder of Smithville on October 12, 1974 in Orrville. They shared 47 wonderful years of marriage and were blessed with two children, Mandy (Mark) Perlaky of Dover, and Becky Saurer of Wooster, and three grandchildren, Elijah, Isaac, and Lydia Perlaky.

Les was an accomplished athlete.  He was an All Ohio High School Baseball player, a member of the 1970 National Championship Waynedale Merchant’s Hot Stove team, and he played baseball at Kent State University.  He also played recreational baseball and fast pitch softball for the Wooster Merchants.   He was inducted into the Wayne County Sports Hall of Fame class in 1998. 

He began his teaching career at Jewett-Scio in 1974 where he taught K-12 Physical Education and Health and was also head coach for both wrestling and football.  In 1976 Les had the opportunity to return home to Waynedale to teach Health and Physical Education.  At Waynedale, Les coached baseball for 30 years, 25 as head coach.  He also coached wrestling and was an assistant football coach.  He served as Waynedale’s Athletic Director for five years prior to his retirement.   Les enjoyed teaching his students and coaching.  One of his greatest blessings during his illness was from hearing from so many of his former students and players of the positive impact he had made in their lives.  His family thanks everyone who sent a card, letter, or commented on the Waynedale Alumni & Friends Facebook page.

In retirement he volunteered his time freely.  He served for several terms on the Wayne County Sports Hall of Fame, the Apple Creek Cemetery Association, East Union park committee, trustee at the Apple Creek United Methodist Church, and contributed his labors to the Apple Creek Historical Society.  Les was always willing to help because he loved his community and the people he worked with.  Les and Karen were regulars on the area trails where they took daily walks for the past 15 years. They enjoyed vacations centered on hiking at State Parks and Nature Preserves.  Les also enjoyed genealogy research. 

In addition to his wife, children, and grandchildren Les is survived by his brothers Atlee (Linda) Saurer and Larry (Diney) Saurer of Apple Creek, Jim (Karen) Saurer of Wooster, sister Letitia Dalrymple of Ogden, Utah, and many nephews and nieces.  He was preceded in death by his parents.

Les wanted his family to know that as a believer, he was ready to meet his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The family wishes to extend a special thank you to the Hospice team.

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and in accordance with Les’s wishes, there will be no calling hours.  A private family service will be held with Reverend Jim Cooper officiating.  Burial will be at the Apple Creek Cemetery.  

Contributions may be made to Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare, 1900 Akron Road, Wooster, OH 44691.

McIntire, Bradham, & Sleek Funeral Home, 216 E. Larwill St., Wooster is assisting the family.

Online condolences may be left for the family at www.mcintirebradhamsleek.com

Memorial Contributions: 

Contributions may be made to Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare, 1900 Akron Road, Wooster, OH 44691.


No calling hours.


A private family service will be held with Reverend Jim Cooper officiating.  Burial will be at the Apple Creek Cemetery. 


Dear Karen & Family,

I am so sorry for your loss and I pray for your comfort.

Les was a good, strong, loving man who shared his talents freely. I will always remember his kind smile.

I am certain that the Savior Jesus Christ received Les home with a warm embrace.

Please accept my sympathy for your loss.

Former Apple Creeker.

May God wrap you in His comfort and loving care during this difficult time. We have so many memories of Les and are so blessed that God allowed us to be your neighbors for so many years. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

We are so very sorry for your loss. Keeping the family in our prayers.

So very sorry for your loss.

Karen and family,

I am sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Being a teacher myself, has made me appreciate what a positive influence and a great teacher he was for me. As a former student, I can say he had a positive impact on me being a teacher today. It’s true what they say,we can make an impact on someone’s life and not even realize it. I hope I will be able to pay it forward. You will be missed Mr. Saurer.

With our deepest sympathy. We will miss seeing you and Les on our walks. You are in are prayers and thoughts.

It was an honor to work with Les at Waynedale. Never a day went by without his humorous stores and smiling face. Les had that twinkle in his eye that will always be remembered. Many students and athletes were mentored by Les, my son, Chris, being one of them. So many cherished memories to share and hold on to.

Karen, Mandy, and Becky - Your husband and dad was truly one of a kind. A gentleman, teacher, coach, friend, you name it, he was it. Thank you for sharing him with us. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

RIP Les.

Blessings to you and your family Karen. Les is receiving his reward and has no more pain and suffering. You will see him soon❤️
Love you ❤️

It is with my deepest respect I extend my condolences to Les's family and friends. I am proud to say I was a teammate at Waynedale. Les leaves a legacy. R I P my friend.

I knew Les from high school and really liked him a bunch .. what a loss to the world. Much love to his family and friends ❤️

I was very sorry to hear about Coach Saurer’s passing. He was a great teacher and coach and was always upbeat and positive when communicating with students. He will truly be missed.

Our kids grew up with Les being their coach and friend all their years at school and beyond. He was always a good influence for them. Thank you for sharing him all these years. He will be missed.

May God comfort you and the family today and always. I have so many sweet memories of Les when we we kids on the farm. He was always so kind. He was a special cousin in many ways ❤

Dear Karen and Family,
We are so sad to hear about Les's passing. He was a dedicated educator and coach and an all-around nice person. We enjoyed having you and Les in our Sunday School class several years back. May the Lord surround you with peace and comfort as you grieve his loss.

Your family can be so proud of Les. With sympathy, prayers, and love. Leota Buss and family.

Our prays are with you.What a wonderful man

My deepest sympathy and prayers to Les's family and extended family members.

Great coach, excellent teacher , great friend!!! He will be missed

Les was a wonderful man; a great teacher and coach. I hold on to many fond memories. Our prayers and thoughts are with you

Karen, Mandy and Becky,

Les is always going to be with you, in your heart. You are so lucky to have shared such a wonderful man as your husband and father. My prayers and love are with you and all your family. God bless you tonight and always.

He was definitely a wonderful teacher and will be missed! My condolences to his family.

Mr. Saurer was the most genuinely caring teacher I had at Wayndale. I will always remember his concern and support for all of his students.

Dear Karen-
We are grateful to have known Les, though for too short a period of time. Seeing both of you on your walks at Secrest Arboretum amd stopping for short conversation was
always a highlight of our day. Our westies always knew your friendly faces and were excited to see you both.
On our walk yesterday morning, John and I said we had both missed seeing Les the past couple weeks. I feel his spirit must have been on that walk yesterday. We pray for you and your family and hope you are able to find solace during these sad days. He touched so many lives and we will remember him with fondness. Give Ellie a big hug from Rosie and Monty.

Dear Karen,
My thoughts and prayers are with you as you CELEBRATE Les's life. He was a special husband, father and friend. I pray you find peace at this time as God wraps his presence around you. You were a special friend from years past. HUGS to You.

So sorry for your loss.

So sorry for your loss Karen. I’m glad I met Les and you and enjoyed our chats while walking at the Arboretum. Sophie was always happy to see you both.

I’m so sorry for your loss Karen. I’ll always remember our little chats while walking Sophie at the Arboretum. She was always happy when she saw the both of you.

Karen and family -
Sorry to hear about Les's passing. He was a GREAT guy. I always enjoyed seeing and talking to you two at our chance meetings. I always enjoyed working with Les on the various sports teams at Waynedale. Everyone that knew Les will greatly miss him. Prayers for comfort, strength and blessings from God at this time and forward. RIP LES. RIP.

Our sincere sympathy. Your neighbors, Dave and Mary.

Karen & family,
We are so sorry to read about Les' illness and passing. We remember him best from Sunday school class at SUMC. He took his faith seriously and now has earned his reward in heaven. His legacy will live on. We will continue to keep your family in our prayers.May God comfort you.

Karen & family,
I was sorry to read about Les’s passing. He was a great friend of mine in high school and we lost touch after I left the are to go into the service. I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you all.

So sorry for your loss. Les was a great teacher and coach. He will be greatly missed!

We send our condolences and prayers to Les’s family and all those who were blessed enough to know Him. His life was so full that he filled the cup of others with his knowledge, compassion, humor and passion. When Les gets to heaven he can con confidently say to the Lord, I used everything you gave me. A true life champion.

Lea was one of only a few I considered a friend in high school. RIP and God give peace to the family...

We send our deepest sympathy and pray for you all during this difficult time. We so enjoyed getting to know you when you were at SUMC.
Tom and Cathy Rolf

you have. my deepest. sympathy. Les was a great guy. I knew him in high school, at Kent, and. as a teacher to my kids.

Karen and family: Sending my deepest sympathy to all of you. Les gave so much to others, especially all the athletes who lives he touched.

I am so very sorry for your loss.He coached me for one year in wrestling and one year in football at Jewett Scio.Thank you Coach Les.Rest in peace.

It was indeed a privilege to have known and worked with Les. He was quite simply one of the finest people that I have ever known. His impact on Waynedale and on Wayne County was exemplary. Les lived his life as an example for others to follow. His greatest quality was that he truly cared about others and had a way of making you feel that you were a better person just from knowing him. Les set a tremendous example for others to follow. I am deeply saddened by his passing and my most sincere sympathy goes out to Karen and the entire family. May God comfort and sustain the entire Saurer family.

We are so sorry for your loss. Les was a wonderful asset to the Waynedale district and the community, and a kind, gentle man. Prayers for comfort for you all.

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