Obit for our Dad, Leo M. Rauterkus

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Leo Rauterkus head

Obit: Leo Rauterkus, Retired PPS Teacher recently of Zelienople

Leo Michael Rauterkus, 89, passed away peacefully on November 8, 2020, at Passavant Retirement Community in Zelienople, PA, after a brief illness and surgery two-weeks prior. Leo and his wife, Audrey McElligott Rauterkus, recently celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary. 

David, Joe, Leo, Margaretmary Rauterkus

Older brothers David and Joe, Leo, and younger sister, Margaretmary Rauterkus

Born October 16, 1931, to Margaret Foley Rauterkus and Joseph A. Rauterkus, Ph.D., Leo spent his childhood years living in Pittsburgh's Mt. Washington before the family moved to Wilkinsburg, WHS Class of '49.

Leo, a Korean War Veteran, US Army, honorable discharged, Sergeant, 1954, went to work in the building trades as a lather. He attended St. Vincent College for a year, 1954-55. 

Audrey's family and Leo on their wedding day.

Audrey's family and Leo on their wedding day.

In 1956, Leo married the love of his life, Audrey McElligott, also of Wilkinsburg. They moved to Penn Hills, raised five children in parish life and the Penn Aqua Club, as well as many other school activities. Leo loved to play bridge, swim, play tennis and was gregarious and friendly with everyone.

Leo is survived by his wife, Audrey and their five children: Mark Rauterkus (Catherine Palmer) of Pittsburgh, Mary Lee Majewski (Phil) of Marshall Township, Margie Guyer (Bill) of West Chester, Geri Ann McLaughlin (John) of Philadelphia, and Michele Brickner (Kevin) of Dallas, Texas.

Leo earned his Bachelor's of Education from Duquesne Univ. in '62 and his Master's of Education, via night-school, in 1970. 

"Mr. R" devoted more than 30-years with the elementary schoolers in the Pittsburgh Public School District. He loved every minute he spent in school duties. His later assignments were at the Teachers' Center of Excellence and the Gifted Center at Woolslayer.

Leo and Audrey moved to Danbury Farms, in Freedom, PA, in 1999 to be closer to two of their daughters. They made many new friends and continued to play major roles in the lives of all of their grandchildren.

In 2015 Audrey and Leo moved to Passavant Retirement Community and were blessed to receive wonderful support and care from the tremendous staff. 

Leo was a devout Catholic, and he attended mass as often as he could. Over the course of his life, Leo was a parishioner at Mary of the Mount, St. James', St Bart's, St. Ferdinand's and St. Gregory's.

Leo was "Pop Pop" to his 15 grandchildren: Audrey Guyer Rains (Jeshua), Adam Majewski, Joanie Guyer (engaged to Michael Ferrer), Martin Majewski, Erik Rauterkus, Charlie Brickner, Cassie Majewski, Grant Rauterkus, Laurel Ann McLaughlin, Kate Brickner, Tess Majewski, Helen McLauglin, Kelli Brickner, Joe Brickner and Megan Brickner. 

Rauterkus grandkids

Grandchildren.

Leo was preceded in death by his three siblings: David Rauterkus (Audrey), of Florida; Joseph Rauterkus, Jr. (Claire) of Pittsburgh and Margaretmary Zoffel (Chip) of North Hills. Also passed, brother-in-law Jerry McElligott (Vicki) of Somerset, PA.

Leo was a loving uncle to many nieces and nephews. Leo is also survived by sister-in-law Pat Kaiser (Roy) of Buffton, SC.

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At this time, please consider writing a note to Audrey. 

She and the family would appreciate the notes, The isolation and lockdowns due to the pandemic and public health restrictions have been difficult, as all are aware. Audrey's address is: 

Audrey Rauterkus
105 Burgess Drive
212 Trillium
Zelienople, PA 16063

Leo's first contract as an elementary school teacher with the Pittsburgh Public Schools was in 1962 for fewer than $6,000 per year.

Leo's Primary teaching assignments:

  • Crescent School, '62-'64;
  • Swisshelm Park, '64-'75;
  • Lee School, '75-'80;
  • Brookline, including the Teacher Center, '80-'89;
  • Woolslayer Elem Gifted Center, '89-'93.

Leo's alternative teaching duties included more than two decades of summer school where he taught reading and math. He also coached, and led intramurals, world cultures curriculum, a MS task force, teachers advisory committee, and more.

Leo was creative, dynamic, resourceful, inquisitive, empathetic, positive, honest, cooperative and unafraid to take risks. He had the strongest people skills and was always able to

  • motivate others,
  • problem solve,
  • listen,
  • care,
  • make even the dullest things interesting,
  • connect with students on a personal level, and
  • be fair.
Sunday Pittsburgh Press Article, page 2.

Sunday Pittsburgh Press Article, page 2. Click to other page to read and see the full clipping.

About the author 

Mark Rauterkus

Swim, SKWIM and water polo coach in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Also the webmaster for the International Swim Coaches Association and a publisher at CLOH.org, 4Rs.org, SKWIM.us and a former small-press, Sports Support Syndicate. Former free-market candidate for public office on various occasions, generally as a Libertarian.

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Old article about teachers and Leo Rauterkus, from the Sunday Pittsburgh Press

  • Among the waves of well wishes, this arrived via the Swisshelm Park School alumni page on FB, just 2 days after his passing:

    Charlene Foggie-Barnett
    Mr. Rauterkus was an amazing teacher who reached me with his kindness and positive nature. I came to Swisshelm Park school at a very tumultuous time in my life, and his spirit made it so I could acclimate to a new school, as one of few Black children, and one that had just moved into the local neighborhood. He made learning interesting and fun. He made us feel like people – not kids. He made us want to think and engage in his lessons. May God bless his family with comfort in knowing that he was so appreciated by his students. I’m so happy I got to see him a few years ago and thank him in person for all he did for me!
    -Charlene Foggie-Barnett

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