Spc. Robert Joseph Tauteris, Jr. was laid to rest yesterday near his mother in a LaCrosse cemetery. Tauteris was killed in action in Afghanistan on January 5th, along with three other members of his platoon.
Hundreds of people attended the services at the Braman and Bailey Funeral Home in North Judson. Included was Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Congressman Joe Donnelly and State Representative Nancy Dembowski.
In his address, Governor Daniels said the state’s 6 ½ million citizens, while not being able to be at the service in person, were there in spirit and are part of Americans everywhere mourning the loss of Spc. Tauteris.
The governor marveled at Tauteris going into the service at his advanced age to be close to his son, Robert III. He called him a model of what a father should be like and a man who quietly served his nation in its fight against terrorism.
“Robert Joseph Tauteris, you are all a State could hope for in a citizen,” said Governor Daniels. “Now I say to you, Spc. Tauteris, a State can never have enough men like you.”
Also speaking was Congressman Joe Donnelly who said Spc. Tauteris’ name will be added to the congressional record this week.
“We rise to remember and honor the life and dedicated service of Spc. Robert Tauteris, a proud member of the 713th,” said Donnelly of what will be entered into the record. “Spc. Tauteris died along with his fellow soldiers in Kandahar province. The State of Indiana mourns the loss of not only Robert, but the other brave men who took on this dangerous mission so that we could sleep in safety here back home.”
A memorial was given by Tauteris’ niece, Heather Thomas, who told the story of a quiet, simple man who loved his family and his country. She also gave a glimpse of the man by telling a story about visiting his sister when she was building a new home.
“Hey Uncle Bobby, do you remember the time when you came down to see our new house? We were so excited you drove all the way down and I met you at the door and you gave me a big hug. You put me on your shoulders and we began the tour. You stopped and mom was giving you the ins and the outs of the new house and you guys kept hearing this noise and it took forever before you realized that you had stopped right under our new ceiling fan and my face was caught between the blades. I attribute this to Uncle Bobby.”
She said he was a man you could tell your troubles to, and he would “always pick you up.” She ended by saying, “He was a man who always had your back.”
Governor Daniels assisted in presenting the Purple Heart and Bronze Star to the family.
We at WKVI want to thank Robert’s brother Tom for allowing us to record the services. He is truly an American hero.