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Leo J. 'Lee' Vatter

AUBURN — It is with much sadness to say, "The Schaefer Man" has departed his bar stool at the Ukrainian National Club on Oct. 23, 2019.

Lee was born in Auburn May, 1946, to the late Leo and Katherine Vatter.

Lee grew up on the North side of Auburn across the street as he so often put it next to the Simmons sisters who were the most beautiful girls in the city with a strict father that threw rocks at him to keep him away.

He attended St. Alphonsus School and graduated from East High School where he formed many lifetime friendships. After graduation he enlisted in the Army serving as a Hawk Missile Fire Control Crewman from 1966-1968 honorably discharged.

One summer evening at the Merriview Tavern on Westlake Road he was introduced by his ex-girlfriend to a young lady who just got stood up by her fiancée of 4 years. He offered to drive her car and proceeded to drive it immediately into a ditch because he had no idea how to drive a 4 speed.

She didn't “Ditch” him and recently celebrated 51 years of marriage October 5th.

As the story goes and told by Lee who excelled in basketball and was offered a scholarship but gave it up to marry the love of his life.

After being discharged from the service, Lee worked a few various jobs, before landing a 23 year career with the Auburn Police Department retiring in 1999. While employed with APD, for a period of time he held position of Vice President with the Police Union.

Those who knew Lee knew he wasn't afraid to say what was on his mind and being "politically correct" was never on his mind, nor did he care what people thought. Lee was one of a kind which made him so unique.

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Lee was a lifetime member at the Ukrainian National Club being the one of the founding fathers of the Pierogi Eating contest and the Fish and Game dinner, and also served as vice president.

He was a member of Highland Golf course for over 40 years and was instrumental in creating a pond affectionately as the “Leebert Pond”; he also enjoyed hunting, fishing and tipping back a few Schaefer beers spending time with his family. Those who knew Lee knew he was a loyal Schaefer beer drinker and nothing else and he never let the facts get in the way of a good story. We wonder what will happen to Schaefer stock now?

Surviving are his wife Donna; son Christopher; two grandchildren who he adored Carly and Darren; brother, Larry and family; mother-in-law, Lottie Mach; and brothers-in-law, Jim Mach and wife, Jennifer; Duane Mach and wife, Peggy; sister-in-law, Jacqueline and husband, Mark Steigerwald; and several nieces and nephews.

Lee was predeceased by his parents; father-in-law, Henry Mach, and sister-in-law, Kay Vatter.

Words of remembrance will take place at 2 p.m. Nov. 16, in the Ukrainian National Club followed by military honors; with a celebration of life to follow until 5 p.m. Lee wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to the UNC building fund, 125 Washington St., Auburn, NY 13021, in memory of Lee.

Arrangements entrusted to the Heieck – Pelc Funeral Home, LLC.

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