Paul H. Lauer, construction engineer

Paul Harvey Lauer, of Ridgefield, CT, passed away on April 2, 2016, surrounded by loving family.

Paul was born on October 27, 1937 in Brooklyn, NY to Irving and Ida Lauer, who preceded him in death.

He sang as cantor in his synagogue, which fueled a lifelong love of singing and music. His eclectic music tastes ran from Mozart to Sibelius, to Simon and Garfunkel to Fiddler on the Roof.

He graduated from the selective Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan at the age of 16. He then left the city for Madison, Wisconsin to attend the University of Wisconsin, where he says poker and bridge winnings paid the tuition. It was there he met and courted his first wife, Norma Jean Spieth, of Racine, Wisconsin (now deceased).

He earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree at Madison in 1958. After a short active duty tour in the US Army in California, he and Norma returned to Queens, NY, where they began to raise their family. He earned an MBA from the University of Connecticut in 1979.

He served faithfully and honorably in the US Army Corps of Engineers, retiring after a 35 year career on active duty and reserves at the rank of Colonel.

Paul enjoyed a long career as a construction engineer, which took him and family to Ridgefield and Germany. The last half of his professional career, he formed a construction and development company with his partner Edward Roloff. The Portland Corporation built luxury condominiums, townhomes and fine single family homes in Connecticut.

He was a renowned expert and collector of Wedgwood pottery, with a worldwide reputation. He was a member and past president of many national and international Wedgwood societies and a frequent speaker on the subject. He also had an interest in antiques and fine art, particularly maritime art. He owned and operated Portland Place Gallery in South Norwalk, CT. Favorite weekend pastimes included scouring antique shops and antique fairs with his cherished wife Elizabeth, holding out for that special and unexpected treasure.

Paul is remembered for his generosity and sense of fairness with family and close friends. He insisted his children set high academic and professional goals, and was number one cheerleader in all successes and failures.

Mr. Lauer is survived by his wife Elizabeth Lauer of Ridgefield, CT, children Dr. Aimee (Kevin) Hawley of Findlay, OH, Donna Lauer of Vienna, VA, Susan Lauer of Briarcliff Manor, NY and Steven (Patty) Lauer of Virginia Beach, VA. Stepchildren are Kathleen Westbrook of Cambodia, and Michael (Sharon) Westbrook of Schenectady, NY. Beloved grandchildren are Caitlin, Jennifer and Emily Hawley, Connor and Moira Lauer, Kayla and Duncan Chisholm, and Maya, Morgan and Mackenzie Westbrook. His brother Richard Lauer preceded him in death.

Graveside services will be on Tuesday, April 5, in Iselin, NJ.

Memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research at

—by the family