"Always happy, always positive": Family and friends remember the life of Jake Mauer

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Family, friends and fans are mourning the passing of Jake Mauer, the patriarch of a St. Paul family where three sons grew up to be outstanding athletes.

One son, Joe, became a superstar with the Twins, but the Mauer family led by Jake has always remained down to earth.

In April 2004, the Mauer family held a party at Mancinis in St. Paul -- hours before Joe Mauer's big league debut. Jake Sr. boasted about his grandson.

"He's going to be a superstar," said Jake Sr.

Dad Jake had a more understated approach.

"He's playing a baseball game. I mean, he has been playing baseball games his whole life. I don't want to say it's just another game but actually, it is," he said back in 2004.

At Jake's side, his wife, Theresa Mauer, who that day wore the classic "Mom" buttons with pride on her chest.

"I'm just so happy for Joe he has been waiting for this for a long time," she said at the time.

Celebrating with the family that day -- and so many days and years -- the three Mauer boys, Jake, Joe and Bill's high school coach, Jim O'Neill.

When asked what he will miss most about Jake Mauer, O'Neill said, "Probably his big laugh, everybody called him 'Big Jake' for a reason. He was always happy, always positive. He enjoyed having a good time. He never got out of hand, very proud of his kids and his family."

O'Neill says family was everything to Jake Mauer. 

When the Mauers talked with WCCO in 2009 about raising their three sons, they said, "The main thing was when the boys messed up we held them accountable we didn't waiver around that at all."

Jake himself loved the game his sons went on to pursue, teaching them all the sweet swing that made Joe a star. 

The oldest, Jake, would serve as a coach in the Twins' minor league system. Bill became the owner of a local car dealership.

Jake and Theresa Mauer created one of life's sweetest rewards: knowing that after you're gone there will be those who will remember and treasure your legacy. 

Jake Mauer was just 66 years old. He passed away after a long battle with lung cancer and LEMS, a rare muscle disorder. 

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