Sauerbrei, Claude

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Sauerbrei, Claude

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Claude Sauerbrei graduated from Bishop's University in 1924 and was Professor of Theology at Bishop's 1929-1936.

Claude Sauerbrei was born on 17 November 1897 in Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain. His father John Sauerbrei was born in Bavaria, Germany. Claude’s mother was Ellen Matilda Veasey. Other children born to the family in Las Palmas were Mark (1896) and John (1899). The family was found on the 1901 England census at the Crown Hotel in Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland. In 1910 the three boys were listed as passengers of the Dakar, traveling from Las Palmas to Liverpool.

John Sr immigrated to Quebec, Canada first and Ellen and the children were found on the 24 April 1912 passenger list of the Royal George, destination given as Quebec, purpose to join hotel manager husband. Claude and John were listed at Toronto’s Upper Canada College as students for 1912-1913; it stated that their father was managing the CNR Hotel Krausmann in Toronto. Previous schooling included Elmhurst School for Boys, South Croydon and it is likely that Mark also attended Elmhurst.

The three Sauerbrei boys signed their attestation papers in Kenora within days of each other, Claude on February 12, John on February 14, and Mark on February 15 in 1916. Claude, age 18, gave his occupation as clerk. Recruiting for the 94th Battalion, based in Port Arthur, Ontario, had begun in late 1915, drawing from throughout northwestern Ontario. In May of 1915 companies from Kenora and Fort Frances moved to Port Arthur and in early June left for ‘summer camp’ as they called it in Valcartier, Quebec. On 28 June 1916, with the 94th Battalion, aboard the Olympic, Mark, Claude, and John embarked from Halifax on their way overseas. Once in England the 94th Battalion ceased to exist and Privates Claude and John Sauerbrei were transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion while Mark was transferred to the 32nd Reserve Battalion and appointed as Acting Lance Corporal. From there, Claude and John were transferred to the 16th Battalion and headed over to France together, joining the unit in the field on 9 October 1916.

Claude began having difficulties with his heart after Vimy Ridge in April of 1917, his record noting a partial loss of function that caused shortness of breath. He carried on until June but then unable to participate in the front line, he was attached to the YMCA. Heeventually returned to Canada in late July of 1919. He was listed as with the Manitoba Regimental Depot, 2nd Canadian Command Depot. He obtained a BA, MA, and PhD at the University of Toronto, and graduated from Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Quebec in 1924. He was found on many passenger lists, with travel to England and Burma and return voyages to Canada. According to his obituary, he served as an Anglican missionary to Burma from 1927 until 1935, and taught for some time in Holy Cross college in Rangoon. In 1945 and 1946 he was an instructor in Old Testament and Hebrew at Nashotah House in Wisconsin. From 1947 to 1950 Claude was chaplain at St John’s Military school in Salina, Kansas. From there Claude was rector of Grace Episcopal church in Ottawa, Kansas until 1953 when he moved to Sewanee, Nashville.

Claude published two works, The Settlement of Israel in Canaan in the Light of Some Contemporary Anthropological Studies and The Holy man in Israel; a Study in the Development of Prophecy. Connie Sharkey, in a book she wrote entitled He Gives Us Hope, spoke of Claude as a ‘delightful man with a wealth of fascinating stories’.

Predeceased by his mother Ellen in 1938, his father John in 1944, and his brother John in 1945, all in Kenora, Reverend Doctor Claude Sauerbrei died in Vanderbilt Hospital, Nashville, Tennessee on 14 May 1959. At the time of his death he was a professor in the Faculty of Divinity at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. His Veteran Death Card listed his brother Mark Sauerbrei of Port Arthur, Ontario as his next of kin. Claude is interred in the University of the South Cemetery in Sewanee.

Claude is commemorated on the St. Alban’s Pro-Cathedral First World War Roll of Honour.


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