Robert E. Brauer, a retired Federal Bankruptcy Judge, died Tuesday
(June 8, 2004) of heart complications at Mineral Area Regional Medical Center in
Farmington, Mo. He was 81 and a resident of Bonne Terre [St. Francois County], Mo. He had
lived in St. Louis.
Judge Brauer was born in Staunton, Ill. After graduating from high school, he entered the
Air Force in 1942 and served as a navigator on a B-29 based in Guam.
After World War II, Judge Brauer attended Washington University, where he earned a
bachelor's degree and later a degree in law.
Judge Brauer was licensed to practice law in Missouri and Illinois. He began his law
career with the firm of Mattingly, Boss and Richards. In October 1953, Judge Brauer became
an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri.
In 1960, Judge Brauer joined the law firm of Rassieur, Long and Yawitz in St. Louis. He
became a partner of the firm a year later.
Judge Brauer was appointed as referee in bankruptcy for the Eastern and Western districts
in Missouri in 1961.
Judge Brauer served as a federal bankruptcy judge in Missouri for more than 25 years.
Among his many cases involved the land that had occupied the Spanish Pavilion. The
Pavilion was brought to St. Louis from the World's Fair in New York by Mayor Alfonso J.
Cervantes. Operators of attraction went bankrupt. Judge Brauer presided over several years
of its financial reorganization and the rebirth of the site, where the Marriott Pavilion
Hotel now stands.
In August 1975, Judge Brauer entered a "non-dischargeable judgment" for $5,200
against a local couple who went on spending spree six months prior to filing for personal
bankruptcy. Judge Brauer in effect ruled that, if a credit card concern can prove that a
card holder incurred debts with no intention of repaying, the debt could not be cleared
through the filing of bankruptcy. The "credit card case" got as much publicity
in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal as it did in the local media.
In 1976, Judge Brauer ruled that the Teamsters Local 600 could be considered "a
person" under federal bankruptcy law and could file for bankruptcy. The ruling, the
first of its kind, was approved by a federal appeals court.
Judge Brauer later held that a $5.6 million judgment against the local by area trucking
companies could not be forgiven in bankruptcy because the local members used violence and
intimidation to shut down the carriers during a six-week wildcat strike in 1970.
Judge Brauer retired in 1986 and moved to Bonne Terre [Mockingbird Hill Lane] , where he
enjoyed gardening and travel.
Visitation is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at C.Z. Boyer and Son Funeral Home, 1116 North
Desloge Drive in Desloge, Mo. A funeral service immediately follows visitation at 2 p.m.
at the funeral home. Burial will be in St. Francois Memorial Park in Desloge.
Among survivors are his wife, Billie Baker Brauer; a sister, Ruth Ann Ficker of
Jerseyville; a brother, Dean Brauer of Peoria, Ill.; and two stepdaughters, Joann
Robertson of Festus and Jackie McFarland of Park Hills, Mo.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association, Memorial Processing
Center, 5375 Southwest Seventh Street, Topeka, Kan. 66606; or to Zion Lutheran Church, 311
South Elm Street, Staunton, Ill. 62088.
[P.D., St. Louis, 6/10/04]