Edwin "Eddie" Fritz Hauser (Baltimore Sun / October 2, 2011)

Edwin F. "Eddie" Hauser, a decorated World War II veteran who landed at Normandy on D-Day, died Sept. 24 of kidney failure at his Ellicott City home.

He was 94.

Mr. Hauser was born and raised in Baltimore. His mother was a baker, and his father died when he was 3. After graduating from Polytechnic Institute, he worked at Bethlehem Steel Corp. at Sparrows Point.

Mr. Hauser enlisted in the Army in 1941 and served in Europe with the fabled 29th Division. A technical sergeant assigned to an artillery unit, he landed at Omaha Beach on the morning of June 6, 1944, with the 29th Division.

During the Battle of St. Lo, Mr. Hauser earned a Purple Heart.

"The 29th had set up artillery positions and forward observation posts," said his son, Joseph Hauser of Ellicott City. "One of the observation posts had been overrun by the Germans, and when it was retaken, he was sent out to rescue survivors."

Mr. Hauser set out in a Jeep and what he found was not survivors but dead American soldiers, whom he and another soldier brought back.

"The road was taken by the Germans, so they took another way back and hit a land mine. He was wounded and the other guy he was with was killed," the son said.

Mr. Hauser later participated in the campaign for Brest, France, and the battle for the U-boat pens. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and crossed the Rhine into Germany in 1945.

He also earned the Bronze Star for bravery, his son said.

After the war, he went to work as a salesman in the men's department of Isaac Hamburgers and Son's Clothiers. He retired in 1982.

"He personally attired a number of well-known Baltimoreans throughout his long association with Hamburger's. His knowledge of sports and sports figures and his reputation for outstanding personal service allowed him to maintain long-term relationships with many of them," his son said.

His wife of eight years, the former Jean Reed, died in 1962.

Mr. Hauser enjoyed traveling to Europe, visiting the many friends he made during wartime.

He was a member of the 29th Division Association and was a 50-year member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Ellicott City Post. He was also a member of the Old Timers Baseball and Basketball Associations and was inducted into the Maryland Softball Hall of Fame in 1985.

Mr. Hauser was a member of the First Lutheran Church of Ellicott City.

Services were held Wednesday at the Harry Witzke Funeral Home in Ellicott City.

Also surviving are two daughters, Sandi L. Collins of Louisa, Va., and Anna Hauser of Lake City, Fla.; two granddaughters; and a great-grandson. Another daughter, Mary Beth Hauser, died in 1994.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com