Tuesday Jun 16 2009
Former Auburn mayor loved boxing, building
By: Gus Thomson Journal Staff Writer
Auburn builder Paul Brocker dies at age 84
A former Auburn mayor, foothills contractor and boxing enthusiast Paul Brocker Jr. will be remembered at a memorial service Saturday. Brocker, 84, died June 4 in Auburn, where he had lived for the past 46 years. He served a year-long term as mayor in 1977-78 after being elected to the Auburn City Council in 1976. A general contractor, Brocker built the former AAA building on Lincoln Way and the former Security Pacific Bank in Downtown Auburn, as well as offices, schools, correctional facilities and hospitals throughout Northern California. Before being elected to the City Council, Brocker served on the Auburn Planning Commission starting in 1973. Auburn architect Ron Lichau, another former Auburn mayor, was on the City Council with Brocker. Lichau remembered he was a joy to know and work with. “His greatest strength was he knew how to take a tense situation and get everyone to lighten up,” Lichau said. Rod Haack, a former Auburn city manager, was planning director when Brocker served on the planning commission and City Council. He commented on the Auburnjournal.com obituary tribute site for Brocker that he always brought a commonsense approach to deliberations. A native of Utica, N.Y., Brocker met his wife of 60 years, Anna, on a blind date in Waterville, N.Y., shortly after Paul returned home from the Army. The couple would raise four children. Anna Brocker said one of the first dates her husband-to-be took her on was a wrestling match featuring Gorgeous George. “I got him back by taking him to the opera,” the former schoolteacher laughed. Her husband could be summed up in one word, Anna Brocker said: “Commitment.” Brocker’s construction career would take him throughout the United States, and to Australia, New Zealand and Germany, before he settled in Auburn. As well as construction projects for others, he developed several warehouses along the Union Pacific right of way. One of the buildings played host to Tony Lopez as he trained for his world championship title in the late 1980s. The boxing great and his entourage were a common sight on early morning runs. Brocker had remained active until a few weeks ago, when he broke a hip. He died after being admitted to an Auburn convalescent hospital. The memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday in Auburn’s Chapel of the Hills. A reception will follow at Unity Church of Auburn. The family is requesting memorial donations be made to the Auburn Interfaith Food Closet in lieu of flowers. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.