Man drowns in Illinois River

Illinois Valley, Ore., —  “He was doing his two favorite things when he died, he loved his saddle horse and he loved buck hunting.”

87-year-old Jack Sauer was hunting with his granddaughter on Sunday.

They were trying to cross the Illinois River on horseback, when something spooked the horse and jack was bucked off, into the water.

“The river was a little high and the kids asked him you sure you wanna go grandpa? And he said either you’re going with me or without me but I’m going.”

Sauer’s granddaughter was able to get the horse back to their house and call 911 but the conditions were tough for Josephine County Search and Rescue.

“We had a lot of rain last weekend so the river is elevated, and the current is stronger, any time you encounter the river it’s dangerous.”

Crews weren’t able to get to him until two hours later, but it was too late.

Now, the community and Sauer’s large family are remembering the long time resident for the amazing man he was.

“Mr. Sauer has been a figure in our community for a long time, there’s a stretch of highway out there named after the family so it’s definitely a sad day for the community.”

“I feel really bad that he’s gone but he was smiling a minute before he was dead, and I think he won life’s lottery.”

The family is working to put together memorial services for Jack, but Nick tells me it’ll have to be somewhere big, because a lot of people are going to show up.

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