Earl Edwin Maus, 67, formerly of St. Cloud, Walker and then Baxter, Minn., passed away Wednesday, Feb 10, 2021, at his home in Minneapolis.
At Earl’s request the family will not be having a formal funeral or memorial service at this time. To ensure everyone’s safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, there will instead be a memorial website (mykeeper.com) and online Zoom gathering dedicated to sharing memories and photos. A safe (and hopefully warmer) celebration of his life will be scheduled for summer 2021 on Earl’s beloved Leech Lake.
Earl was preceded in death by his parents, Richard Maus and Theresa Karls; his step-mother Mary Maus; and his sister Marlene.
He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Jean Maus; as well as daughters Laura Maus (son-in-law Benjamin Wiggins and granddaughter Claire Wiggins) and Julia Maus (son-in-law Alexander Wepsala and granddaughter Ayla Ariel Maus Wepsala).
Earl was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer soon after retiring, and was told he would not make it to his next birthday. Never one to be counted out, under the care of his wife Jean, he made it to two more. When Earl set his mind to something he saw that it got done.
Born and raised in St. Cloud, he attended St. Cloud State and William Mitchell College of Law. A lifelong public servant, his career included working as Cass County attorney in Walker for over 20 years and then a 9th District Court Judge in Brainerd for 11 years. In his work he was recognized for his integrity and compassion. He argued a winning case at the United States Supreme Court, served as President of the Minnesota County Attorney Association, received the MCAA’s Johnson Distinguished Service Award, and was integral in the creation of the area’s Drug Court. Former colleagues describe him as a “legend” of the office and as “one of the finest, most honorable people I’ve ever known.”
An avid outdoorsman, Earl loved cross country skiing, trolling the lakes for walleye, golfing, hunting, grilling and spending time with his family. Earl and Jean traveled to the north shore frequently to camp and hike, and every year looked forward to the Bayfront Blues Festival. He loved nature, and all animals — big and small. Just prior to his passing, he reminded us to “keep the bird feeders full.”
Many may remember seeing his bouncy steps walking his dog Happy, as he was unwinding after a long day of work. He was proud of his fishing “career” including winning the illustrious Total Tonnage Award at the International Eelpout Festival in the early ‘90s. He cherished his annual fishing trips to Red Lake as well as hunting trips to Montana.
A life-long Vikings fan, Earl started every season with the line: “This is our year,” and the genuine belief that they would finally win it all. His family will miss his optimism, his caring and honest nature, his ability to connect with people, and his unfailing humor, even in the face of adversity. If you knew him, then you knew the special look in his eye when he would pause right before delivering a punch line. That pause is something that we will carry with us in our hearts.
Above all else, Earl was deeply proud of his daughters — Laura a family doctor and Julia a prosecutor. He was with them every step of the way with a beaming smile and a big hug. His wife and daughters will miss his love and support for them.
Earl’s death is a reminder that we must cherish the time we have with each other in the here and now, and not delay in pursuing life’s pleasures. We will keep him in our hearts, and remember the fish handshake he shared with Julia, the raucous laughter he shared with Laura while brewing beer, and later also with Claire (who knew Earl simply as her GaGa with the silly faces), and the countless loving moments he spent with Jean as they saw their girls grow and create families of their own.
His newest granddaughter, Ayla, only 2 weeks old, only got to meet him twice, but loved him instantly. His memory will live on with his friends and the tall tales and stories that will be shared in fish houses and over poker tables for years to come.
Memorial donations can be made to the American Cancer Society, the Northwoods MN Neuroendocrine Cancer Organization.