Please remember in your prayers Monsignor William L. Baumgaertner, 95, who died June 21.
A native of St. Paul, Baumgaertner graduated from the College of St. Thomas and The Saint Paul Seminary Class of 1946 before receiving a doctorate in philosophy from Laval University in Quebec City, Quebec.
Through decades of priestly ministry, he served the Catholic Church in a variety of positions, including as rector of The Saint Paul Seminary from 1968-80.
He also served as executive director of the Seminary Department of the National Catholic Education Association in Washington, D.C., as director of accreditation for the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (1984-90) and on numerous boards of theological schools where he made significant contributions to their governance and success. Before retirement, Baumgaertner served as director of seminary relations for a Christian Ministry in the National Parks System from 1991-1993. He remained active in the seminary’s development office and chaired the committee that hosted the seminary’s centennial celebrations in 1990.
As a professor of logic, epistemology and history of philosophy, Baumgaertner was a major intellectual influence on countless seminarians, including Father Dennis Dease, former president of the University of St. Thomas.
“Monsignor Baumgaertner would stride into the classroom with great energy, plunk down his briefcase squarely on the desk, extract a book with a flourish and begin to expound with the utmost enthusiasm," Dease said. "It was like entering another realm. From him we learned the value of learning for its own sake, but we also acquired a foundation upon which we could build our priestly ministry for the rest of our lives.”
His wake was on Wednesday, July 5, from 4-8 p.m. at Willwerscheid Mortuary, 1167 Grand Ave. Funeral Mass was Thursday, July 6, at 11 a.m. at St. Mary's Chapel in The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity. Archbishop Bernard Hebda presided. Visitation took place one hour prior to the Mass.
Read his obituary online.