June 21, 2017
Age 95, of St. Paul, MN
Msgr. William L Baumgaertner of St. Paul, retired priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, died peacefully on June 21, 2017 at the Cerenity Senior Care, Marian of St. Paul. He was born June 8, 1922 in St. Paul to immigrant German parents, William and Anne (Wellstein) Baumgaertner. He was a brilliant student at Sacred Heart Parish, St. Thomas Military Academy ('39), St. Thomas College, The St Paul Seminary (ordained 1946), and Laval University in Quebec where he received his Doctorate in Philosophy in 1949. He was appointed to the faculty of the St. Paul Seminary in 1949 where he taught philosophy for decades. He was the academic dean from 1964 to 1968, and from 1968 to 1980 he was the Rector of the St. Paul Seminary. He was the Executive Director of the National Catholic Education Association Seminary Division in Washington, DC from 1980 to 1985 and he then moved to Dayton Ohio where he was the Associate Director of Accreditation for the Association of Theological Schools of the United States and Canada from 1985 to 1992. He then retired to St. Paul where he continued to assist at several parishes until 2012 when he moved to the Cerenity Center in St. Paul. Monsignor Baumgaertner was also the beloved family priest, and the revered spiritual patriarch for the Carl J. Baumgaertner and George E. Brabeck families of St. Paul. He did all the baptizing, the marrying, the counseling, and the burying. As such, he was appropriately dubbed "The hatcher, matcher, patcher and dispatcher" by his younger brother, Carl J. Baumgaertner. William Baumgaertner was also an avid and very manly outdoorsman. He loved to hike, swim, canoe, ski and play tennis. In 1995 he earned the title of "Buffalo Bill" when, at Yellowstone National Park, he stopped a charging buffalo in its tracks by commanding it to "Stop!"...much to the amazement and relief of fellow clergy who were sheepishly accompanying him on the trail. He was preceded in death by his sister, Marie Brabeck. He is survived by his one brother, Carl J. Baumgaertner, of Glendora, California. Also survived by eight nephews, Peter, Michael, Thomas and Stephen Brabeck; William, James, Joseph and Michael Baumgaertner, and one niece, Mary Anne (Baumgaertner) Berry, and many other grand-nieces and grand-nephews. Mass of Christian Burial 11AM Thursday, July 6 at the St. Paul Seminary (St. Mary’s Chapel), 2260 Summit Ave. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Visitation at Willwerscheid Funeral Home, 1167 Grand Avenue, St. Paul 4-8 PM Wednesday, July 5 and at the Seminary 1 hour prior to Mass. Memorials may be directed to the St. Paul Seminary in support of the William L. Baumgaertner Endowment.