On June 2, 2020, Fr. Andrew Baumgartner died suddenly, but peacefully.
Father Andrew was born March 12, 1934 and spent his early years on the family farm near Genesee, Idaho, in an area that was heavily Catholic and has been a fertile source of religious and priestly vocation.
His family moved to Mt. Angel, Oregon, and from there he entered the minor seminary, operated by Mt. Angel Abbey, as a high school freshman in 1948. After six years in the minor seminary, he entered Mount Angel Abbey and was professed there, with Father Prior Boniface, on September 8, 1955. He was ordained May 26, 1960. Thereafter, he served in many capacities at Mount Angel: Associate Pastor in Mt. Angel, and mathematics teacher at the local Catholic High School, while also serving as Associate Pastor in the town parish.
He earned an advanced degree in mathematics at Colorado State University and taught mathematics in the seminary for many years, where he was also a rector of the college seminary. In the Abbey he was organist, junior master, subprior for 13 years, and business manager for 15. He spent nine months in 1979-80 helping to build the Ascension Priory but was then called back to Mt. Angel to be the business manager, a position he held for 15 years. During that time at Mt. Angel, he hiked to Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada, twice, and was doing for a third time when he had a heart attack.
In November 1995, he was assigned to Ascension Priory, where he lived until his death, serving as business manager and subprior. When he arrived at the Ascension Priory, he quickly became involved in Cursillo, and was still a member of the 4th-Day Group when he died. In later years, he became very involved in prison ministry, working with the ecumenical KAIROS group active in Boise. He truly loved that difficult work.
He continued hiking here in Idaho and made many friends in the process. He used to walk around our property each day (a four-mile walk) and to the day he died, he took a walk every afternoon.
Father Andrew is survived by a sister, Dorothy Diehl of Mount Angel; and several nieces and nephews and their children.
In his last years, he loved to reminisce. His recollections were usually happy ones, giving the impression that he was grateful for his many blessings. He was, in the best sense of the word, a simple man, guileless, and satisfied with simple things. We, and his many friends, will miss him.
A Private Funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 am, Saturday, June 13, 2020 at the Monastery of Ascension, Jerome, Idaho. Due to COVID-19, the Mass will be livestreamed for family and friends, via Facebook Live, from the Facebook page of the Monastery of Ascension.
Those who would like to make a memorial for him are asked to send contributions to Mark Renick, Reentry Services Director, St. Vincent de Paul Southwest Idaho, 3217 W Overland Road, Boise, ID 83705.
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family on Father Andrew’s memorial webpage at www.farnsworthmortuary.com.