Dr. Helen Marie Bilhorn Baumgartner (1932–2020), Dr. Paul Lloyd Baumgartner (1929-2021), St. Peter, MN
Paul Lloyd Baumgartner, son of Grover and Rose (Fankhauser) Baumgartner, was born on February 21, 1929, in Berne, IN. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Heidelberg University (Tiffin, OH); after beginning graduate study at the Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY), he served in Korea as a chaplain’s assistant, returning to Eastman after discharge.
Helen Marie Bilhorn was born on October 6, 1932, in Rochester, NY. Daughter of Clarence and Grace (Etter) Bilhorn, she attended the Columbia School and the Eastman Preparatory School of Music, where she studied piano and violin and soloed with the Rochester Philharmonic. At Smith College, she earned her Bachelor of Music degree, winning a competition to play with the Boston Pops Orchestra under the direction of Arthur Fielder.
Helen and Paul were introduced by their piano teacher at the Eastman School of Music in 1954 and married on January 30, 1955; upon graduation they moved to Sendai, Japan, to serve as short-term missionary teachers at Miyagi College for Women. In 1958 they began doctoral programs in piano performance at Indiana University; Paul received his degree at the University of Arizona in 1974, and Helen finished hers at the University of Minnesota in 1991 After teaching at the University of Wisconsin (Stevens Point) and Chowan College (Murfreesboro, NC), Paul accepted a faculty position at Gustavus Adolphus College (St. Peter, MN) in 1964, where he taught until 1991. Helen taught at Gustavus from 1966-2004. In 1978-1979 they lived in Osaka, Japan; he was an exchange professor from Gustavus to Kansai Gaidai, and she taught at Doshisha Women’s College in Kyoto. They were also a four-hand piano duet team throughout the country and around the world, playing many benefit recitals for the Global Mission Institute (Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN). Helen was also a Girl Scout leader, a 50-year member of the League of Women Voters, and a violinist in the Mankato Symphony Orchestra.
Helen died on June 13, 2020, and Paul died on January 13, 2021; they are survived by children: Rev. Dr. Mary Lou Baumgartner (New Windsor, NY), Pr. Carol Baumgartner (Pr. Michael Mueller) (Janesville WI), Dorothy Baumgartner (Pr. Mikkel Hustad) (Clinton WA), John Baumgartner (Peter Kleinlein) (NYC), Tom Baumgartner (St. Peter); grandchildren Irene Mineoi (Rachid Amrani), Yuki Mineoi, Maya Mineoi, Peter Mueller (Jackie), Lukas Mueller (Ronan Rogers), Rachel Mueller, Kari Hustad and Annika Hustad; great-grandchildren Iman and Youssef Amrani; and Helen’s brother Dr. David Bilhorn (Portland OR).
An Open House celebrating the lives of Helen and Paul will be held on April 22, 4-7 p.m. in the Banquet Rooms at the Student Union, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter.
A joint Memorial Service will be held on April 23 at First Lutheran Church. Masks are recommended. At 11:00 a.m., recordings of Baumgartner recitals will be played; the service begins at 11:30 a.m., with visiting afterwards. To livestream, follow these links: for the recordings (11:00-11:30a.m.): http://www.flcstp.org/worship-in-person--online.html; for the service (11:30 a.m.): https://www.facebook.com/FLCSTP/videos/169170241957351.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be given to First Lutheran Church, Gustavus Adolphus College, the Global Mission Institute of Luther Seminary, the Southern Poverty Law Center, or the League of Women Voters. On the weekend of June 23-25, 2023, a Memorial Concert will be held at Gustavus Adophus College as a fundraiser for the Helen and Paul Baumgartner Piano Scholarship Fund at GAC.
(original obituary text)
Dr. Helen Marie Bilhorn Baumgartner, St. Peter, retired professor of music at Gustavus Adolphus College, died in hospice care on June 13. She was a Girl Scout leader, a 50-year member of the League of Women Voters, a violinist in the Mankato Orchestra, and, with her husband Paul, a piano duettist on behalf of the Global Mission Institute of Luther Seminary in St. Paul.
She is survived by loving husband Paul, five children, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Services will be held at First Lutheran Church once gathering is permitted. Memorials may be sent to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the League of Women Voters, or the Global Mission Institute. Condolences for the family can be left at www.saintpeterfuneralhome.com