Howard John Baumgartel Jr. Albuquerque, N.M.
Paid family tribute
A memorial service for Howard John Baumgartel, Jr. will be held 2 pm, Saturday, May 7, 2011 at Pioneer Cemetery on the University of Kansas campus. He was a beloved father, grandfather, professor, humanitarian, activist for social justice, and friend who died on Saturday, February 12, 2011 at the Montebello Assisted Living Facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He died on the 202nd anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, whose picture hung on his wall his entire adult life.
Howard grew up in western Pennsylvania and attended Yale University and Wabash College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree, before joining the U.S. Navy in 1942. During the Second World War, Howard served in the Pacific aboard the “USS Ringgold” as a gunnery officer. He participated in many battles, most notably at Tarawa. While on leave in 1945, Howard married Nancy Taggart in Indianapolis, who became the mother of his three children. They honeymooned in Chicago at the same hotel where Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart were spending their honeymoon.
After being mustered out of the Navy, he earned an MBA at Harvard University. After working in investment banking, Howard decided to become an academician and taught at the University of Kansas (KU) for three years before attending graduate school at the University of Michigan, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1955. Howard returned to KU and worked in the Psychology Department and School of Business until he retired in 1988.
Howard made many notable contributions to academic life at KU. The single largest of these was his starting and developing the Human Relations program at the university, a program based on the human potential movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Howard’s professional life took him to India six times, twice as a Fulbright Scholar. Each time he worked toward the economic development of the nation and made lifelong friends, especially at the Xavier Labor Relations Institute in Jamshedpur. For four years, Howard served as an assistant dean in the College of Arts and Sciences at KU.
Howard married Marguerite Myers Kerfoot, a professor of art education at KU, in 1964 in Calcutta, and they lived together happily in Lawrence, Kansas until she died in October 2009. Marguerite brought three children of her own into Howard’s extended family. After retiring, Howard devoted his time to many interests, worked in a hospice program and began attending various churches in the Lawrence area. He and Nancy had joined the Mount Oread Friends Meeting in Lawrence in the late 1950s and, as his retirement years passed, he attended that meeting more and more regularly. In 2009, Howard suffered a major stroke and moved into Brandon Woods, an assisted living facility in Lawrence and was joined there by Marguerite a few months later. In December of 2009, he moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to live closer to his family and shared with them many wonderful times in the year before he died.
Howard is survived by six children: Mona Baumgartel, John Baumgartel, Tom Baumgartel, Bill Kerfoot, Charles Kerfoot, and John Kerfoot; ten grandchildren: on the Baumgartel side, Elaine, Sylvie, Jeremiah, and Lukas, and on the Kerfoot side, Chris, Kerry, Alex, Katie, Joshua, and Travis; and five great- grandchildren.
Contributions may be made in Howard’s name to the Peace and Justice Scholarship that he started in the 1990s, a program that helps fund graduate students working in whatever small ways to lessen conflict and violence in our world: KU Endowment, P.O. Box 928, Lawrence, KS 66044-0928. Name of fund: Howard J. Baumgartel “Peace and Justice” Fund, Account Number – 36630
Arrangements by Warren-McElwain Mortuary. Online condolences may be sent to: www.warrenmcelwain.com.
This information was provided to the Journal-World as a paid tribute.