The Rev. Dr. Richard Paul Baepler

August 23, 1930 ~ November 19, 2020 (age 90)


The Rev. Dr. Richard Paul Baepler died peacefully at the Life Care Center of Valparaiso, Indiana, on November 19, 2020. He was born on August 23, 1930, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, to Walter and Martha (Fritz) Baepler. When he was six years old, the family moved to Springfield, Illinois, and Richard eventually joined his older brother Walter at St. Paul’s College in Concordia, Missouri. Dick was a voracious reader and a lover of languages, history, tennis, baseball, Bach, Baepler cabin on the Long Island Sound, and a fine martini. He attended Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and was ordained as a minister of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. He received a call as assistant minister at Faith Lutheran Church in Valparaiso, Indiana, and attended services there throughout his life. He studied at Theologische Hoschschule, Hamburg, and the University of Erlangen in Germany. He had many adventures while biking across Europe, eventually becoming better acquainted with Simone (Meyer) Baepler, his wife of over 50 years. He proposed to her beneath the Arc de Triomphe, and they were married in 1954 in a small chapel in the American Cathedral off of the Champs d’Elysees. They returned to the United States where Richard completed his Ph.D. in Theology at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. He joined the faculty of Valparaiso University as Professor of Theology, soon serving as its head, and Simone joined the Foreign Language Department. They had two children, Danielle and Paul, and several cats. In 1966, he became the founding Dean of Christ College, VU’s honors college, and in 1979, Vice President for Academic Affairs. He taught legal history at VU School of Law. After retirement, he authored several articles and three books, Flame of Faith, Lamp of Learning: A History of Valparaiso University, Witness to His Generation: Selected Writings of John Strietelmeier, and Keeper of the Dream: O.P. Kretzmann. He loved the community of scholars and friends at Valparaiso University, and was in the bleachers for every VU basketball game he could attend. Richard was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Walter and Donald, his sister Marjorie, 4 nephews and a niece. He is survived by a daughter, Marie-Danielle Burrus (Roger Burrus); grandchildren: Andrew (Courtney), Christopher and Nicholas; great grandchildren; Luke, Drew, and Lyla; a son, Paul Michel (Melanie Brown), and 2 nephews and 3 nieces. Private graveside services will be held at Graceland Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Faith Lutheran Church, 753 N. Calumet Avenue, Valparaiso, IN 46383

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Private Family Services

Graceland Cemetery
1505 Morthland
Valparaiso, IN 46383

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