Rev. Augustus Hackmann

[ Age 97 ] A Lutheran minister for 70 years, he preached until he was 96.

He studied violin with Gustav Strube at Peabody and played into his 90s at retirement homes.

December 25, 2007|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,Sun reporter

The Rev. Augustus Hackmann, the retired pastor of Catonsville's Second English Lutheran Church who preached sermons until he was 96, died of congestive heart failure Thursday at the Charlestown Retirement Community. The Catonsville resident was 97.

Born in Baltimore and raised in the Curtis Bay section, he was a 1927 City College graduate who earned an education diploma from the old Maryland State Normal School, now Towson University. He taught elementary subjects for six years in the Baltimore public schools system and earned a bachelor's degree at the Johns Hopkins University.

In his youth, Mr. Hackmann studied violin with Gustav Strube, founder of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. He performed in the student orchestra.

Mr. Hackmann played the violin until he was in his 90s and performed at the Charlestown Retirement Community and at church anniversaries.

In the mid-1930s he decided to make a career change and studied at Gettysburg Lutheran Theological Seminary, where he earned his Bachelor of Divinity degree and his doctorate. Family members said he was inspired by his pastor, the Rev. Oscar Blackwelder, who had a radio broadcast called The Lighted Window. Mr. Hackmann played the violin while Mr. Blackwelder preached.

Mr. Hackmann served 70 years in the ministry. His first assignment was at Epiphany Lutheran Church in Northeast Baltimore. When he began there, the congregation had about 150 members. When he left, its membership had grown to more than 1,000.

He was later stationed at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in Charleston, S.C.

During World War II, he was a volunteer aircraft spotter at a tower at the Glenn L. Martin Middle River plant.

In 1957, he became senior pastor of Second English Lutheran Church. He retired in 1974 and the congregation accorded him the title of pastor emeritus.

"He was an outstanding preacher," said his son-in-law William F. Stevenson Jr. of Severna Park. "He preached without notes until last year. His voice was clear and strong."

Mr. Hackmann often gave high school graduation addresses and spoke to civic groups and Masonic organizations. He was a Lutheran mission speaker who preached from New England to Florida.

His family said he was often called to preach a sermon called "The Violin Speaks," a talk that paralleled observations about the violin with observations about life. He said the E string was for "endeavor" and the A string was for "adoration." He concluded by playing "The Old Rugged Cross."

He was a past synodical director of Lutheran World Action and secretary and member of the executive board of the Maryland Synod. He was also a past dean of the Baltimore West District and chairman of the board of directors of Gettysburg Lutheran Theological Seminary.

He was also an instructor at the old Lutheran Deaconess Training School on Charles Street.

His wife of 62 years, the former Reeda Stafford, a Beechfield Elementary School teacher, died in 1999.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Christ Lutheran Church, 701 S. Charles St.

Survivors include two sons, the Rev. David C. Hackmann of New London, N.H., and Paul A. Hackmann of Goldsboro, N.C.; two daughters, Mary Lois Dadin of Annapolis and Betty Ann Stevenson of Severna Park; 12 grandchildren; and 22 great-grandchildren.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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