Wednesday, July 11, 2007

In Memoriam: The Rev. Dr. David J. Wartluft, DD -- 9/22/1938 - 7/9/2007

Rev. Dr. David J. Wartluft, former director of Krauth Memorial Library at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), died Monday afternoon, July 9, 2007, due to complications from surgery.

Condolences may be sent to Dr. Wartluft’s daughter, Pastor Rebecca Knox:

Pr. Rebecca Knox
900 Bedford Avenue
Reading, PA 19607

The funeral will be held 10:00 am on Saturday, July 14, 2007 at St. Daniels Lutheran Church, 480 Big Springs Road, Robesonia, PA. There will be a visiting hour from 9-10 am at the church. There are no visiting hours scheduled at the funeral home. Memorial gifts may be given for the David Wartluft Library fund at LTSP and mailed to the LTSP Foundation, 7310 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119. The family is considering using this fund in David’s memory for the renovation of the Krauth Memorial Library as it approaches its 100th anniversary.

Following are letters from two of Dr. Wartluft's colleagues, Rev. Dr. Margaret A. Krych, Associate Dean and Norton Professor of Christian Education and Theology at LTSP, and Dr. Karl Kreuger, current Director of the Krauth Memorial Library and Associate Professor of the History of Christianity at LTSP.

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David Wartluft

The Rev. David Wartluft, DD, was a dear friend, alumnus, and devoted servant of The Lutheran Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP). He studied in the joint program of MDiv (then BD) at LTSP and MA at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1964 with both degrees. In 1968 he earned an MS in library and information science from Drexel University. He also completed the greater part of an STM at LTSP while serving in parish ministry. Rev. Wartluft was admitted to PhD candidacy at the University of Pennsylvania but chose not to complete the degree program in order to pursue parish ministry. In 2003, LTSP awarded him a well-deserved Doctor of Divinity degree for his service over many decades.

Dr. Wartluft began ministry as assistant chaplain and instructor in religion at Springfield College and then as pastor at Jerusalem Lutheran Church in Allentown. In 1966 he became reference librarian and cataloguer at LTSP's Krauth Memorial Library. In 1969 he became assistant librarian, and after promotion in 1977, served as director of the library and faculty member until his retirement in 2002. He received tenure in 1980, and was promoted to the equivalent rank of full professor in 1986. Throughout his long career as librarian, he served with meticulous care and devotion. Always a willing colleague, he assumed many committee responsibilities, and served as secretary of the faculty for a number of years prior to retirement. Rev. Wartluft was also active in establishing the Lutheran Archives Center at Philadelphia, of which he was at various times vice-president and board member.

Dr. Wartluft was a careful scholar and researcher. He published a number of articles and indexed more than 50 books. He was a dedicated teacher of courses in Lutheran piety and spirituality at LTSP and guided hundreds of students in ways to use the library for research. In fact, he taught in the DMin Colloquium only two weeks before his death. He was advisor before and after his retirement to a number of STM and DMin students and will be sorely missed by the five DMin students who were his advisees at the time of his death.

In addition to his work at LTSP, Dr. Wartluft served the American Theological Library Association - as executive secretary for 10 years, and as a member of their board of directors, secretary, recording secretary, development officer and member of the advisory committee. He held many other positions related to various library associations, including the Southeastern Pennsylvania Library Association. He also held offices in the Lutheran Historical Conference and the Lutheran Historical Society of Eastern Pennsylvania of which he was a life member. In addition, he was active in community organizations such as West Mt. Airy Neighbors and Town Watch until his retirement.

Ever the pastor, Rev. Wartluft preached regularly in congregations in the Philadelphia area, and in Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod. We rejoice in his great love for the Church and for the Gospel, his strong faith, his courage in the face of several bouts with cancer, his friendship and collegiality, and his allegiance and service to LTSP.

Margaret A. Krych

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The Rev. Dr. Margaret A. Krych is Associate Dean and Norton Professor of Christian Education and Theology, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.


Although an ocean currently separates us, I know that our grief unites us. I opened the email from Diana yesterday morning, ten minutes before I had to board a bus that would take me to London and the British Library. Whether I was working with the 1560 Geneva Bible in the reading room or watching a performance of Shakespeare’s ‘Loves Labor Lost’ at the Globe Theater that night, my thoughts continually returned to the loss of our friend and librarian.

I found comfort in the fact that the last time I saw David was on June 14th at the ATLA Convention in Philadelphia and that he heard me deliver my paper on the development of the Eastern Cluster Lutheran Library. It gives me comfort because the paper paid tribute to his important contribution – the 1996 paper entitled “Optimum Library Service in a Cluster Context.” This paper was circulated among the librarians and the Dean at Philadelphia and was eventually incorporated into the planning and project grant. As I noted, “The paper was optimistic and spoke of building on strengths, cooperative acquisitions, and reductions in lesser-used materials. The paper’s optimism, however, was not theoretical but experiential, rooted in the positive experience of its author with other theological librarians in the Delaware Valley. As he wrote on the eve of his retirement in 2002, ‘I stand in the wake of three local theological librarians, Henry Scherer (my predecessor), Gilbert Englerth of Eastern Baptist Seminary (now Palmer), and Arthur Kuscke of Westminster Theological Seminary, who began to meet socially and informally. But from that sprang the Southeastern Pennsylvania Theological Library Association [SEPTLA] which has now existed more than forty years…’”

David cherished friendships and because of his nurturing spirit, theological librarianship blossomed in the Delaware Valley and in our Eastern Cluster. At the conclusion of the paper’s presentation, I had the staff of our three libraries stand-up and then asked David to stand-up so that he could be recognized and thanked by us and his peers for his contributions. At the conclusion of the session, the nine of us from the Eastern Cluster Lutheran Library adjourned to Ted Montana’s Bar and Grille for lunch where we once again toasted and thank him for his 30 year ministry at LTSP and in the Eastern Cluster.

The next day, I boarded a plane for Europe.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine.

Standing in David’s wake,

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Dr. Karl Krueger is the current director of the Krauth Memorial Library and Associate Professor of the History of Christianity, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.


Chris Duckworth said...

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dr. Wartluft's family. He was always such a gentle and caring presence on campus.

Nothing can separate David from the love of God . . . not things high, nor things low, nor life, nor death. May his family feel the love that embraces David in these days of mourning.

MarvinH63129 said...

I very much appreciated working with Dave over the years in the Lutheran Historical Conference. His grace and dedication were always foremost in every contact and on every project. I give thanks to God for the gifts that Dave brought and used toward a greater understanding of and appreciation for the heritage of God's people.

Marvin A. Huggins
Associate Director for Archives and Library
Concordia Historical Institute
Saint Louis, Missouri

Anonymous said...

If ever one truly could be called a colleague, mentor, and friend, that certainly was David. I know this from participating and working with him over nearly three decades in the Lutheran Historical Conference. Let us thank God that David was so dedicated to our knowing the Church past as also the Church present. May David now rest in the Church Triumphant.

Ray F. Kibler III
Intentional Interim Pastor
and Independent Scholar
Claremont, California

Anonymous said...

The first time I met David was at the Lutheran Historical Conference meeting in Chicago several years ago. I emailed him before hand since he and I were to present on the same panel. We discovered that my hunch was right- he and I were distant cousins (my maternal grandmother was a Wartluft) and from then on he would introduce me as his "long lost cousin" and "friend."

He was a competent scholar who gave me feed back numerous times when I asked him for his input. Further, the gentleness and care he showed me and others was an example of how Christians should live out their faith.

It was a shock to learn of his death, but we all should take comfort in the promise of Christ's resurrection, which David believed with his whole being. Rest in peace, my cousin and friend.

Dr. Daniel J. Grimminger, Obl.O.S.B.
Mount Union College
Alliance, Ohio

Festo Mutashobya said...

I came to know David in 1975 when I came to study at Mt. Airy from Tanzania to pursue my studies. David helped me showing me how to use the library and he sdid this in a calm and gentle manner.
I thank God for the talents he gave David. David was able to use them for the benefit of us all.
Festo Mutashobya.

Rebecca Knox said...

Reading these letters and comments brings tears to my eyes again. Our family has received scores of cards, e-mails and calls full of sympathy, comfort, Christ and a shared love of Dad. We have not responded to everyone individually, but want you to know how deeply grateful we are!

President Krey arrived at Dad's hospital room just as dad died. Phil, both friend and pastor standing with Carol and myself praying and guiding us through that afternoon's unbelievable journey. It's remarkable how God's timing works bringing community together at most necessary times as if by coincidence.
Thank God and thanks to each of you.
Rebecca Wartluft Knox LTSP '99
Reading, PA

Anonymous said...

Hi Rebecca...I am not sure if you remember me, but I was a good friend of Dan Krewson's in seminary and spent much time at the house with Dan and David. I enjoyed David so much...he was such a wonderfully hospitable person who opened his heart and home up to everyone....I am so sorry for your loss and pray God's mercy and comfort for you all...I am sorry this is so late but I just learned of your father's death. Peace and blessings, Deb Hanna, Rapid City, SD