Katy and Dick '53 Baalmann always valued Catholic education, so it was fortuitous when they first met, in 1952, at a CYC meeting. Dick was the president of CYC of Immacolata at the end of his junior year at SLUH.
"A group of Our Lady of Lourdes girls went to Immacolata to meet the CYC boys," recalls Katy. The couple dated through high school before both attending Saint Louis University.
Katy says Dick was entrepreneurial-minded and became a business owner in college. "He bought his first hardware store when he was a junior at SLU. He had done a few entrepreneurial things prior to that, including selling lawn mowers for his grandfather's company."
After college graduation—and a two-year stint in the Air Force—Dick focused on expanding the hardware business. In 1959, he became president of Ace Hardware Center of Missouri and Illinois, a position he held until 2012. Following retirement, Dick devoted his attention to commercial property development and management as well as other civic and charitable works.
In 2014, the Baalmanns established an endowed scholarship at SLUH—the Dick '53 and Katy Baalmann Scholarship—to help ensure a quality education experience to all qualified young men, regardless of their families' economic circumstances.
"Dick loved everything about SLUH," says Katy. "He was a member of the rifle team and loved it. He became a close friend of Fr. Jim Reinert, a Jesuit scholastic at the time. He had a sound system in his car and they were able to pull the car down onto the football field and lead cheers for the football team."
Dick, a past member of SLUH's Board of Trustees and former chair of the Endowment Committee, struggled with his health before his death in 2019.
Katy chose to honor his legacy with a bequest gift to support the Chapel renovation project, a cornerstone of SLUH's Go Forth bicentennial campaign. "Catholic education was very important to Dick because it taught a sense of discipline, honor and duty. He was a daily Mass-goer throughout high school and spent a lot of time in the Chapel. It's gratifying to support the effort to refurbish the Chapel because it's a part of the school that was so important to him."
She adds that giving with a bequest helps to "make sure that Catholic education is available to students of all economic backgrounds."
The Baalmanns' generosity is a lasting tribute to a couple bound by their faith, from the moment they met throughout their entire lives.
Does someone in your life share a special connection to SLUH? A gift in your estate plan is a meaningful and lasting way to honor them. Contact Linda Domeyer at (314) 269-2113 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.