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35 thoughts on “Guestbook

  1. Hello Dad,
    I am thinking about all the wonderful insights you have passed onto people in your lifetime. I am grateful for your wisdom, curiosity and determination to “question that of which you are most sure of.” Daughter Anastasia

  2. Happy Birthday, Uncle Fritz!
    It is hard to believe you are 85 – you have always been young – young at heart!
    Thank you for sharing the Bartling birthday psalm. “Forget not all his benefits, the Lord to thee is kind”. One HUGE benefit – the family He placed us in. Watching how you love your children is wonderful. And you were so loved by mom.
    We hope your day was Happy and your upcoming year filled with what you love most!
    Janet Dorothy and Randy

  3. Happy Birthday, Uncle Fritz!
    It’s cool to read all the wishes and see the impact you have had on so many lives. You were so beloved by my mama. Enjoy all the love!
    Sending some from Cleveland your way too.
    Your niece (and history lover too),

  4. Happy Birthday and many more. It was good to see you at the recognition luncheon. I wound up standing between my two favorite mentors as we were recognized, you and Loma. I saw Ruth taking a picture. I would love a copy of that one. Over the years we have shared some strange things. I remember a snowy night leaving one of our gourmet dinners from your home and watching Carl Volz and Kenn, both in long robes, scraping snow from the cars. I also remember the roaring twenties gourmet gathering when you and Ruth and the Hauts appeared at our door in flapper attire. What fun! Over the years I have had some good practical advice from my mentors that has kept me going. The first from Dr. Heideman in Seward who told me that to stay in this business one needed a hard head and round shoulders; the second was from Palmer who told me that “When one donkey brayed it was usually another donkey who answered”; and then there is yours “Keep your powder dry.” There have been days when all three pieces of advice kept me out of trouble!

    I have appreciated your friendship and advice over the years. I hope your birthday was special and that you could celebrate with many of your children and family.

  5. Fred, thank God for the day that you were born. You are an amazing model, inspiration and true example of God’s love, grace, mercy, kindness, gentleness and compassion for all human beings. You have truly walked the talk, as you continue to do today. What an instrument of courage, peace, humility and justice you are, with an unending willingness to be used by God. God’s blessings for joy, peace and happiness for the next quarter of a century or more. We Love You!

  6. Fred,
    God has blessed you with a great family and wonderful friends. May he grant you many more years of their love and friendship.
    Happy birthday!
    Rhoda Schuler

  7. Vicar Fred Bartling was my first teacher
    In Austin, Texas, the year we moved there
    Her always appeared relaxed
    Despite how he might feel
    It was a cheerful third-grade classroom
    And that year he met my sister Ruth
    And fell in love with her
    And while he was gone
    He never left
    At Christmas time, they married
    Then off to Spokane, Washington
    And eventually with kids in tow
    They swooped through Austin again
    Toward Auburn, Alabama
    And added me to the fateful trek
    We camped near Huntsville, Texas
    The final home of many convicted sinners
    Fred urged me out of my shyness
    And gently shaped my introverted life
    By the fire in front of the looming tent
    Along the way, Ruth had a miscarriage
    Which delayed us
    But she seemed from my bleary viewpoint
    To have recovered quickly
    And we arrived in that strange land
    As strangers more
    Like leaving Oz and landing in Kansas
    All things in Black and White
    Drinking fountains, relief rooms,
    Restaurants, schools
    A weird mis-wiring of our dispersed natures
    So Ruth set up house
    And Fred went to mend souls
    And I went bowling and left the alley
    Without exchanging my shoes,
    At least for a block
    And then the bus ride home
    Through a cracking south
    And Fred stayed in the heat
    Mending souls.

  8. Happy Birthday Fred. I still have wonderful memories of time with you at Concordia. You instilled within me a love for basketball and history as gifts from God to be appreciated and enjoyed. Thank you!

  9. It is time once again to have the joy of wishing you a happy birthday! We are currently in New Zealand in the lovely town of Napier, where an earthquake devastated the town in 1931. Much of the architecture at the time was Art Deco, so the core of the town is a mecca for tourists of all kinds. I trust that you will spend your birthday in the presence of those you love and who love you. May you enjoy a special measure of happiness and fulfillment as you reflect on your many accomplishments, not the least of which was the transformation of this student of yours. Many good wishes to you and yours,

  10. As an official member of the family (brother-in-law), I can safely say that Prof Bartling, the senior, is an erudite, highly objective purveyor of all sorts of historical and political wisdom.The dining room table would be a disaster without him!

  11. Greetings from Los angeles! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the information you present here and can’t wait to
    take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how fast your blog loaded on my phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just
    3G .. Anyways, very good site!

  12. Professor Bartling – agree with so many of the comments posted – your impact on so many of us, not only in the classroom but I have great memories of Freshman basketball as well as the times you were at my home parish preaching for my Dad. A very special birthday and the way you touched us “many” years ago still lives with so many of us today. God Bless. Marc Strohschein, Academy “66

  13. Dear Fred,
    Wishing you a happy birthday and a great year! (And how is it that you get better looking every year?) 🙂
    Best wishes,
    Nancy and Keith Harrower

  14. Fred,
    Having been out of town for the sad occasion of an all-too-young cousin’s funeral, I am happy to return and offer you love and good wishes on the occasion of your 84th birthday. You have been a tremendous influence on my learning, on my teaching, and on my thinking. I am most grateful. I hope you enjoyed your day and celebrated with gusto! We have to have you and Ruth out to the house soon, and you and Ken & I have to get together for a pint or two as well.
    All the best,

    1. Paul – on my part your kind words are applicable to you as well. Altogether a meaningful collegial and friendship relationship. Fred

  15. Happy Birthday, 84 times now! Das ist sehr gut! I personally did not like history in high school–but I had great respect for you as a teacher and leader. You never distained me for not being a “star” pupil. Over the years I have learned to regret not having more interest in history–it is, after all, the story of people and I is one. It is no surprise to me of the respect and adoration that comes your way these many years later. Your “prophetic” voice for “justice and righteousness” echo the calls of no mean people, folks such as Amos, Hosea, Micah, & Jeremiah, the message which our Lord Jesus presented in spades. To Him be Glory for having worked so wondrously in your life. I trust He will continue to do so!

    Warmest regards,
    Tim Schaefer

  16. Happy birthday, dad. You have always been a giant of an encourager to me and I like to think of your goodness when I am cynical or when people disappoint me. You taught me to look for the crack of Grace in hardship and the blessing it brings. Love you!

  17. I was watching the “Freedom Riders” on PBS yesterday and got to thinking about Dr. Bartling and his work in south. Our work continues. The Frontline series on PBS this week will be airing “The Interrupters.” This is a documentary that highlights the efforts by the Cease Fire Community group to control the violence on the South and West sides of Chicago.

    For years, the city of Chicago refused to put enough resources into these neighborhoods because it was politically dangerous to remove police and other resources from the more wealthy areas of Chicago. Cease Fire was formed by the people of community to deal with problems of violence in their neighborhoods. This work is very dangerous and Cease Fire members have put their lives on line for their neighborhoods. I would encourage everyone to watch this very honest look at race and poverty in Chicago.

  18. I attribute my love for history (still what I most like to read) and my love for basketball (I played until I was 50 years old) to Prof. Bartling. It is often a teacher or coach who shapes a young man’s life and character. Prof. Bartling certainly did that for me. I give thanks to God for the privilege of learning at the feet of such a great man.

  19. Dr. Bartling was one of my favorite professors! I loved his class “1914- Present” where we ate up history. I still remember the details from his class. He has a passion for history and a way of sharing that passion with his students. He is also my dad’s cousin which makes him part of my family! Fritz and Ruth, we are celebrating with you tonight from Seattle, WA!! God be praised for your lives and service to the LORD and his people!

  20. I wish I could be there tonight! I had Professor Bartling as an instructor in the late 1980s and early 1990s, just before he retired from full-time teaching at CSP. I remember him as a master of narrative, weaving together various aspects of history to stimulate and inspire. I never took his class on African American history; nor was I really aware of his experiences among Lutherans in the American South. Yet I went on to complete my dissertation on Lutheran race relations. Something must have transferred by osmosis.

    It has been interesting to read these recollections about Professor Bartling. I am struck by how many of his students have gone on to teach and to serve, even throughout the Concordia University System. As has been mentioned, Professor Bartling combines clarity and complexity; wisdom and humility; and teaches not only for the past, but for the present and future as well. As Henry David Thoreau reminds us, “It is the province of the historian to find out, not what was, but what is.” Professor Bartling is a great historian!

  21. “Shirts and Skins” I was eight years old, my brother Fred age six and sister Cathy three months when our family made its way from Auburn, Alabama to Concordia St. Paul. We lived on campus and had the run of it; our most frequent destination was the gym where our dad was the coach of the Junior Varsity basketball team. Dad loves basketball and had grown up on a Concordia campus where he spent countless hours in the gym “shooting hoops”. He is a very good shot and eventually became one of the stars of the Concordia Seminary team. There is some mention in his yearbook that he was known as “backboard Charlie.” We will have to ask him more about that.

    Fred and I followed the tradition and played on the sidelines while dad was coaching–playing HORSE, “21” and perfecting our underhand free throws. The gym had large stage with thick ropes hanging from the ceiling which were just perfect for enacting Tarzan and Jane swinging through the forest. During games when the bleachers were down, we ran through the maze underneath sometimes finding change, gloves and wallets. At half-time, my brother Fred ran out to center court and did an extended headstand–10 minutes or more. Our behavior may have gotten out of line, because we were often chastened by “big bad Barnes.”

    It’s been 50 years now, but I still vividly remember the first team that Dad coached; for scrimmage the “boys” were divided into teams by shirts and skins. “Danny” Kriefall (now Rev. Dr. Daniel Kriefall) was an excellent player, and Fred and I would point him out when scouts came to campus to check out prospects. There was alot of positive energy in the gym, and when I close my eyes to recall our hours in the gym with dad, I hear the sounds of the game and my dad calling out, “shirts and skins” and feel the comraderie between coach and players.

    Thank you for the memories

  22. Dear Fritz, I wish I was in one of your history courses or any of the others. You lived the history in the times it was in action- then to intellectually study and put it all together-what a source of knowledge you are. Your article was so interesting, informative and compassionate as you recalled living it. A rich background-live it and study about it. Congratulations for the article. Congratulations on your teaching career and that you challenged those young minds.
    Thank you! Thank Concordia! I am pleased to know you and find out more. You have contributed so much!!~
    Blessings, Bettye Olson

  23. When I signed up for Dr. Bartling’s class “American History: Industrial Revolution to WWI,” I was used to history being the story of generals and politicians. Uncle Fred taught me that history is also the story of common people and the ideas that give meaning to their actions. He showed me how the examples and ideas of Washington Gladden, WEB DuBois, and Eugene Debs are not relics of the distant past but very contemporary as American society continues to struggle with race, religion, empire, and poverty. My view of history, of society, and of myself were changed forever during that 10 weeks. Thank you.

  24. Nearly 50 years later I have distinct memories of Fred’s influence on my high school intellectual life. In my own career as a university professor I’ve often given students advice about the value of “BSing” that I learned from Fred in American History class. He helped us learn that you have to write to think well. Whether or not he knew E.M. Forster’s dictum: “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?”, Fred knew to teach us to get the pen moving on the way to doing some thinking. There’s more, but this is one of the most lasting and important insights for me.

    Can’t be at the event. Have to teach my own classes at Concordia Irvine, but will give thanks with you all on that day.

    Jim Bachman, Concordia Academy ’64

  25. Polar bear hugs from the “Great White North”. I was very priviledged to have been taught or perhaps a better word would be “facilitated” and maybe even, “led in the right direction to research and find my own answers” to many historical queries. Dr Bartling was the consummate master of asking a question to the student’s question. We were to dig for our own answers. I loved every minute of his classes!
    Because Am History was my major, he was my advisor. While we met in his office one day, I shared with him that I recieved a 30/30 from Prof. Marsche on an essay. He looked at me and said, “Frame that sucker, Marsche never gives out perfect grades!”
    Another wonderful memory was taking a seminar from him my last year at Concordia (1979-80)
    we were given a research assignment and had to respond to a certain question, then share with the group…I think there were 8 in that class. Anyway, I was so excited, I came running into the room and shouted, “Can I go first, I just need to go first!” Dr Bartling laughed, said sure and the class continued. I never missed his classes and soaked up everything he had to share.
    I had a student in Junior High that told me he looked forward to coming to my classes, he learned so much and felt safe enough to say anything! I thanked him and said, I know what you mean, I had a prof. exactly like that. I will never be in your class Dr Bartling, but I learned so much from you; not only history, but how to teach. Thank you and God bless you.

    1. Dear Ruth and Fred, The Bartling name has long been sacred in my family. This from testimony of both my Mother and Father, separately from each other I might add, though also from them together. Father felt warmly towards Wally on account of his reverence and irreverence (I suppose through the Sem and my Uncle Charles); and he had a tender place in his heart for you Fritz. He didn’t let me in on much of the innerworkings of CSP, but he spoke pointedly of your graciousness to him along the way. And my Mother, well because she had grown up with you and your family in better days.
      I have the distinct joy of living long enough now to claim my Father and Mother’s friends as my own, in fact as mentors in our journey as exiles . This is more precious to me than you might know. The wisdom, the encouragement, the gemutlichkeit I have experienced from your families has shaped my thinking, influenced my values, nurtured my beliefs. To have a connection with you both through Gloria Dei these days putsmuch in perspective.
      It was with chagrin that I was not able to be with you on Friday. Mount Olive planned a hymn festival and asked me to be one of those providing the readings………..
      Nonetheless,I raise my glass in honor and with thanks and love to you both.

      John Manz

  26. As a sixteen-year-old I had the privilege of having Professor Bartling as a teacher in his first year at Concordia Academy. We were not the easiest group with which to deal, but he found a way to engage each of us, and challenge us into developing our strengths. Now, after all these years, when I talk about him with my former classmates, he always seems to evoke a similar response: “Yes, he was a great teacher! He had memorable insights, and a compelling sense of humor. I really liked him.”

  27. FredStock

    As I understand it FredStock is a celebration of fifty years of teaching by Professor Fred Bartling.

    I was never attended Concordia College so there fore I was never sitting in a desk as a formal student of Dr. Bartling.

    I do however feel that I had the best seat in the classroom. The silent teachings of Dr.Bartling. I spent my growing years observing Mr. Bartling from forty feet away as I grew up next door to him. I witnessed him being a father and a husband.

    Anyone who knows me knows my deep appreciation for the Bartling family. My recollections are endless. I am sure my stories are redundant. I can go down memory lane for hours.

    There are so many things I learned observing this family.

    There was one particular instance that I will never forget that was shared only between Mr. Bartling and myself. I am sure he won’t remember it as it was just one of those moments.

    It was a sunny day in 1978. It was loud and stressful at my house and was heard by what I felt was the whole neighborhood. I was feeling trapped in the house as tempers were flaring. I was feeling tired. I was tired from my day at school enduring another day of social economic stress from my peers and wondering if I was going to suffer in purgatory for my ill thoughts that day. It was one of those days where I felt judged, not good enough, different, worn of from acting one way and feeling another. As the situation was escalating in the house I felt shame, embarrassed and lost.

    I slipped downstairs and out the side door. Right there was Mr. Bartling standing with a paint can in his hand. I froze. I knew he knew what was happening inside and for a brief moment I felt like he knew every single thing I was feeling. My eyes look directly in his and I felt like I was understood by him. It was not pity. Maybe it was compassion. There is not a word to describe it. I immediately felt different. It may have been wisdom poured in to me from him. I unlocked my eyes and walked off feeling a sense of calm like peace washing over me.

    What ever he gave me in that look was life changing. From that day forward I knew that situations that were out of my control did not define me. I have carried that with me my whole life.

    I did not learn history from Mr. Bartling. I learned present and future skills. I learned not by his lectures but by his actions by the way he moved through his life. I witnessed how he would listen, share, be kind, be fair, did not judge, laughed and was genuine to his family.

    He is one of those rare people who has an abundance of grace and wisdom and shares it.

    I can only imagine being in his classroom. The effect of his presence along with his intellect must have been educationally intoxicating.

  28. As I read this opening paragraph in this morning’s “Portals of Prayer” (September 21, 2011), I thought immediately of my sophmore high school world history course with Professor Bartling: “‘Neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.’ This is the inscription on the James Farley Post Office in New York City and is commonly thought to be the motto of the United States Postal Service (though it actually refers to ancient Persian couriers).” That’s right! “Ancient Persia!” And I learned that fascinating fact from Professor Bartling, way back in the fall of 1964. I owe such factual “gems” to my life-long love of history.

  29. Well, good. . . I didn’t want to be the first! I came to Concordia in the fall of 1979 from a town of 10,000 in Northwest Iowa. I had enjoyed history in high school, but it was at Concordia, under the tutelage of Paul Marschke, Bob Kolb, and especially Fred Bartling, that I really grew to really love it. Those of us with a historical bent really enjoyed our professors, and often referred to “Uncle Fred,” the man who imparted to us the wisdom and perspective he had accumulated over his years of teaching and ministry.

    The thing I always admired about Fred was his openness to new ideas and new perspectives. We now live in an age where it is a virtue to remain entrenched in the same views and the same prejudices we’ve had all our lives. Here was, and here remains, a man willing to say, “I used to think this, until I learned otherwise. I used to be narrow in my thinking, but it has been broadened. I learned this when i was a student, but I have continued to learn as a teacher, and I want to share with you those things that make me wiser than I used to be.” That is a rare gift indeed, and one i continue to cherish. May we all emuate Fred and continue to grow in wisdom and humility as the years go by.

  30. In 1977, I was a young, disorganized woman at what was then Concordia College- St. Paul. I was stunned by the clarity and complexity Dr. Fred Bartling’s teaching on the subjects of race and American History. Dr. Bartling’s teachings profoundly changed my perceptions and attitudes on the relationship between race and full citizenship in the United States.

    In 2004, I helped to found a non-profit group that works for social justice in the South Chicago suburbs. When ever people ask me about why I do what I do, I always tell them about Dr. Bartling.

    It was a privilage to have Dr. Bartling officiate at Mark’s and my wedding in 1979. Mark and will be celebrating our 32nd anniversary this year.

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