Sometimes a man’s true Christian character is best known by the small, private things he does. This is certainly true of our 2008 Telemachus Award recipient, the Rev. Dr. Kurt E. Marquart.
Dr. Marquart was born in Tallinn, Estonia, June 20, 1934. He was a member of the Concordia Theological Seminary faculty from 1975 until his death in 2006. He also served on many boards and committees throughout The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Before coming to the seminary he served parishes in Queensland, Australia, and Weatherford, Texas. He was a 1959 graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo., and was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree (Honoris Causa) from Concordia University – Wisconsin, Mequon, in 2001.
Dr. Marquart served faithfully on the Board of Allen County Right to Life during the foundational years in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, understanding that Christians can have deeply held theological differences and still unite to defend innocent human life. Dr. Marquart recognized that people of all faiths have a responsibility before God to speak for innocent human beings created in God’s image. Dr. Marquart, while deeply convinced that God-given life taken from anyone was immoral, thus making it a religious issue, also argued that the objection to abortion was a civil rights issue. He contended that the battle for the preservation of life can and must be fought on every front, and limiting it to a religious issue leaves out many who would oppose it as an affront to civil rights.
Dr. Marquart is remembered for being gifted with eloquence and grace to boldly present an unassailable defense of the value of each human life. His involvement as a board member for Allen County Right to Life while serving as a respected faculty member of Concordia Theological Seminary built a bridge among faith communities that has endured to this day.
Dr. Marquart was called home by the Lord on September 19, 2006 from complications of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). It is especially fitting that the man who so tirelessly defended the lives of so many little ones during his life baptized his great-grandson the night before his death.
May we never forget the challenge he made to us during his life, “Let us not be weary in well doing for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9)
Dr. Marquart is survived by his wife, Barbara, and children: Danny; Cynthia (Johnson); Barry; Angela (Hill); and Anthony. They have also been blessed with many grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
The bio above was submitted at the time of the award presentation.