Cover photo for Harry Edward Baumgarten Jr.'s Obituary

Harry Edward Baumgarten Jr.

August 24, 1924 — December 14, 2023

Harry Edward Baumgarten Jr.

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Harry Edward Baumgarten, Jr., 99, passed away while under the care of Hospice of Western Kentucky on December 14, 2023. He was born in St. Matthews, Louisville, at home on a stormy night to Harry and Lena Fritz Baumgarten on August 24, 1924. The Baumgarten family moved to Owensboro in the 1930’s, where Harry grew up and graduated from St. Joseph Academy in 1942. He began his college career at St. Louis University, then entered the Army in 1943.

 

In 1945 he was appointed to the United States Naval Academy, graduating in 1949. While at Annapolis, Harry was a member of the varsity crew and was twice a four-striper of the 5th Battalion, during which he led the 5th Battalion in President Truman’s inaugural parade. On Harry’s second interaction with Truman, he led his battalion up the stairs to Bancroft Hall for breakfast, where President Truman was waiting. Harry said, “Good morning, Mr. President,” and promptly tripped.

 

After the Naval Academy, Harry was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the newly formed United States Air Force. He underwent pilot training in Texas, and then was an instructor pilot in the B-25 at Reese AFB, Lubbock, TX. Following combat crew training in the B-26 at Langley AFB, VA, he deployed to Korea in 1952, where he flew 52 Night Intruder combat missions, earning 3 Air Medals and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

 

Following Korean combat service, Harry attended the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana to pursue graduate studies in electrical engineering, working on development of the ILIAC computer.

 

While home one weekend on leave, his sister Charlotte introduced him to a lovely young Charlene Cross, a recent University of Kentucky graduate who impressed him with her golf skills. Eight months later, they were married.

 

Harry was working toward his PhD when he was reassigned to the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, OH, working with the RAND Corporation. Subsequently, he was assigned to the Foreign Technology Division. A sudden reassignment took him and his family to Oslo, Norway, as Assistant Air Attache at the American Embassy. It was here that he earned a promotion to Lieutenant Colonel. Harry and Charlene spent 4 happy years there, spying on the Russians and loving the Norwegians, while welcoming their fourth child.

 

His stateside assignment after Norway was to the University of Louisville as Professor of Aerospace Science and Director of Air Force ROTC. He retired from the Air Force in 1969. Notably, his military service spanned the U.S. Army (1942-45), the U.S. Navy (1945-49), and the U.S. Air Force (1949-69).

 

Harry moved his family to Owensboro to join the family business, Davis Distributers, which was established by his father. He spent the next five decades devoting himself to his family, community, and church. He served on Junipero Serra Club International, Saint Vincent DePaul Society, Owensboro Catholic and Blessed Mother school boards, founding member of Hospice of Owensboro, Help Office, and various Blessed Mother parish ministries.

 

Harry and Charlene were parishioners of Blessed Mother for 50 years and, most recently, St. Stephen Cathedral. After Harry finally retired from Davis Distributors, he and Charlene moved to a home on the 10th fairway at The Summit, and enjoyed 25 happy years.

 

As Dad would always say, “It was a good flight.”

 

He had a good flight.

 

Harry was preceded in death by his parents, Harry Sr., and Lena J. Fritz Baumgarten; siblings Mary Helena Gordon, Martha Lauzon, Charlotte Baumgarten, Joseph Baumgarten, and James Baumgarten. 

 

He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Charlene Cross Baumgarten, his brother Richard (Pat) Baumgarten of Atlanta, GA, his six children, Harry E. Baumgarten III (Mary) of McKinney, TX, Diane Hastings (George) of Contoocook, NH, Julie Cooper (Roger) of Louisville, KY, Katherine Anderson (Eric) of Easton, MD, Kjell Baumgarten of Bowling Green, KY, and Holly Pfeifer (Mark) of Owensboro, 21 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.

 

Expressions of sympathy take the form of contribution to Hospice of Western Kentucky 3419 Wathen's Crossing, Owensboro, KY 42301 or St. Benedict’s Homeless Shelter 1001 West 7th Street Owensboro, Kentucky 42301

 

The funeral Mass will be 12:00 pm Wednesday, December 20, 2023, at Saint Stephen Cathedral. Visitation will be from 4:00 pm until 8:00 pm with prayers at 7:00 pm Tuesday December, 19, 2023 at Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory. Burial with military honors will follow Mass at Resurrection Cemetery.

 

Memories and messages of condolence may be shared with the family at www.glenncares.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To send flowers to the family in memory of Harry Edward Baumgarten Jr., please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

4:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory

900 Old Hartford Road, Owensboro, KY 42303

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Prayer Service

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

7:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory

900 Old Hartford Road, Owensboro, KY 42303

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Mass

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Central time)

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Graveside Service

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Resurrection Cemetery Chapel

5404 KY-54, Owensboro, KY 42303

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