Paul O. Manz, Christ Seminary-Seminex Professor Emeritus and artist-in-residence at LSTC, dies October 30, 2009

World-renowned organist, composer, and teacher, Paul O. Manz, died October 28, 2009, in St. Paul, Minn., at the age of 90.

A celebration of Paul Manz's life will be held November 6, 7 and 8 at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and St. Luke Church, Chicago. Friday, November 6, winners of the Ruth and Paul Manz Organ Scholarship will perform on the Ruth and Paul Manz Organ in the Augustana Chapel at LSTC, 1100 East 55th Street, Chicago at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, November 7,

Manz Scholarship winner and faculty member at the University of Oklahoma, Dr. John Schwandt, will hold a master class in liturgical improvisation at LSTC. On Sunday, November 8 at 4 p.m., a memorial hymn festival will be held at St. Luke Church, 1500 W. Belmont, Chicago. Admission to the organ recital and hymn festival are free. Freewill offerings will be gathered at each event to benefit the Ruth and Paul Manz Organ Scholarship. For more information about the events, visit or email

Paul Manz joined the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago community in 1983, when members of the Christ Seminary-Seminex faculty came to the seminary. He served a double call as Christ Seminary-Seminex Professor of Church Music and artist-in-residence at LSTC and as cantor at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Luke in Chicago.

"The church and world were blessed beyond measure by the talents and gifts Paul Manz shared with our seminary community. His legacy of teaching and his music will continue through our graduates to touch the lives of future generations," said LSTC President James Kenneth Echols. "His tireless efforts generating support for our institution through hymn festivals was a mark of his remarkable ministry. We give thanks to God for the good fortune of having known Paul, and his beloved Ruth, as members of the Seminex and LSTC communities."

In thanksgiving for the lives and work of Paul and Ruth Manz, LSTC named its Bigelow Organ in their honor during a dedication celebration in November 2004. The Manz Organ Recital Series was initiated in fall 2008 by keyboardist Thomas Wikman to present a free noontime concert on the Manz Organ at LSTC each month of the school year.

Paul Manz was born May 10, 1919, the only child of Otto Manz and Hulda (Jeske) Manz. He began taking piano lessons at age five and organ lessons two years later. Through eighth grade, he studied with Henry J. Markworth at Trinity Lutheran Church in Cleveland, Ohio.

Manz attended Concordia High School in River Forest, Ill., and later matriculated in their teacher training program. While at Concordia, Manz began private organ studies at the American Conservatory in Chicago. He continued his studies at Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, Ohio. Manz pursued graduate studies at the University of Minnesota and, in 1952, received a Master's degree in organ performance from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

In 1956 Manz received a Fulbright grant for study with Flor Peeters at the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp, Belgium. He also had an opportunity to study with Helmut Walcha at the Dreikönigskirche in Frankfurt, Germany.

In 1943, Manz married Ruth Mueller, whom he referred to as "the real, real spark plug. She raised seven children, a husband, and a dog. Can you imagine how hard it was to make 27 meals a day?" In the richness of their partnership they nurtured countless friendships, mentored hundreds of students, and, with music, brought the good news of God’s love to millions of people throughout the world.

After serving as teacher, principal, and musician at several Lutheran parishes in Wisconsin and Minnesota, Manz was called to Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, where he served as full-time director of Christian education and music. His ministry at Mt. Olive would continue for 37 years.

Manz served on the faculties of the University of Minnesota and Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., before accepting a call to serve as professor and chair of the Division of Fine Arts at Concordia College, St. Paul, in 1957. During his tenure at Concordia, Manz established a strong program of music studies with a well-trained and distinguished faculty. There, he realized a dream of creating a well-designed facility for the Fine Arts Division of the school that included rehearsal rooms, an auditorium with a concert pipe organ and studios for the art department.

Soon after that facility opened, Manz left his position at Concordia because of his connections to and support of the faculty and students who formed Christ Seminary-Seminex. He returned to Mt. Olive as full-time Cantor and performed scores of hymn festivals across the country, raising funds to benefit Christ-Seminary Seminex.

Manz retired from LSTC in 1992, but continued to teach workshops and master classes throughout the country. The Paul Manz Institute of Church Music, based at the Church of St. Luke, enabled him to continue to share his wealth of education and experience with others. Manz retired from the Church of St. Luke and the Institute in 1999.

Over the course of his career, Manz was awarded numerous honorary doctorates and other honors. LSTC presented him with the Confessor of Christ Award, Trinity Lutheran Seminary presented him with the Joseph Sittler Award for Theological Leadership. He received the Gutenberg Award from the Chicago Bible Society and the Wittenberg Arts Award from the Luther Institute.

Manz was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth, and their sons, David and Michael. He is survived by his children, daughter-in-law, Patricia (Michael), John (Ellen), Mary Mueller Bode (Joel, deceased), Peter (Stephanie Cram), Anne Mueller Klinge (David), Sarah Mueller Forsberg (Dale), and John Mueller, twelve grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held Sunday, November 8 in St. Paul, Minn. The family has requested that memorials be made to the Ruth and Paul Manz Organ Scholarship Fund at LSTC. For more information about the Ruth and Paul Manz Organ Scholarship visit

To make a gift online go to and designate the gift to the Ruth and Paul Manz Organ Scholarship Fund.

Information for this release was taken from Scott M. Hyslop’s obituary at


Jan Boden
Director of Communication and Marketing

The Lutheran School of Theology (LSTC) is dedicated to bearing witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Based in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, it is the leading urban Lutheran seminary training students for purposeful vocations in the global community. Aligned with its Lutheran heritage and built on a foundation of intellectual rigor, LSTC’s innovative, nationally recognized curriculum gives students skills for visionary Christian leadership in the public sphere.

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