St. Aloysius parishioner shares hobby, talent
Eighty-four-year-old Marius Baumert, a lifetime member of St. Aloysius Parish in Aloys, is putting his woodworking to good use – serving his family, church and community.
With the Baumert name plate hanging on a driveway post leading to the family farm founded in 1879, about a mile south of the church (he can see the church from his front porch), Baumert uses the lower level of his home as his hobby shop.
Fixing things and making a few toys for his six children were just part of what he did in the normal flow of family living, and continued with the 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren he and his wife, Mary, enjoy, Baumert said. His woodworking expanded as people learned about his talent.
"I am not sure how I got started," he said. "A lady asked me to make a toy barn. More people saw it and wanted one. Then it snowballed. Now, 50 barns later, I make fences, feed bunks and other wooden toys. They are in demand because they are sturdy, don’t need batteries, and are cute enough for grandmas to buy for grandkids," he said.
Baumert donates many of his woodworking projects to the parish fundraiser, in a booth called "Grandpa’s Toys" that raises hundreds of dollars before each Christmas.
And last year, to help celebrate the parish’s 125th anniversary, he built and donated replicas of the 1910 St. Aloysius School and wood-frame 1891 St. Aloysius Church, which was replaced by the current brick church in 1930. Created with wood from the original building, which his father had stored in a barn on the farmstead, the two replicas are on permanent display in the parish rectory.
Baumert’s service is not limited to woodworking.
He’s also a lifetime member of the church choir, and sings with the community’s Cuming Choraliers, a men’s group. Baumert drove a school bus for 25 years, and he continues to farm. He and his wife also grow vegetables, squash, pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn and other produce, giving food away to people who don’t garden.
It might sound like a lot, but Baumert takes it in stride.
"Retirement is a relative term," Baumert said. "It is a progression of using the skills and the good health God has given and now it is time to give back."
As best they can, people should contribute to the community, including in retirement, Baumert said. Prayer also is important, he said.
"The peace of mind that comes with prayer is unchangeable. You talk to your neighbors. Why not spend a little time and talk to your Maker?"
"The worst thing you can do is sit home and count your pills," he said. "We all have to do our civic duty locally. It can be something as simple as showing up to mow the cemetery, or donating to worthy causes according to our means."
The Baumert family always has been involved with the Catholic Church, he said. His grandparents helped build the first church, for example, and his father helped take it down when the present church was built.
Now, he and his wife are preparing to celebrate another part of the family legacy – six decades of marriage.
"Our children have invited us to show up at our 60th wedding anniversary party at our farm this summer," Baumert said, laughing. "Life is fun. It is full of changes to be embraced."