Father Robert T. Altmann, 80, a priest for 51 years, died Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in La Crosse.
Father Altmann was born Nov. 30, 1933, in Blenker, Wis., to John and Rose (nÃ©e Flateau) Altmann. He attended Saint Kilian grade school in Blenker, and Saint Lawrence Seminary in Mount Calvary, Wis. Upon graduation from junior college in 1953 he was employed at Hardware Mutuals Insurance Co. in Stevens Point, Wis. From March 1954 to March 1956 he served in the U.S. Army as a personnel specialist, attending school at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, before being stationed at Fort Riley, Kan. Upon discharge from the service he studied at University of Wisconsin-Madison for one year and then enrolled at Holy Cross Seminary in La Crosse for his philosophical studies. In September 1959, he began his theological studies at Pontifical North American College in Rome. He was ordained a priest Dec. 19, 1962, at Saint Ignatius Church in Rome, by the Most Rev. Martin J. Oâ€™Connor, Rector of the North American College.
Father Altmannâ€™s first assignment in July 1963 was as assistant to Monsignor Charles Gille at SS Peter and Paul Parish and as an instructor at Assumption High School, both in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. In 1964 he was assigned as assistant to Father Cletus Abts at Holy Name Parish in Wausau, Wis., and in 1968 as assistant to Father Charles Brady at Saint James the Greater Parish in Eau Claire, Wis. On Aug. 28, 1968, Father Altman was appointed assistant to Father Bernard Quint at Saint John the Baptist Parish and as an instructor at Aquinas High School, both in La Crosse. When Saint John Parish was closed, he was appointed assistant to Father Robert Hansen at Saint James the Less Parish in La Crosse, continuing as instructor at Aquinas High School.
On June 15, 1972, Father Altmann was appointed principal of Aquinas High School and resident chaplain at Saint Joseph Home in La Crosse. In 1985 he was assigned to assist Father James Oâ€™Connell with Sunday masses at Holy Trinity Parish. He served as a member of the Board of the Wisconsin Independent Schools Athletic Association (WISAA) from 1978 to 1990, and as chairman from 1982 to 1990. In 1990 he was named WISAA â€œMan of the Year.â€ Father Altmann served as principal at Aquinas High School until 1990, when he was granted a sabbatical to attend the Institute for Continuing Theological Education at the North American College in Rome. After returning he was appointed pastor of Saint Matthew Parish in Wausau, effective Jan. 8, 1991. On July 6, 1999, Father Altmann was appointed pastor of Saint Peter Parish, Middle Ridge, and Saint Joseph Parish, St. Joseph Ridge, and as part-time diocesan archivist. On Jan. 13, 2004, Father Altmann was granted the status of senior priest. He continued as diocesan archivist until his death.
Father Altmann is survived by one brother, Frederick Altmann; one sister, Betty Jadack; and three nieces, Rosemary, Peggy and Jane.
He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Richard and John; one sister, Mary Rose; and a brother-in-law, Wallace Jadack.
The funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, at Saint Joseph the Workman Cathedral in La Crosse. The Most Rev. William Patrick Callahan, bishop of La Crosse, will be the principal celebrant. Father Eugune Wolf will be the homilist. Burial will be Thursday, Feb. 27, at Saint Kilian Cemetery in Blenker.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. with evening prayer from the Office for the Dead at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, at the Cathedral. Monsignor Charles D. Stoetzel will preside. Visitation will also be held one hour prior to service Wednesday.
The Diocese of La Crosse, and the family are being assisted by the Blaschke & Schneider Funeral Home in La Crosse.