March 16, 2012

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Personal eulogy for a faith-filled gentleman and scholar

Shirley Vogler MeisterI have never done this before in my column, but my heart and soul tells me that I must share this eulogy with my readers.

On Feb. 11, the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, my husband, Paul, and I traveled to St. Charles Borromeo Church in Bloomington for the funeral and celebration of life of a friend, Stanislaus Stephen Thomas, better known as Stan.

Father Thomas Kovatch, pastor of the Bloomington Deanery parish, was the celebrant. Friends joined family members for the Mass, which concluded with beautiful tributes to Stan.

The headline of this column explains what Paul and I know was true—Stan was a faith-filled gentleman and scholar.

In many ways, Stan showed love for his wife, Rose, and their five children—Rosemary Hart, Marianne Sibal, Stephen, Thomas and Valerian Thomas—and their 10 grandchildren.

His obituary was published in The Bloomington Herald-Times. We were grateful that Rose let us know about his death so we could attend his funeral liturgy.

Stan was born on Nov. 1, 1919, and died on Jan. 18, 2012.

He and his wife’s devotion to the Catholic Church must have been such a blessing to their children.

When Father Kovatch spoke about him, I knew without a doubt that Stan’s soul must have immediately been lifted by angels to the Kingdom of God.

Other people also shared stories about Stan’s love and humor and giftedness after the Mass at a Polish luncheon and celebration of his life.

As the obituary noted, he was “an engineer’s engineer” with many professional credits.

When Paul and I read his lengthy obituary, we were awed by his life and work.

We didn’t realize that Stan wasn’t just involved with dozens of professional organizations and multiple professional disciplines. He was even a singer during his earlier years, including being a supernumerary in five operas staged by the Indiana University School of Music.

After 35 years in academia, he retired as dean of engineering technology at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 1987.

Stan was a modest man, active Catholic, devoted father and loyal friend. He and his family were always doing things to help people in their parishes through the years.

We are blessed to have known him.

To read his obituary online, log on to

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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