By Liz Oakes
The Cincinnati Enquirer
DELHI TWP. - The Rev. Alvin T. Zugelter, who served at St. Louis Church in Cincinnati for more than 30 years and later became a personal assistant to the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, was a fixture downtown for decades, known for his sense of humor and his concern for others.
"He could walk up and down the street, and he either knew everybody, or he baptized them," said Hal Klink, a senior vice president at U.S. Bank who knew Father Zugelter for 35 years as a friend and business adviser.
Father Zugelter died on Tuesday at Deaconess Hospital in Cincinnati. He was 85.
Alphabetically, "his name comes at the very end of the list of priests in the Archdiocese," said the Rev. James Bramlage, pastor at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, downtown, who served with Father Zugelter at St. Louis Church for years.
That "was kind of typical of him," said Bramlage. "He thought of himself as being the last in any order of importance. But what he did in serving the church was exemplary in many ways."
Father Zugelter helped a number of young people through college, nearly paying their whole way, Bramlage said.
He also conducted conversion classes at St. Louis and was responsible for "hundreds and hundreds of people coming into the church," Bramlage said.
"It was a rare occasion when we would go someplace and wouldn't meet up with someone who wasn't a convert of his," said Charles Jenkins, a friend and deacon at Our Lady of Victory Church in Delhi Township.
Father Zugelter grew up on the west side of Cincinnati, graduating from Western Hills High School.
He attended the University of Cincinnati and then decided to convert to Catholicism and enter the seminary. Father Zugelter studied at St. Gregory and Mount St. Mary of the West seminaries. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1946.
After his ordination, he served as associate pastor at Mother of Sorrows Church in Roselawn from 1946 to 1948 and St. Mary Church in Hyde Park from 1948 to 1953.
He became associate pastor at St. Louis Church in 1953, becoming administrator in 1966 and pastor seven years after that.
In 1984, Father Zugelter left St. Louis Church to assist the newly elevated Cardinal Bernardin in Chicago. Father Zugelter retired four years later and returned to Cincinnati in 1997.
There are no immediate survivors. Reception of the body will be 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, with Mass of Christian burial at 10 a.m. at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral.
Burial will be in new St. Joseph Cemetery, Price Hill.
Memorials can be made to Our Daily Bread, Box 14862, Cincinnati, OH 45214; or Priests' Retirement Fund of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, 100 E. Eighth St., Cincinnati, OH 45202.
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