Deaths in the Notre Dame Family

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Author: Chas Grundy

ABBOT ASTRIK L. GABRIEL, who directed Notre Dame’s Medieval Institute from 1952 to 1975, died May 16, 2005, in Dujarie House at Holy Cross College. He was 97. A distinguished figure on campus, Gabriel spoke English with a thick Hungarian accent and booming voice. With an air of aristocracy, the internationally respected scholar was a connoisseur of fine food and wine who was known by sommeliers, chefs and maitre d’s from South Bend to New York to Paris. One of the world’s foremost authorities on medieval education, Gabriel was born in Pecs, Hungary, entered religious life with the Order of Canons of Premontre in 1926, and joined the Notre Dame faculty in 1948. Gabriel wrote numerous books and articles on medieval university life and oversaw the Notre Dame’s Frank M. Folsom Ambrosiana Collection, an unprecedented microfilm reproduction of all the manuscripts and drawings of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan. The Astrik L. Gabriel University Collection, including numerous books he donated, is among the world’s richest library collections on the history of universities. During his Notre Dame tenure, Gabriel also served as a visiting professor at Harvard, was twice a member of Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, was a member of French, Bavarian and Hungarian Academies of Science, and was decorated by France, Italy and the Holy See.

REV. GEORGE C. WISKIRCHEN, CSC, who had directed the University’s jazz band and assisted in the direction of Notre Dame’s marching band, died May 17, 2005,in South Bend at age 76. Wiskirchen, a leading force behind the University’s popular Collegiate Jazz Festival, entered the Congregation of Holy Cross at Notre Dame in 1948, graduated from the University in 1951, and was ordained in 1955. One of the founding faculty members of the Notre Dame High School for Boys in Niles, Illinois, Father Wiskirchen spent 17 years there, teaching religion and music, establishing the band program and earning a national reputation as a pioneer in high school jazz education. He earned a master’s from Northwestern University and became an instructor there in jazz education and director of Northwestern’s Jazz Workshop. He returned to Notre Dame in 1972 to teach music, serve as a residence hall rector and lend his talents and expertise to the marching band and the University’s jazz scene. He retired in 2002 and had been residing at Holy Cross House, the retirement home for Holy Cross priests on campus.

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