Fr. Alfred died on 3 March 2018 after a short illness at Ellwangen hospital. He had been living at the retirement home at Ellwangen since 2014, affectionately assisted by the nursing staff. Many people joined in praying the Rosary for our dead confrere at Josefstal and attended the funeral in the parish church of St. Wolfgang. His presence and his pastoral work in the parishes in the area of Ellwangen were always appreciated over many years by the people and a large number of benefactors and friends of the Comboni Missionaries and of the mission wished, by their participation, to express their friendship and gratitude.
Alfred was born at Kerkingen on 20 October, 1931. He was a member of the first group of students who, towards the end of the Second World War, were accommodated in the Josefstal house to attend High School. The Josefinum seminary of Ellwangen had been destroyed by German soldiers a short time before the arrival of the American troops and the students had to walk to the city school and, after lessons, to walk back. It was only in 1951 that the rebuilt seminary could open its doors to the first students.
Having successfully completed High School, Alfred moved to Bamberg where he started his novitiate on 28 October 1951. On 1 November 1953 he took temporary vows and immediately afterwards began his theological studies at the Theological faculty in the city. On 8 December 1956 he consecrated himself to the missions by taking final vows and was ordained priest on 28 July 1957 in Bamberg.
Fr. Alfred began his priestly and missionary life in the province. His first post was the seminary of St. Paul at Neumarkt in Bavaria, which had been opened in 1953. He worked there as educator until 1964. Being a missionary, he had wished, like all his confreres, to go to the mission and was in fact appointed to South Africa. Unfortunately, the racist government often refused Catholic missionaries a work permit and denied them a visa by way of retaliation. This is what happened to Fr. Alfred who had to accept this and, from that moment, he threw himself body and soul into the work of his province.
That same year (1964) he was transferred to Josefstal and was appointed missions procurator. In 1967 at Bamberg he assumed the post of missionary animator, the accompaniment of benefactors and the promotion of the Holy redeemer Guild. In 1972 he was also appointed General Treasurer and, after the reunion in 1979, provincial treasurer. In 1990 he moved to Josefstal where he continued to dedicate himself to the same activities. After the community of Josefstal was closed, he moved to Ellwangen continuing the same work. In 2014, for health reasons, he had to give up all his activities and commitments and go to the Centre for sick and elderly confreres at the Ellwangen house. There he spent the last years of his life in peace and serenity. Right up to the time when he was admitted to hospital, he was able to take part in community life.
Fr. Alfred did nothing extraordinary or sensational during his life in the DSP but always distinguished himself for his work that was generous, diligent and assiduous in the vineyard of the Lord and that of the province. His main field of work was always and ever that of missionary animation in the parishes and contact with benefactors and supporters of the mission, a task he carried out tirelessly and with excellent results. For decades, he would celebrate Mass almost every Sunday in the parishes; he proclaimed the Gospel, promoted the Holy Redeemer Guild and animated the friends of the mission and benefactors. He had prepared a rich collection of slides on missionary topics to show during his conferences. He visited many, if not all the parishes of the dioceses of Eichstätt, Rottenburg/Stuttgart, Bamberg, Würzburg and Augsburg, making friends with many of the priests. Another very important activity was that of the annual area meetings with collaborators and benefactors to keep their interest in the missions alive, to thank them and to give them the calendar of the "Holy Redeemer Guild" which they would then distribute in their parishes and collect donations.
His humanity and his openness, his attractive, likeable and noble character facilitated his contacts with people in general and benefactors in particular. His height, his strong and melodious voice with his permanent smile and his ability to communicate were invaluable assets in his pastoral work and in meeting people. He lived authentically and with conviction his priesthood. His spiritual life and faith were sound and well-balanced as was his attitude to the Church. All of this made him a trustworthy and sure guide for people, especially during the upheavals of change and uncertainty in the aftermath of the Council. (Fr. Alois Eder)