In 1943, Paul married Ruth Mueller, a union which was blessed with three children, Michael, John Charles and Peter. Following the death of Ruth’s brother in 1961 and his wife in 1964, the Manz’s adopted four children, Mary, Anne, Sara and John Herbert, increasing their family number to nine. Sadly, son Michael died in his sleep recently on All Saints Day, 2006. Ruth was Paul’s partner in every conceivable sense of the word. She was his secretary, confidant, muse, and, when needed, critic. They had an exceptionally close relationship, and this influence on his work cannot be underestimated. Ruth died in July of 2008. Click here for Ruth's obituary.
In 1946 Paul began 37 years of distinguished service to Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, Minneapolis. He earned a Master of Music degree at Northwestern University in 1952, and in 1956 was granted a Fulbright Scholarship to study with renowned Flemish organist, Flor Peeters in Belgium. There he was awarded the First Prize, with Greatest Distinction from the Royal Flemish Conservatory of Music. He would return to Belgium for three more summers to study with Peeters. Paul also studied under Helmut Walcha in Frankfurt in 1956. Paul has received numerous honorary degrees and notable awards over the years.
From 1957 until 1976, while continuing to serve at Mt. Olive, Dr. Manz was called to Concordia College, St. Paul, as professor and chair of the Division of Fine Arts. He left this position in 1976 to return to full-time parish service at Mt. Olive - now as Cantor. During his time there Paul developed the Hymn Festival for which he eventually became known throughout the world. Having heard his first hymn festival in 1945, Paul recast the format, adding the unique approach of bringing a number of hymns together under a theme with appropriate readings interspersed. He also brought back the ancient practice of alternation during the singing of hymns. He started doing this at weekly services at Mt. Olive, eventually exposing a wider audience to it through hymn festivals.
Paul’s idea for the hymn festival began to germinate when he presented annual organ recitals at Mt. Olive: “I would always begin and end with a hymn; many people would come to those recitals, and I found that they thoroughly enjoyed singing the hymns. So finally, instead of doing a recital with a hymn at the beginning and the end, I did a program with hymns only. It caught on like wildfire, and I have subsequently presented hymn festivals all over the world.”
In 1976 the Mt. Olive congregation extended a special call to Paul to become Cantor. The words of the call: “We herewith extend to you this Solemn Call and Commission to an Office in the Ministry of Music that is designed to free your God-given gifts to the benefit of the entire holy catholic church” recognizing also that this commission will “enable you to share your ministry with generations yet unborn by creative composition for the blessing of the church through all future years.”
By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that shines like the sun in all his work, Paul Manz has influenced virtually every organist in the church today.
After 37 years of ministry in Minneapolis, Paul and Ruth moved to Chicago to begin a new chapter in their lives. Paul had received a double call to serve as Christ Seminex Professor of Church Music and Artist in Residence at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, as well as Cantor at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Luke. Retiring from these in 1999 afforded the Manz’s the opportunity to move back to the Twin Cities where Paul has remained active composing, speaking at workshops, and being in general, a source of inspiration, encouragement and support to those in the trenches proclaiming the Gospel of Christ through music.
Faithful servants through all the years, and so clearly guided by the Holy Spirit, Ruth and Paul Manz touched the lives of countless people with their love, compassion, generous spirits and great charm.
Paul is survived by his children, daughter-in-law Patricia Manz (Michael, deceased) of Spokane, John Manz (Ellen Anderson Manz) of Saint Paul, Mary Mueller Bode (Joel, deceased) of Saint Paul, Peter Manz (Stephanie Cram) of Portland, Anne Mueller Klinge (David) of Saint Louis, Sarah Mueller Forsberg (Dale) of Minneapolis, and John Mueller of Spokane. Twelve grandchildren: Erik Manz (Kimberly), David Manz (Caitlin) Rachael M. Manz, Rachel C. Manz, Rebekah Manz, Sarah Bode Selden (Dave), Katherine Edmonds, Erin Klinge Eftink (David), Jessica Klinge Hemmann (Scott), Laura Klinge, Peter Forsberg, Anna Forsberg, and five great grandchildren; friends, colleagues, former students, and legions of people in the pews.
Eternal rest grant him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine on him.
May Paul and all the blessed dead,
through the mercy of God,
rest in peace.
Information here was gleaned chiefly from the writing of Scott M. Hyslop. A book by Hyslop, a biography and analytical overview on Paul’s life and work entitled The Journey Was Chosen, was published (2007) by MorningStar Publishers.
ELCA NEWS: Paul Manz, Distinguished Lutheran Organist, Composer and Teacher, Dies
In Memorium by Scott Hyslop, Author - The Journey Was Chosen: The Life and Work of Paul Manz
Concordia University, St. Paul, MN: Music Luminary Paul Manz Called to His Eternal Home
Minneapolis Star Tribune Article - Friday, October 30, 2009
Reporter Article...the official Newspaper of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod - November 2, 2009
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago Article - October 30, 2009
St. Paul Pioneer Press Obituary - Sunday, November 1, 2009
Minnesota Public Radio - October 29, 2009
Bradshaw Funeral Home Obituary - Saturday, October 31, 2009
Chicago Tribune - November 4, 2009
London Telegraph - November 4, 2009
Click here to listen to the 2001 PIPEDREAMS program featuring Paul Manz speaking of his compositions, performances and commentary.
Recordings of Paul Manz are also available from MorningStar.