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Rev. Dr. David W. Shaum

As originally published on Tuesday, Oct  8, 2011

Rev. Dr. David W. Shaum, age 90, of Emmitsburg, Maryland, died on Thursday, October 6, 2011 at the Gettysburg Hospital.

Born October 21, 1920 in Taneytown, Maryland, he was the son of the late Francis E. and Helen Elizabeth (Wisotzkey) Shaum.

Father Shaum graduated from Taneytown High School in 1938 and from Mount St. Mary’s College in May, 1942. Immediately thereafter, he entered the Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, on June 29, 1946 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the BVM. Father Shaum received a Master of Art Degree in Education from Loyola College, Baltimore in June, 1954, a Master of Arts Degree in Music from the Catholic University of America in June, 1956, and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree from the Catholic University of America in June, 1961. He also completed Post-Doctoral study at Northwestern University; Eastman School of Music; and Indiana University.

His assignments in the Archdiocese included, St. Vincent de Paul parish, Associate, 1946-50; St. Martin, Associate, 1950-52; St. John, Westminster, Associate, 1952-55; Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and University, Faculty, 1955-95. Rev. Dr. Shaum retired from a distinguished career at Mount St. Mary’s spanning four decades serving as Secretary of the College Council, Treasurer of the College, Academic Dean, Chairman of the Fine Arts Department and Chairman of the Education Department. The musical traditions he created during his tenure at the Mount as Director of the Glee Club and College Choir were renown throughout the region. He leaves a rich legacy in the hearts and minds of the Mount community of Christmas Candlelight Concerts, delightful spring concerts, and all the other festive events, not to mention the annual tours to all corners of the Western World. Father Shaum’s College singers sang at a Papal Audience in St. Peter’s Basilica before Pope John Paul II and a crowd of six thousand in 1990. He was described as a "model gentleman priest." President Thomas H. Powell of the Mount said, "We have lost a giant of Mount St. Mary’s." Having just past his 65th anniversary as a priest, Fr. Shaum was the 2007 recipient of the Archdiocesan Medal of Honor for his many years of service to the Church and the community; nominated in 2010 for the title of Monsignor and in 2011 as Outstanding Parish Holy Name Spiritual Director.

Following his retirement, he continued as one of the busiest retired priests, as well as the oldest priest in the Archdiocese, filling in throughout the year to celebrate mass at his home and native parish of St. Joseph in Taneytown, Libertytown, Hagerstown, Thurmont, and Emmitsburg parishes. Additionally, he served as Chaplain for the Knights of Columbus Council of St. Anthony Shrine, Emmitsburg and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Thurmont. Father’s favorite antiphon: "We do well to sing to Your name, Most High, and proclaim your mercy at daybreak."

Surviving are brother, Joseph B. Shaum and wife Betty of Westminster; niece, Helen Rebecca Rugemer and husband Max of Oakton, Va.; nephew, Michael B. Shaum and wife Lori of N.C.; and great-niece, Melissa Shaum. Also surviving are a host of former students and friends.

He was predeceased by a sister, Mary Donatelli and brother, Frank Shaum.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 AM, on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 at the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception at Mount St. Mary’s University, 16300 Old Emmitsburg Road, Emmitsburg, Maryland with His Excellency, Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien as celebrant. Interment will follow in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Taneytown. Friends may call at a viewing on Tuesday, from 1-8 PM at the St. Bernard Chapel at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, where Rosary prayers will begin at 7 PM, and on Wednesday, from 10-11 AM prior to Mass.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in memory of Father Shaum to "Mount St. Mary’s University" for either the Chorale or Needy Seminarian Fund c/o: Mount St. Mary’s University, Office of Advancement, 16300 Old Emmitsburg Road, Emmitsburg, MD 21727.

Father David Shaum, legend at Mount St. Mary’s, dies

A funeral Mass for Father David Shaum will be held Oct. 12, at 11 a.m., at Mount St. Mary University’s Chapel of the Immaculate Conception. (CR File)
By George P. Matysek Jr.

Father David W. Shaum, a legendary figure at Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg and the second longest-serving priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, died Oct. 6 just two weeks before his 91st birthday.

Father Shaum taught music, logic, history and philosophy at the college and seminary from the early 1950s until his retirement in 1995. He continued to live on campus for many years after his retirement and was still hearing confessions from seminarians in recent years.

An accomplished musician, the Taneytown native founded the Glee Club at Mount St. Mary’s and was well known for Christmas candlelight concerts. His students performed internationally, making an appearance at a papal audience in St. Peter’s Basilica before Pope John Paul II and a crowd of 6,000 in 1990. They also sang a liturgy at the Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi in Italy.

“I respected that our alumni said he was a very demanding teacher,” said Dr. Thomas Powell, president of Mount St. Mary’s University. “They said he was a tough mark – but then they would pause and add that it made them better.”

Powell noted that Father Shaum was the last of two priests who had served on the university’s council before it had a lay board. He served as secretary of the College Council, treasurer of the college, academic dean, chair of the fine arts department and chair of the education department.

“He was a great wealth of knowledge about the history of the Mount,” the president said. “He was a humble man. He didn’t like to brag.”

Father Shaum graduated from Taneytown High School in 1938 and from Mount St. Mary’s College in 1942. He prepared for the priesthood at the Mount and was ordained on June 29, 1946, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore.

The priest earned a master’s degree in education from Loyola College in Baltimore, a master’s degree in music and a doctorate in philosophy from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He completed post-doctoral studies at several other universities.

After he moved into St. Catherine’s Nursing Center in Emmitsburg, Father Shaum taught music to the residents and developed a choir. He had long assisted at area parishes, especially the Shrine of St. Anthony in Emmitsburg.

Before his assignment to Mount St. Mary’s, Father Shaum was associate pastor of St. Vincent de Paul in Baltimore, St. Martin in Baltimore and St. John in Westminster.

In a 2001 interview with The Catholic Review, Father Shaum expressed joy for the gift of the priesthood.

“I’m grateful for all the opportunities and the years that Christ the high priest has given me,” he said.

Father Shaum’s 11 a.m. funeral Mass will be offered Oct. 12 at the Mount’s Chapel of the Immaculate Conception

“He’s now in God’s choir,” Powell said.

If you knew Father Shaum, and would like to see him remembered
 in the next History of Emmitsburg, Please send us any stories or
 anecdotes about him to us at: history@emmitsburg.net