Uncle Dietrich was a generous and warm-hearted gentleman. He was a passionate educator and dedicated marriage and family consultant. We will always remember how he reached out to the various religious leaders through his interfaith ministry during his years in Vienna, especially his unconditional support for the local Syrian Orthodox Church together with his wife Elisabeth. On multiple occasions Dietrich and Elisabeth invited opera singer Seiko Lee for charity events dedicated to Syrian children who suffered due to the civil war. This will be dearly remembered by the Vienna community. Furthermore, we were very moved by the encounters Dietrich and Elisabeth organized for the reconciliation between French and Germans/Austrians in Elisabeth’s hometown in the French Alps.
Dietrich was also a real mentor for me. I remember having many conversations with him, being a technical engineer and a theologian, on the relationship between religion and natural science. Before he left for California, he gave me a box containing books on Comparative Religious Studies and his lecture notes from his time at Webster University, which I deeply appreciated. I was grateful that despite health constraints he took the time to read some of the draft chapters of my thesis and provided helpful feedback.
We will not forget the day when we visited the Seidels’ home in Puchberg with Samuel Sauer (around 2013). We thank them for the precious time we could spend there together.
Dietrich never missed a chance to express a joyful and hopeful heart. Whenever we met him at our Vienna church in the Seidengasse he always greeted us warmly with a big smile.While Dietrich will continue to live in our memories and our hearts, we are very sure that he will find his new home and his new place in God’s wondrous and living providence.
Dr. Young Oon Kim once shared this Korean proverb:
If you plan for your life for one year, plant grain;
if you plan for your life for 10 years, plant fruit trees.
But if you plan for 100 years, then plant people.
Certainly, Uncle Dietrich was a person who invested his whole heart into planting people.
2nd gen couple, Vienna, Austria