In 1948, Fred Naumann was the assistant manager of a St. Louis liquor store. One night, a week before Christmas, Naumann told an employee to help unload a delivery truck. When the employee refused, Naumann fired him. They argued, and then the man turned around with a pocketknife, and slashed Naumann’s throat. He died before he reached the hospital.
Fred Naumann was 31 when he was murdered. He had been a minor league baseball player, a catcher in the St. Louis Cardinals system. He served in the Pacific during World War II. When he died, he had a young son, and his wife was expecting a baby. Born six months later, that baby was named Joseph Fred Naumann.
Fred Naumann’s son, Joseph, is now the Archbishop of Kansas City. And he is calling for an end to the death penalty.
“The suffering and the circumstances of each family who has lost a loved one by a violent crime are unique. I do not presume to be able to speak for all victims of murder,” Archbishop Naumann said in a video published online this week by the Catholic Mobilizing Network.
“Yet, I did witness how my mother struggled to provide for our family without the benefit of my father, and the pain that she suffered as a result of losing the love of her life. I also know what it is like for children to grow up without a father.”