Joined historic Alabama march after getting MLK to speak

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The Rev. George St. Angelo died March 4, 2012. As North Central’s first chaplain, he invited the Rev. Martin Luther King to speak on campus in 1960 and led busloads of students and community members to participate in a voters rights march in 1965 in Selma, Ala. | Submitted by NCC

In 1960, North Central College alum George St. Angelo persuaded Dr. Martin Luther King to speak at his alma mater.

Many weren’t so sure if many on the Naperville campus would welcome the legendary civil rights leader’s message.

But they did. And five years later, the Rev. St. Angelo led a group of North Central students to Selma, Ala., to participate in a voting-rights march from Selma to Montgomery.

The Rev. St. Angelo, North Central’s respected former chaplain who weaved civil rights and social justice through his religious teachings, died Sunday. He was 90.

Born on June 18, 1921, in Huntingburg, Ind., the Rev. St. Angelo graduated in 1943 from North Central College with a degree in political science and business administration. He then entered the U.S. Army and served in the Signal Intelligence Corps during World War II.

The Rev. St. Angelo’s job as a German translator led him to work during the liberation of concentration camps, both to interrogate Nazi guards as well as administer medical care to the survivors.

The Rev. St. Angelo is survived by his wife, Betty; daughters, Becky McCabe and Tina Wetzel; son Bill St. Angelo; brother Doug St. Angelo; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A public memorial service will take place at 2 p.m. March 31, at North Central College’s Wentz Concert Hall at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville.

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