The Very Rev. Thomas A. Baima, 69, died Wednesday, April 20, 2022, at The University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary after a courageous battle with cancer. Fr. Tom was born March 20, 1953, in Chicago, IL.
When he was three years old his family moved to Skokie, IL and has been a member of St. Peter Catholic Church there since that time.
Fr. Tom graduated Notre Dame High School in Niles and went off to Butler University with the intention of becoming a pharmacist. His father worked for Walgreens and during the first couple of years in the program Fr. Tom spent his summers working as a pharmacist assistant. He eventually changed his major from pharmacy to religion and graduated with honors from Butler University.
Early in life Fr. Tom took a liking to Judo and continued his training through high school, college and while studying at the seminary. He earned a 2nd degree black belt in judo and was also involved in other martial art disciplines.
Fr. Tom enjoyed traveling and loved to drive (a place where he could think and be without distractions). He enjoyed being with friends and bringing people together. In his quiet way, he converted a great number of people, including his friends, to Catholicism. His beginnings with Ecumenism started with his friend Rob, who was leading a bible study. Fr. Tom taught with Rob and even though it was a Protestant bible study, Fr. Tom eventually brought Catholicism into the group. A veracious reader and writer, he enjoyed a good debate on a variety of topics.
Fr. Tom was ordained a priest on May 14, 1980, for the Archdiocese of Chicago and served as associate pastor at Our Lady of the Wayside Parish in Arlington Heights until 1987. From 1987-1992 he was an associate pastor at St. Damian Parish in Oak Forest and from 1992-present he was a resident at St. Peter Parish in Skokie.
He was a former Director of the Office of Ecumenism, Office of Human Relations and Ecumenism, Vicar of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the Archdiocese of Chicago. At the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, he was a faculty member since 2000 and also served as Provost from 2000-2011 and from 2019-present. He was also Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs from 2011-2019.
He earned his A.Sc from Butler University in 1974, A.B. from Butler University in 1976, S.T.B. from University of St. Mary of the Lake (magna cum laude) 1978, M.Div. University of Saint Mary of the Lake (summa cum laude) 1980, S.T.L. University of Saint Mary of the Lake (summa cum laude) 1988, M.B.A. Templeton/The Theological College of the Bahamas 1995, S.T.D Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome/Angelicum 2000. Fr. Tom also studied at the Kellogg School of Management 2010-2011, University of Oxford 2005-2006 and Benedictine University 1971-1972.
He is survived by his loving sister Judith (Robert) Sassetti, his nephews Stephen Sassetti, Christopher (Carter Pratt) Sassetti, great niece Olivia and great nephew Gray. He was preceded in death by his parents Thomas and Emily “Mary” (nee Collins) Baima.
Visitation Friday, April 29, from 4-8 PM at St. Peter Catholic Church, 8100 Niles Center Rd. Skokie, IL and from 9-10:30 AM Saturday April 30, at The University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, Chapel of the Immaculate Conception. Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 11 AM with Cardinal Blase Cupich the main Celebrant. Interment will follow in Saint Mary of the Lake Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, 1000 E. Maple Ave. Mundelein, IL, 60060, or visit www.usml.edu/give or call 847-970-4816.