Kalbermatter, Romualdo (1908–1997)

By Daniel Oscar Plenc

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Daniel Oscar Plenc, Th.D. (River Plate Adventist University, Entre Ríos, Argentina), currently works as a theology professor and director of the White Research Center at the River Plate Adventist University. He worked as a district pastor for twelve years. He is married to Lissie Ziegler and has three children.

First Published: January 29, 2020

Romualdo Kalbermatter was a descendant of one of the first Adventist families in Argentina, administrator of medical institutions in Church fields, and pioneer of an Adventist Sanitarium in the north of Argentina.1

He was born on June 21, 1908, in Colonia Portugalete, San Cristóbal District Santa Fe Province, Argentina, to an immigrant Swiss family. His grandfather, Luis Kalbermatter (1851-1922), with his wife Ana María Stoffel (1856-1933), first settled in Colonia Santa María and a few years later founded Colonia Portugalete, dedicated to agriculture and livestock.2 They had twelve children: Juan, Ignacio, Angelberto, José, Pedro, Félix, Luis, Vicente, Roque, Paulina, Josefina, and Emilio. Two of them, Ignacio and Pedro, were pastors and Adventist missionaries.3

In 1895 Luis Kalbermatter purchased a copy of the book The Great Controversy by Ellen G. White, from the Adventist canvasser Daniel Weiss. Two years later Pastor Frank H. Westphal (1858-1944), accompanied by the young Luis Ernst (1874-1952), instructed the family and baptized the father and some children in a little water. José Luis Kalbermatter (1883-1965), the fourth son of Luis and Ana María, married Lucía Arn Gouchat (1888-1980); he was the father of Romualdo Kalbermatter. His other children were: Jeremías, Esteban, Nelson, Leonor, and Benito. Willing to educate them at River Plate Academy, Entre Ríos Province, they decided to leave the San Cristóbal nearby fields, Santa Fe Province, to live near the academy on a property that they bought from Pastor Godofredo Block.

Romualdo was baptized in 1922 in a stream that ran near his house. When he finished his Commercial Course studies at River Plate Academy (1926), his graduating class adopted the motto “faith, hope, and love,” taken from the text of 1 Corinthians 13:13, words that inspired his life and work.

Romualdo Kalbermatter began his service within the Adventist work as an accountant assistant at the River Plate Sanitarium (1926-1933) and had administrative tasks at River Plate Academy (1935-1936) while finishing the fifth and sixth grades that had been added to the school program.4 On May 19, 1937 he married Dora Esther Daliesi (1915-2010), a selfless partner and permanent source of support. Dora was born on May 1s 1915, in Las Tunas, Santa Fe, Argentina. Her parents were Edmundo Alberto Daliesi and Kathy Schroeder. She was baptized in November 1933, in Puiggari, Entre Ríos, Argentina. She studied until the fifth grade at River Plate Academy, Entre Ríos, Argentina. Dora and Romualdo Kalbermatter had four children: Dennis Marcelo, Carlos Víctor, Nilvia Febe, and Yolanda Inés.

In the following 18 years, Romualdo served as office and treasury assistant at the Central Argentine Conference (1937-1945) and as treasurer-secretary of the North Argentina Mission (1945-1954). He went on to medical work administration as manager of the River Plate Sanitarium, Entre Ríos, Argentina (1954-1965). Kalbermatter and the president of the sanitarium, Dr. Marcelo Hammerly, were instruments of growth and development for the institution.

Kalbermatter had worked for 40 years when the board of directors of the Austral Union Conference (Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay), chaired by pastor Héctor J. Peverini, commissioned him to create and build an Adventist sanitarium near Leandro N. Alem, Misiones province, in northeastern Argentina. The hard-working missionary successfully carried out that huge challenge. He retired on July 1, 1968 at the age of 60, serving 41 years and 8 months. Once retired, he continued to work on the sanitarium project. The Northeast Argentine Sanitarium (SANA) was completed in six years of sacrificial work and inaugurated in 1972. Romualdo continued working in the administration of the sanitarium for many years and kept in permanent contact with many founding partners who contributed to the project. He was considered the patriarch of that institution and an inspiration to the students and teachers in the neighborhood of North Argentine Academy (currently Misiones Adventist Academy). He was an active member of the church, elder, treasurer, and president of the temple construction commission. Romualdo Kalbermatter died on December 18, 1997 in Libertador San Martín, Entre Ríos.

Romualdo Kalbermatter's life of service testifies to the value of the Adventist message and the benefits of Christian education. Like so many other members of that family, he dedicated his time and heart to the development and growth of the Church that his grandparents had known. His task as an administrator of the Church and its institutions shows the importance of this branch of service in favor of the advancement of the evangelizing mission entrusted by the Lord to His disciples.

Sources

La voz del colegio [The voice of the Academy]. Puiggari, Entre Ríos: November 1936.

Mayr, Werner. “Romualdo Kalbermatter: ¡Esperanza, fe y amor!” [Hope, Faith and Love]. Revista Adventista [Adventist Review], year 96, n° 7, July 1996.

Nestares, Daniel. “Descansan en el Señor” [They rest in the Lord]. Revista Adventista [Adventist Review], year 98, n° 8, August 1998.

Plenc, Daniel Oscar. 25 Historias de misioneros [25 Stories of Missionaries]. Buenos Aires: South American Spanish Publishing House, 2013.

Plenc, Daniel Oscar, Silvia Scholtus, Eugenio Di Dionisio, Sergio Becerra. Misioneros fundacionales del adventismo sudamericano [Pioneer missionaries of South American Division]. 3rd ed. Libertador San Martín, Entre Ríos: Editorial Universidad Adventista del Plata, 2012.

Westphal, Carlos E. “Necrología” [Obituary]. La Revista Adventista [Adventist Review], year 33, n° 15, July 17, 1933.

Notes

  1. Werner Mayr, “Romualdo Kalbermatter: ¡Esperanza, fe y amor!” [Hope, Faith and Love!], Revista Adventista [Adventist Review], year 96, n° 7, July 1996, 30. Daniel Oscar Plenc, 25 Historias de misioneros [25 Stories of Missionaries] (Buenos Aires: South American Spanish Publishing House, 2013), 123-127. Daniel Nestares, “Descansan en el Señor” [They rest in the Lord], Revista Adventista [Adventist Review], year 98, n° 8, August 1998, 31. Necrology gives slightly different dates for the birth (June 18, 1908) and death of Romualdo Kalbermatter (December 16, 1997). Information corroborated with file 774 of the former Austral Union Conference, existing in the archives of the Argentine Union, accessed on April 9, 2018.

  2. Ana María Stoffel de Kalbermatter was daughter of Luis Stoffel and María Kretto; she was born in Valais, Switzerland, on December 25, 1853, emigrated to Argentina at the age of eight and settled with her family in Humboldt, Santa Fe. She died on May 14, 1933, and was buried in Puiggari, Entre Ríos. See: Carlos E. Westphal, “Necrología” [Obituary], La Revista Adventista [Adventist Review], year 33, n° 15, July 17, 1933, 15.

  3. Daniel Oscar Plenc, Silvia Scholtus, Eugenio Di Dionisio, Sergio Becerra, en Misioneros fundacionales del adventismo sudamericano [Pioneer missionaries of South American Adventism], 3rd ed. (Libertador San Martín, Entre Ríos: Editorial River Plate Adventist University, 2012), 177-192.

  4. La voz del colegio [The voice of the Academy] (Puiggari, Entre Ríos: November 1936), 12, 13.

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Plenc, Daniel Oscar. "Kalbermatter, Romualdo (1908–1997)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Accessed June 13, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=CGJQ.

Plenc, Daniel Oscar. "Kalbermatter, Romualdo (1908–1997)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Date of access June 13, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=CGJQ.

Plenc, Daniel Oscar (2020, January 29). Kalbermatter, Romualdo (1908–1997). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 13, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=CGJQ.