Cardinal William Wakefield Baum passed away on July 23rd. He was the longest serving American cardinal in history and Archbishop of Washington from 1973 to 1980.
Baum was born in Dallas, Texas in 1926. He was ordained a priest 24 years later and became a bishop at age 43.
After being appointed a cardinal in 1976, Baum went on to participate in the conclaves that elected Pope John Paul, Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI.
In addition to his work as Archbishop of Washington, he also spent a decade in the Roman Curia. He served as Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education from 1980 to 1990.
Baum may best be known for his longevity: He served as a cardinal for 39 years. No one else from the United States has matched that.
Initial reports indicate that Baum died after suffering from a prolonged illness.