William Sadlier Dinger, who served for more than 25 years as president of Manhattan-based publisher William H. Sadlier Inc., died Nov. 11 at his home in Manhattan. He was 77.
He and his brother, Frank Sadlier Dinger, who served as company chairman, shared a deep Catholic faith and worked for more than 50 years to develop materials that educators and catechists would use to teach and hand on the faith to young people.
Professional colleagues recalled Dinger, known for his devotion to the Catholic faith, which was enriched by serving catechists. Rosemary Calicchio, who was executive vice president for publishing at Sadlier for 15 years before her retirement, called Dinger “a good a faithful servant” of God.
“His energy and dedication to catechists was never ending,” Ms. Calicchio told Catholic News Service. “He personally worked with catechists and authors to craft programs for systematic catechesis. He attended conferences and myriad meetings to uncover the program needs of catechists and children.”
Dinger, who grew up in Searington, joined the family-run company in 1963 as a sales representative after graduating from the University of Notre Dame and rose through the ranks of the publishing house to become president in 1991. He became president emeritus and special adviser to the company in 2017.
Brother Frank joined Sadlier in 1964 after completing a stint in the U.S. Army and later became chairman. Their father, F. Sadlier Dinger, was chairman of the board when the brothers joined the firm.
The brothers are direct descendants of Denis and James Sadlier, Irish immigrants who in 1832 founded the religious publishing business. The company today is named for the brothers’ great-grandfather, William H. Sadlier.
A company biography explained that when Dinger became president, he expanded the company’s product line and added resources in phonics and grammar. He maintained close ties with the Latino catechetical community throughout his career and spearheaded an effort to develop bilingual materials for students who spoke Spanish to meet a growing need throughout the Church in the United States.
In 2009, Dinger and his brother received the National Catholic Educational Association’s St. Elizabeth Ann Seton President’s Award. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Catholic Publishers in 2014.
Last year, the Dingers were honored with the archdiocesan Catechetical Office’s Good Shepherd Award for leading Sadlier “in providing exactly what youngsters and their families need.”
Dinger served on the Dean’s Advisory Board of Mercy College. He was a member of the Task Force for the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools and the Steering Committee for the Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative.
He also was active in collaborative efforts in New York City, arranging for disabled children from the Manhattan Occupational Training Center to work in the company’s office. Sadlier also had worked with the Cristo Rey New York High School work-study program since 2004.
Dinger was a member of the Knights of Malta, volunteering as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan.
In 2013, officials at the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family sought Dinger’s assistance in publishing in English Pope Francis’ teachings on the family, which later served as foundational documents for the 2014 Synod of Bishops on the family.
He is survived by his wife, Maureen, sons William Sadlier Dinger Jr. and Michael Sadlier Dinger, and four grandchildren.
A Funeral Mass was offered Nov. 16 at St. Ignatius Loyola Church in Manhattan. Burial was in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne.—CNS