In Memoriam: Josef Hartmann

August 16, 1933—April 3, 2017

It was the mid 1950s, (around 1956, I think) all the young girls were excited even those who had boyfriends, because Heidi Hartmann’s handsome cousin Joe was coming from Austria. (Joe was born in Kikinda, Banat, Yugoslavia and with his family in the aftermath of WWII had fled the communists and now lived with his family in Austria) Heidi had shown us photos and had talked to John and Erwin Galgon because Joe was a musician and wanted to play with their Heimatklänge Band.   This band had a new sound and even though they didn’t always play everthing as perfect as could be, we still loved them.  Joe arrived and the boys and the girls were looking forward to meeting him and hear him play with the band.

It was a Saturday night and the band was probably playing at the Karpathian Club (the Zipser Club,) near Cottman and Torresdale Aves.  That was Heimatklänge home base, but they played at many other clubs, the names which I don’t remember as many do not exist today, but I know that the “gang” traveled all over, where ever they played.  We made many new friends who also came to our club when we had an event.  Anyway, we all met Joe that night and he made many friends from all over. He was a very personable young man, was friendly and spoke to everyone with a smile. 

Joe was involved with our club as much as he could be since he played with the band almost every weekend.  He danced with the large group of Kirchweih couples in November of 1956 with his girlfriend Anna Krachtus.  Joe was soon drafted into the armed forces and spent most of his time in Colorado.  Upon his return, the couple soon were married and settled down. They lived for a while in New Jersey where Anna lived for many years and then bought a home in Philadelphia.  Soon they found out that they would be blessed with twins.  Two small girls were born to them – Monica Grace and Lisa Anne. I don’t have to go into the struggles that young parents have with one child, let alone two. Life continued for the Hartmann Family and a few year later their son Joseph Peter was born.  They brought their children to our club to join our Cultural Group and later moved to Warminster.  Their kids, Lisa and Joe are still involved in our Cultural Group and the every day workings of our club as committee members and/or chairmen. 

Their son Joe became involved with the Heimatklaenge Youth Band at a young age as he was also musically inclined as were many other members of the Hartmann Family.  Since this was the case, Joe, the father, decided he would again join the band.  He remained with the band until the senior members all retired after playing with the dance band, the brass band, and the brass ensemble.     

Skip to Sunday March 19, 2017. Those who had attended our General Membership Meeting had lunch together in the main hall – the seniors – the middle aged – and what we still call “the youth” (teenagers and older).  All disappeared into the bar room while a few seniors – Joe and Hanni Reiter, Joe and Anna Hartmann and Emily Fricker, remained in the main hall talking away for hours.  We talked about the club, our lives outside of the club, our children, our homes, our friendship and about the 107th Anniversary Banquet we would all attend next Saturday.  Little did we dream when we finally separated that we would never again see Joe Hartmann!

Joe was taken into the hospital during that week and was unable to attend the banquet.  Little did any of us dream that Joe would be gone from us in a few days. 

Josef Hartmann was survived by his wife Anna, his children Monica (Phil Simon) of Roslyn; Lisa (Werner Fricker Jr,) of Horsham, Joseph P. Hartmann (Susi Schuetz) of Philadelphia, and his six grandchildren, Werner III, Michael, Karina Fricker, Anneliese, Zachary. and Jesse Simon. Joe is also survived by his brothers, Karl and Walter, their wives and many nieces and nephews as well as cousins and friends. 

When we say someone has friends, we know that those of us who are active in a German American Club have a lot of friends, because we know a lot of people from that community.  The same way that Joe Hartmann made so many friends the first night he played with the band, he made friends all through his life. His memorial service held at the Wm. Rowen Grant Funeral Home in Southampton was attended by so many people.

His family was amazed at all who attended.  It was a great tribute to Joe Hartmann a great man, a wonderful husband, father and grandfather, and a special person to all who knew him.  We will miss your friendly greeting and handshake!!!  Farewell, Nachbar!


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