Obituaries » Elfriede M. Hasse
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April 27, 2019
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Elfriede M. Hasse died on April 27, 2019 at the age of 95. She departed this life as she lived it: with style. A gifted storyteller, Elfriede knew how to create magic with her words. She knew how to create magic with her actions, too, delighting friends and family with her hospitality, her knowledge of history, and her love of the natural world. It is hardly a surprise, then, that there was a hint of magic at work when she died shortly after having been the guest of honor at a joyful celebration of her 95th birthday. She couldn’t have chosen a better last page for her own story if she had planned it.
Elfriede grew up in Austria where she learned a love of opera and the waltz and experienced first-hand the ravages of World War II. Happily, she won the attention of a German-speaking American soldier, Karl Hasse, who married her and brought her back as a war-bride to his home in Reading, Pennsylvania. Though she barely spoke English at the time, she adapted quickly to her new country and its ways.
As a result of Karl’s career with Western Auto Supply Company, Karl and Elfriede lived in a variety of places including Norton, Massachusetts and Richmond, Virginia, but their favorite place to be by far was the coast of Maine, where Elfriede spent over fifty summers baking blueberry pies, sitting by the shore, and watching the squirrels and raccoons that visited her feeder.
Elfriede and Karl were happily married for 43 years. When Karl passed away in 1990, Elfriede moved to Lynchburg, Virginia where she loved driving to the Peaks of Otter and taking walks along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
For most of her life, Elfriede seemed able to fit more into a day than should be possible. She was an avid reader with interests in a variety of subjects including Carl Jung, quantum physics, literature, the stock market, and politics. She loved hosting parties and fostering thoughtful conversation. She also adored animals, and every pet she owned, whether cat, dog or parakeet, was well-loved.
Elfriede’s proudest achievement was raising her daughter, Heidi. She also loved sipping bourbon with her son-in-law, Dan, on Sunday afternoons, while they discussed the state of the world together. She poured love and good cooking on her grandchildren, Kristin and Eric, and in her last years she was delighted whenever she had the opportunity to spend time with her great-granddaughter, Evelyn.
Elfriede faced growing difficulties, particularly when macular degeneration took away her vision and hearing loss made conversations more difficult, but she was sustained by her loving family and by her belief in a compassionate God at work in the world around her. She often shared with others her firm conviction that death is not the end of a person’s story at all but a new beginning, and she looked joyfully toward her next chapter and the prospect of going to be with God and with her beloved husband again. To those who visited her in recent years, she’d say, “I am ready to go home.” The manner of her departing showed that was so.
Elfriede is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Heidi and Dan Lang; her grandchildren, Kristin (Charles) and Eric, and great-granddaughter, Evelyn. Many thanks to her sitters Ethel, Yvonne, Gini and Marva who made it possible for her to live her last years happily at Valley View Retirement Community.
A memorial service celebrating the life of Elfriede will be held Friday, May 24 at 3 p.m. in the Snidow Chapel at the University of Lynchburg. Her ashes will be buried this summer in Gouldsboro, Maine. In lieu of flowers please consider contributions in her memory to Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway (P.O.Box 20986, Roanoke, VA 24018) or to Doctors Without Borders.
Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg, is assisting the family.