Obituary: Estelle Hartman, 87, Was Skilled Baker Who 'Refused to be Pigeonholed'

Estelle Marie Hartmann died on Sunday at Wingate Nursing Home in Sudbury.

Estelle Marie Hartmann, 87. Photo: Legacy.com
Estelle Marie Hartmann, 87. Photo: Legacy.com
The following is an obituary courtesy of Legacy.com.

Estelle Marie Hartmann died Sunday afternoon, April 27, 2014, at Wingate nursing home in Sudbury, Mass. She departed with loved ones at her side and the same irascible spirit that characterized her remarkable life. She was 87, although she'd prefer that no one know that. 

Born in Elizabeth, N.J., Estelle hit the gate running, entering Columbia University and emerging a nurse. Her decades-long career encompassed everything from pediatrics (when she helmed a wing at St. Elizabeth's Hospital) to geriatrics (at a New Brunswick, N.J., nursing home), and then ending her nursing career at Freehold Hospital.

Along the way, she met the love of her life, Henry "Hank" Hartmann, who swept her off her feet and within months down the aisle in 1958. They had four children who never tired of hearing the story of their courtship. 

Estelle refused to be pigeonholed. She was a mom who adored her children, all the while maintaining a career tending to those in need. Giving back to the community became a way of life, whether it was with the League of Women Voters, Welcome Wagon or her kids' PTAs.

She was a skilled baker who created what was widely considered the World's Greatest Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, but she could also take scraps, a few spices and expired canned goods and turn them into a gourmet meal. She was a Jersey girl at heart, but after two subsequent moves, she gleefully created a new life for herself in Atlanta and Dover, Del.

Artful to the core, she painted lovely landscapes (which she sold for $2 each at a garage sale, much to the chagrin of her kids), cross-stitched ridiculously complicated designs and sewed myriad dresses for her granddaughter and her doll.

She lost herself in good books, bridge, contract gin and board games, teaching her grandchildren the agony of defeat by trouncing them in Trouble. She loved to laugh at herself, could tell a ribald joke with the best of 'em, lived for her son's high school football games and demanded silence during "Jeopardy!" 

Estelle was predeceased by Hank, who passed away in 2004; her son, Frank, who died in 1995; and her two brothers, John and Dan. She is survived by three children: John Hartmann of Braintree, Mass.; Janet Deiner of Union City, N.J., and her husband, John; and Barbara Evans of Chesapeake, Va. In addition, she leaves behind three grandchildren, Christopher, Jessica, and Kyle. 

A graveside service will be held at St. Gertrude Cemetery in Colonia, N.J., at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 3. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.


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