OBITUARY

Hermann Herm Haertel

May 1, 1931May 25, 2011

Hermann Haertel, beloved father, grandfather and brother passed away on May 25, 2011 in San Antonio, TX. The son of Hermann and Elisabeth (Sieck) Haertel, formerly of Hannover, Germany, he was born in Staten Island, NY on the day the Empire State Building opened - May 1, 1931. It was also the day the Bayonne Bridge was completed and opened to the public. Herm’s father and sisters walked across to New Jersey and back to celebrate the arrival of their baby boy. In the family tradition, he was confirmed in German at Trinity Lutheran Church, where his mother ran the German-speaking Sunday School. The Haertels were a musical family; Herm took violin lessons and sang in the Church Choir with his sisters, often performing solos, duets and trios. As a young man Herm enjoyed participating in the Boy Scouts. During his high school summers he worked in rural Vermont through the Volunteer Land Corps organized by famed journalist Dorothy Thompson as part of the War Effort to support U.S. Agriculture. While most NY boys were placed on dairy farms, by a never-explained circumstance Herm was assigned to a mink farm run by Willie Shortsleeves, where his job was the preparation of food for the animals. He was a great storyteller all his life and his tales of the mink farm were among the most-requested. This experience also earned him the nickname "Mink" in high school. He attended Curtis High School on Staten Island, and Middlebury College in Vermont. He received his Bachelor’s of Science degree in 1975 from Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, TX. In 1950 he married his high school sweetheart Ruth Larsen, with whom he had six children. As a young husband and new father, he enlisted in the US Air Force, and during a 26-year career rose to the rank of Major as a Transport Pilot. He served on bases in New York, Texas, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma and Germany. He retired honorably in 1978. Following his military career he became very active in the San Antonio Amateur Relay Radio (Hams) and Emergency Response Teams and through these associations, volunteered in many local charitable foundations and community support operations. He traveled the world both as a pilot in the USAF and as a civilian using his perks as part-time travel agent. He is preceded in death by his parents, his wife Ruth, his sister Christa, his infant son Mark, and his son Keith. He is survived by his stepmother Veronika of OH, his sister Margret (Kolbjornsen) of NH, his brother Manfred of OH and his children Gail Airington of OK, Wendy (and Bill) Thomsen of CO, Susie (Mrs. Keith) Haertel of San Antonio, Dean (and Sidney) Haertel of Houston, and Laura (and Travis) Carpenter of Boerne, and grandchildren Richard Wymer, Jerry and Todd Airington, Michael and Sarah Haertel, Russell Smith, ten great-grandchildren and many loving nieces, nephews and friends. Herm enjoyed camping, sailing, playing the ukulele, reading, photography, air shows, teaching and entertaining. Family and friends will remember Herm as the king of one-liners and for his quick wit, wonderful sense of humor, generosity and warm soul. The Memorial Service is Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 9:00 AM at the Sunset Northwest Funeral Home and interment will follow with full military honors at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. .

Services

  • Memorial Service

    Thursday, June 2, 2011

Memories

Hermann Herm Haertel

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ART & KAY BORLAND

June 18, 2011

herm Kay and I will rember you forever and keep you in our prayers if the family needs anything the family need that we can help with just let Kay and I know and we will try to help

Senator Leticia Van de Putte

June 9, 2011

Dear Haertel Family:

Please accept my deepest sympathies on the loss of your beloved. There are never any right words to express how deeply sad I am for the pain your family is enduring at this difficult time.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs and Military Installations, I am sincerely thankful for his valiant service in defense of our rights and freedom.

His commitment to family, friends, our community, and to serving our great nation leaves a wonderful legacy. May the love and the wonderful memories you shared with him help you when you need it most. He will never be forgotten, and your family will be remembered in my prayers.

Gail, Wendy, Dean, and Laura

June 4, 2011

On behalf of the Haertel family, thank you for the cards and all your words of sympathy and condolence, whether written or spoken. Thank you for all the beautiful flowers. Thank you too, for all your acts of kindness and comfort, an arm to lean on, a shoulder to cry on, traveling to be here, offering to drive, delicious food, generous hospitality, your handshakes, hugs and kisses. We especially thank you for your presence at the services to honor our father's memory. Love to you all.

Wendy Thomsen

June 4, 2011

The service is over. The company has gone home. It's really quiet at my house right now and the tears that I held back during the preparation for the celebration of your memory are finally free to fall. I'll miss you so much, Daddy. You were a wonderful father. I'm so grateful for the all time we got to spend together, especially these past few months.

David LaRo

June 2, 2011

At the service this morning, I spoke with two of the daughters, Laura and not sure if Gail or Wendy, but I asked if someone could e-mail me a copy of the photo on the right side, in front. It was Herm's graudation photo, the only time I ever saw him with hair. What an amazing difference. The memorial service was a good experience. I appreciate all that we heard and saw of his life. Some of it was different to us. Never knew Herm was a Boy Scout. I found him an eager student when I taught him classes for his Ham Radio license testing. Carol was in that class, too, but Herm really got involved with that hobby. Put an end to the metal detecting, probably. The thing that I feel Herm left me was the memory of someone who was almost ALWAYS UP, never down. Great attitude, just a great guy. First met him in 1977 when he was in Base Ops with his "favorite" boss, Lt/Col Tom Hill. Herm called him "old Blue Eyes" and we agreed Tom should have been only a model for USAF Recruiting Poster, certainly never allowed to fly. I lost touch with him back in the days post Dennie but ran into him again in the various gymnasiums we turned out for and where we got to exchange greetings. I will miss him. David Laro, e-mail address: dlaro@satx.rr.com

June 2, 2011

I didn`t know much of Herm`s early life until the story on "Sunsets Page" Well done, thank you . I sat next to Herm for the past few years , [at Prue Road]. I do not think that Herm was that crazy about the exercises , but I know he enjoyed the class and his friends. Rest in Peace Herm----from your Silver Sneaker friends . Don & Joyce Torney

Kenneth Kinne

May 31, 2011

My condolences

fred haertel

May 31, 2011

Our lives are better for having known you hermano - you are missed

May 31, 2011

As a 58A "Second Class" living in the same barracks as our Wing Commander Hermann, life was a "joy". I have fond memories of Hermann and all the other 1st Classers who helped us along our career paths. Now, He is in the hands of God. Ray Hamilton Col (USAF Ret) Tiger Two

May 31, 2011

I have known Herm for over 6 years. Enjoyed exercising and lunching with him. Rest in peace my friend. Ruth Maxey

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