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Hartman always faithful to God, family and nation

A Life Remembered

A Life Remembered

November 11, 2007|By MARLO BARNHART

Editor's note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail publishes "A Life Remembered." This continuing series takes a look back - through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others - at a member of the community who died recently. Today's "A Life Remembered" is about Paul Edwin Hartman, who died Oct. 31 at the age of 76. His obituary was published in the Nov. 2 edition of The Herald-Mail.

Paul Hartman's only son, Randall, spoke of his late father's lead characteristic in a tribute at the Nov. 5 funeral. Hands down, Randall said, it was his faithfulness in all things.

"He was faithful to God, his parents, my mother, our country and to me," Randall said in those remarks.

Those who knew Paul well often were struck by his deceptively quiet demeanor, which masked a virtual dynamo of activity as he worked behind the scenes to get things done - in his personal, professional and community life.

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"Paul was diligent in what he did ... he kept after things," longtime friend Harry "Bud" Barger said. Both men contributed much of their time to Hagerstown Grace Brethren Church and The Salvation Army.

When the church was without a pastor for about 18 months, Paul stepped in administratively and "took the bull by the horns," Harry said, illustrating his point about Paul.

Born in Franklin County, Pa., Paul got to know his future wife, Alice, on his milk route, which included deliveries to her family. They also went to school together in those early days.

Married in the fall of 1953, Paul and Alice spent time after his military service in Staunton, Va. There, Paul started a collection agency business.

They came to Hagerstown, where Paul founded Valley Credit Service and served as its president.

"I remember J.J. Newberry and Washington County Hospital were two of his big clients," Randall said.

Immediately, both Paul and Alice got involved in their adopted community. Church and civic activities took up a lot of time, but family still came first with Paul.

"He was around for me," Randall said. "I remember how he got up very early and worked very hard, but was always home for dinner."

Randall said his father and mother were there for his piano recitals and other efforts.

And that continued when Randall grew up and married Joni King. Together, they have three daughters.

"In March, Mom and Dad traveled to Florida to see our oldest daughter, Beth Anne, play softball on her Washington College team," Randall said.

Beth Anne Hartman Dunphy was married in June, and it was the last time the whole family was together for a family event, Randall said. Also present were Paul's other granddaughters, Sarah and Rebecca Hartman.

For Joni, the marriage of her oldest daughter brought back memories of her own wedding years ago.

"When we told them we were getting married, Paul and Alice said 'hooray,'" she said.

On the day she married Randall, Joni said Paul took her aside and insisted she call him and his wife "mom and pop" from then on.

Paul was there for his son when Randall was launching his own business career after graduating from the University of Virginia with a degree in accounting.

"There were lots of long phone calls - Dad taught me a lot from the school of hard knocks," Randall said.

With his business, family and church, Paul still found time to be a life member of the Hagerstown Kiwanis Club and work in the thrift store at The Salvation Army.

For the past five years, Paul and Alice called Homewood Retirement Village in Williamsport their home and they loved it, Randall said.

"They got involved in things here, too," Randall said.

In her remarks at the service for her "Pap," Beth Anne spoke of how many lives he touched "by caring for them, by loving them and by faithfully serving in any way he could."

Humorously, she shared that many of her memories of Pap centered around food. An early trip to a Baltimore Orioles game was punctuated by the hot dog, cotton candy, ice cream and popcorn he bought for his then 5-year-old granddaughter.

"Pap knew his pies - lemon meringue, key lime and best of all, shoo fly pie," Beth said. "He'd have a little bite of each so he would have room to go back for seconds."

Paul lived his life similarly, always tasting of life, but ready to go back for more of what life had in store for him and others.

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