Carla Jane Hasenritter, daughter of the late Elbert and Ruby (Mumbrauer) Hasenritter, formerly of Hermann, passed from this world on Wednesday March 18, 2020. Carla’s life was defined by the way she embraced life’s opportunities with enthusiasm, determination, courage and a wry humor. To the very end, she faced challenges head-on, defied expectations and maintained a rare degree of stoicism.
Carla’s Hermann roots ran deep. She was the granddaughter of Charles and Amanda Mumbrauer who ran the Mumbrauer Studio in Hermann for more than 60 years, and Julius and Lena (Kimmel) Hasenritter. Julius was a jeweler in Hermann in the early 20th century; Flora, a milliner and dressmaker.
Born in St. Louis in 1934, at less than 2 pounds, with multiple health challenges, she began defying odds from the very beginning. Before moving to Pennsylvania with her family in 1948, Carla had been in nine different schools in five states and seven cities, including three “stints” at Hermann Elementary during the early 1940’s. She graduated with honors from Haverford High School in Havertown, PA near the top of her class, then went to Dickinson College in Carlisle PA, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1956. Carla was Dickinson’s first Fullbright Fellow, and studied French Literature and Culture at the University of Rennes in Normandy, France. She returned to the US and embarked on a teaching career in French, first in Selbyville, Delaware, and then with her new Masters of French Literature degree from the University of Pennsyvania, began teaching French at Tredyffrin-Easttown Junior High (now middle school), in Berwyn, PA. Thirty-one years, and thousands of students later, she retired from T-E, forever to leave her mark as someone who taught more than French, but also strength of character and determination. She put all of her energies into her teaching and her students. Many parents, students and colleagues remained her friends for life.
Carla traveled extensively for most of her life, both alone and with family and friends- and often remarked that there were only two states she had not at least passed through- Alaska & Hawaii. Not surprisingly, France always remained her favorite destination. In her retirement, she was an active volunteer at the Haverford Township (PA) Library and a loyal and supportive member of St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in Llanerch, PA, as well as their Pairs and Spears group.
After having lived alone in a large house in Havertown, PA for more than a decade after the death of the parents, in 2003 Carla made the move to Dunwoody Village Retirement Community in Newtown Square, PA where she worked in the library, on the staff of Inside Dunwoody, and participated in the French Table, a French-speaking dining group. The term “avid reader” was for her an understatement, and she frequently led book discussions and provided book reviews for her fellow residents.
She died at 85, amazed at her own longevity, despite a lifetime of health issues. Always stoic, she reflected her German heritage well. She cared about people, especially those less noticed. She treasured her friends and her family above all.
Carla is survived by her sister, Ellen Packard-Wilcox (Dwight), of Highland, MD, nephew Matthew Packard (Lynda) of Damascus, MD, nieces Pamala Packard Coleman of West Chester, PA, and Kristin Packard Noyes (Scott) of silver Spring, Maryland, two grandnephews, and five grandnieces, and several Kimmel/Orchsner cousins.
Carla’s last act was to donate her body to science, supporting her lifetime belief that seeking knowledge, pursuing formal education, and giving to others was a basic requirement of being human.
She will be memorialized at a date when people can gather to celebrate a life well-lived.