Thelma Irene Hartenbach-Hanson
Thelma Irene Hartenbach-Hanson, 98, of Traverse City, passed away Nov. 2, 2019.
Thelma was born on July 25, 1921 in Unadilla Township, Gregory, to the late Paris and Eula (Hopkins) Giltner. She started school in Brighton, where the family lived while General Motors employed her father at the proving grounds in Milford.
In 193l the family moved to Glen Lake in Leelanau County. She graduated salutatorian from the Glen Lake High School in 1940 and lettered in basketball.
She was employed at the Leelanau for Boys and Pine Brook for Girls, where she skied, hiked, and snowshoed during her high school years.
After graduation the family relocated to Traverse City. There she was the dental assistant to Dr. Austin Sheets. She attended the Lewis & Chapin Business School in Traverse City and was a receptionist at the former Weaver Funeral Home, now the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home.
On a dare from her father, she answered an ad for a gas station attendant at the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company on Front Street. She was hired as the first female gas station attendant in Traverse City, as all the men had gone to fight in World War II.
While working at Firestone's she met her future husband, Edgar Hartenbach, who had attended Case/Western Reserve in Cleveland and was transferred from Akron, Ohio, to Traverse City. They were married in 1944 until his death in 1979.
Returning to the work force in 1956, she worked for her father and mother at Bayview Orchards in Acme doing payroll for their cherry farm and running the office for their Acme Cabin and Trailer Park. In 1958 she began employment for JC Penney in the accounts payable department, where she worked until her retirement in 1991.
She joined Central United Methodist Church in 1965 and served under the Reverend Donald Scranton as recording secretary for the church council. She volunteered in the church office, was a member of the hiking club, the book club and the Service Circle Christian Fellowship.
She was selected Woman of the Year in 2003. Thelma also volunteered at the Governmental Center and was a member of the Fraternal Order of the Eastern Star.
She loved to travel and traveled all over the country after her retirement. She remarried in 2001 to Neil Hanson of Traverse City, and they traveled by Amtrak to Vancouver Island for their honeymoon but were only married for 14 months before his death.
Thelma was preceded in death by her first husband, Edgar Hartenbach; her second husband, Neil Hanson; brother, Ronald (Esther) Giltner; sister, Elizabeth (Norm) Rottler; grandson, Travis Bell; great-granddaughter, Alyssa Bell; and nephew, Van Rottler.
Thelma is survived by her daughter, Janis (Patrick) Bell; son, Gary (Criss) Hartenbach, of Traverse City; stepson, Richard Hanson; stepdaughters, Paula (Sam) Brentnall, Susan Hanson, and Becky (Jim) Peterson; grandchildren, Joe Brigham and Chad (Stacy) Brigham, Scott and Craig Hartenbach, Mikel (Michelle) Bell and Patrick (Susie) Bell; and great-grandchildren, Victor, Josie and Samantha Brigham, Maria and Christopher Bell, Riley and Raya Bell; great-great-grandchildren, Kayden and Gunner Bell; and nephew, Bill (Connie) Rottler.
Thelma's family expresses their sincere thanks to the dedicated staff of Munson Medical Center and the Palliative Care Team for attentive care and concern during their mother's recent hospitalization.
A memorial service celebrating Thelma's life for her family and church family will be held on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 at 2 p.m., in the chapel of Central United Methodist Church. Interment will follow in the church columbarium.
Memorial contributions in her honor may be directed to the Central United Methodist Church Building Fund.
Arrangements have been provided by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
Published on November 9, 2019


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Lindsey Rogers
Nov 08, 2019