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Henry “Hank” Hartenberger

Hank Hartenberger

Henry (Hank) Hartenberger passed away peacefully January 30th, 2018 at the age of 92, at Tatagawa View nursing home, in Weyburn Saskatchewan. He loved life, and was deeply involved in nursing, in coaching track and field and boxing, in gardening, in hunting, in helping the youth in the community, in the Legion, in his church, and in his family. Hank was born in Rovna Poland in 1926, and moved with his parents to Canada in 1927, settling in the German community farming district of Lampman-Benson-Stoughton. Dad often spoke of riding bareback on horse to school in his early childhood years. The family moved to Weyburn in 1937 after their father became ill and they lost the farm in the Great Depression. Hank was a proud South Hill boy. He not only had to learn English to go to school, but also worked hard at many jobs in cafes and in the mill to help his Mom support the family. He left school after Gr. 11 to join the military for WWII, initially with the RCAF and then the infantry. Hank always was a proud Saskatchewan Canadian! His biggest personal regret in life was that he was unable to become a pilot and be part of the team going overseas. (His birthplace was on a European border that was constantly changing or being renamed; thus birth certificate documentation couldn’t be obtained to allow him to do this.) He was an active Lifetime member of Weyburn Legion Branch #47, and at his death, was one of 4 remaining WWII vets in the community. During his military service, Hank was bitten by the sports bug, and was on his Regimental team for softball, track & field, and for boxing. He continued his involvement with sports throughout his lifetime. After his WWII discharge, Hank graduated as an RPN (Psychiatric Nurse) in 1949 at the Weyburn Mental Hospital, and worked in various capacities on the wards and in administration until he retired as a Nursing Coordinator in 1986, after 40 years of Service. During his early years at the Hospital, Hank personally boxed, and coached both boxing and track & field in the Weyburn Hospital Athletics Club. He represented Sask. as their middleweight champion at the trials for the 1956 Olympics. In January, 1955 Hank married Elizabeth (Betty) Armstrong, an RPN who had moved to Weyburn from Essondale Mental Hospital in Vancouver. If you look closely at their wedding pictures, you can spot the black eye Hank had from a bout the night before! They bought and renovated a house on Souris Ave., and relocated the “Soo Line Track and Field and Boxing Club” into the garage. Betty soon realized that being married to Hank meant being an integral part of the boxing scene!  As kids, we have fond memories of the training going on in the garage on a daily basis. In 1962, the Boxing club moved to a new home at 72 Ash Drive, along with Hank, Betty and the 3 kids. Of course, this garage was also filled with boys training, the punching and speed bags, chin up bars, equipment, and posters of all the bouts. The “after card” festivities were legendary, with coaches, friends and some of the boxers sharing chips, dip and chili, with a cold one to aid in rehashing the judgements of the night’s fights. In Jan-1957, Hank was diagnosed with TB, lost part of his lungs, and spent the year recovering in the Fort San Sanatorium in Fort Qu’Appelle SK. As he would never be able to box himself again, Dad began the plans to implement his dream of becoming the best coach he could be. Times were tough, as Betty had 1 small child, with their 2nd (Terry) being born while Hank was in the San. With his recovery, Hank returned to Nursing, had their 3rd child (Larry), and also began a 60 yr. career as a Boxing Coach with the Weyburn Soo Line Boxing Club. Hank obtained his Level 3 Certified Coach credentials. He was a National Champion Coach six times; served as Director of SABA (Sask Amateur Boxing Assoc) for over 30 years; was a Director of the CABA (Canadian Amateur Boxing Assoc); was the Sask. Coach at several Canadian Winter Games, and has been featured on the Weyburn Wall of Fame since 1997. Hank was inducted into the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991, and into the Sask. Sports Hall of Fame as a “Builder” in 1995. Dad’s mantra was that boxing was more about character building and not just winning … he felt it made boys into “better” men through the 3 D’s — DEDICATION, DETERMINATION and DISCIPLINE — one had to EARN THE RIGHT to be successful!   (Hank welcomed girls into the program in later years.) He helped the youth in the community develop skills, confidence, self-esteem, fitness, and yes — he even trained a number of medal winners too!  Hank also worked closely with the local judges and law enforcement to keep youth out of jail — they sent the kids to Dad for their “community service”, where they worked wrapping the ropes for the ring, working at bingos or boxing cards, and even helped in his garden! Apart from boxing, Hank loved his hunting, fishing and scouting with the “boys”. Many lovely photos of geese, pheasant, fish, and of deer or antelope hanging from the chin-up bars in the garage were sent to his kids over the years, together with boxing photos and clippings! He also went “bird watching” in the Souris Valley Grounds and fields around Weyburn. Hank had an amazing green thumb. He grew fruits and veggies which Betty froze and pickled. His roses and gladiolas won provincial awards. He was proud to have won his Community in Bloom awards just as much as his Boxing ones. Folk from town would make it a point to drive by 72 Ash Dr. to view the flower gardens, and the beautiful green lawn.  Hank was a man of faith and was an Elder of the Knox Presbyterian Church in Weyburn for many years. Despite showing off his voice singing gospel and Johnny Cash songs (in the car, around the house or while working in the garden with the rotor tiller), he never did volunteer to go on the Church choir! We always used to kid him about that, as he actually had a nice singing voice. Hank was also an active member of the Weyburn Masonic Lodge. Hank loved his family, his wife Betty and their children. He was a very proud Grandpa of Carrie, and son-in-law Steve, and Elizabeth’s partner Larry. Many of the “family holidays” were planned with a route near where Hank knew there would be a track and field meet or boxing card/clubs or where he could scout for new talent for the Club, much to the chagrin of Betty and the kids. He did travel to visit Elizabeth in Toronto, and to Sydney and Perth Australia to visit with Steve, Terry and Carrie in his later years. His boxing, track and military duties allowed him to see many parts of Canada. Hank would be the first to thank so many people over the decades who helped him with his nursing path, his boxing and track and field clubs, the raffles, the bingos, the boxing cards and with his family, especially when he was in the San and couldn’t. He enjoyed the companionship of the neighbours of both Souris Ave and Ash Drive. Many a special afternoon or evening was spent sitting on the front steps of “72” toasting anything that mattered!  He has many friends and relatives that have passed on before him and he cherished them, we hope their families know he was proud to be their friend too. Hank is predeceased by his parents Blondina (Kirch) Hartenberger (1991) & Carl (1957), his Step Father Gottfreid (Fred) Kullman (1998), his wife Elizabeth (Armstrong) in 2001, and his son Larry (1990). He is also predeceased by his siblings William (Willie) (1962), Frieda Kearvell (1970), Adolph (Gus) (2003), Lillian Shultz (1998); by his Mother-in-law Elizabeth (Pfeiffer) Armstrong Blair (1989);  by his brothers-in-law Marv Haglof (1998 Wisconsin), Roy Kearvell (Saskatoon), Arnold Shultz (1998 Melville ), John Armstrong (2004 Calgary);  by his sisters-in-law Mary Willey (Vancouver 2009), Eleanor Hartenberger (1998 Regina), Margaret (Maggie) Armstrong Haglof ( 1996 Wisconsin), Anita Armstrong (2013 Calgary); and by his nieces & nephews Carol Haglof (Wisconsin 1963), Barry Hartenberger (1969), Robert Kearvell (1981), Morley Hartenberger (2015). Special mention to Hazeldene Evans (2008) who was a good friend to Dad in his later years.  Also to Family pet cats Snowball & Ginger, to Tiger who patrolled the front lawn and garden with him (tail high and 10 paces back), and to his “executive garden 2nd hander” Brandy the neighbourhood Cocker Spaniel, who was also his smoking room buddy. Hank is survived by, and will be remembered always by his Daughter Elizabeth Hartenberger, her partner Larry Taylor (Toronto), Daughter Terry and son-in-law Steve Platts, Granddaughter Carrie Platts of Perth Australia, and numerous nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and their families across Canada. The Family wish to thank Staff and Dr’s from Tatagawa View, specifically House 7, who cared for Dad for the last few years of his life, BIG pat on the back. Thanks also to those who visited, sent him notes, cards and thoughts when he was a Resident there. Special mention to the Weyburn Co-op Bakery, and Brandee and team who specially decorated many amazing cakes over the last 7 years for Dad and House #7. Special mention also to Sandra Rebrinsky and Wayne Hunstead, who helped handle household maintenance and support to Dad in the years prior to entering Tatagawa View. It all meant so much to us as we couldn’t be there for him, living at a distance. It was a wonderful sendoff for our Dad.  He would have been proud. Special thanks to Tamara and her staff at Fletcher Funeral Chapel for helping us with absolutely everything. Special thanks to  the Legion Board and Members for their support;  to Sean and his team at the Legion for the organization and setup of the Hall, the Service and wonderful luncheon; to Sgt-at-Arms Dale Huff and his Honour Guard for the Last Post Ceremony; and to Marj McLeod for officiating Dad’s service. Special thanks to Erskine Sandiford, who revealed some remarkable stories about the “saint and sinner” side of Dad during his eulogy! Special thanks to Don Pokletar and his team at ProTouch Signs who helped produce some of the amazing photos and picture boards we used. And the traditional boxing “sendoff” wouldn’t have been complete without Joe Robillard ringing the bell; many thanks to George Goff from Regina Boxing Club for bringing the bell down with him. And special thanks to the Pallbearers, Morgan Williams, Don Pokletar, Don Grant, Terry Coveny, Brent Franks and Armin Roettger and Honourary Pallbearers: Steve Platts, John Ferrier, Wayne Hunstead, Red Hearn, Dr. Phillip Fong, Joe Harvey, Joe Robbillard, Gordon Liddle and Bob George – you all touched and were touched by Dad in so many different ways. He would be honoured to know that you were the ones who “brought him home”. The tributes and sharing of memories about Dad from everyone have been just amazing. To read about how Dad affected and helped so many people has been inspiring for us all! Thanks Dad. Life with you was never dull!  You nurtured us and helped US to grow. You did the best you could to be a good and better man, and to provide for your family. You were a great DAD to us and Grandpa to Carrie. YOU have certainly “earned the right to rest now”. God bless, give Mom and Larry a hug, and see you when the angels call for us. RIP. Visitation was held on Wednesday, February 7, 2018 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Fletcher Funeral Chapel and the Funeral Service was held on Thursday, February 8, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. from The Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 47, Weyburn, Saskatchewan with Marjorie McLeod, Legion Chaplain officiating. Interment followed at Hillcrest Cemetery, Weyburn, Saskatchewan. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Hank may be made to the Weyburn Youth Centre at Box 771, Weyburn, SK or online at: “The last bell has sounded in the ring for Winner and Still Champion - Hank Hartenberger”. Condolences may be left at: Arrangements entrusted to Fletcher Funeral Chapel, Weyburn, Saskatchewan, 306-842-5432.