Patricia "Pat"'s Story

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Patricia “Pat” Harmeling, 96, devoted wife and mother of seven and community volunteer, died peacefully on Tuesday, July 18, 2017. She was married to the late Henry “Hank” Harmeling, Jr. for 70 years. Pat was a woman of extraordinary character and grace, known for her marvelous sense of humor, unending loyalty to her vast array of family and friends and devotion to her Catholic faith.
Born in Washington, D.C. on February 17, 1921, she was the daughter of the late Helen O’Rourke Hanson and Evan Greenwood Hanson, a U.S. Navy officer. She moved often with her family during her early childhood and attended Catholic boarding schools from age eight through high school. She later studied at George Washington University. Pat was an avid reader throughout her life and loved keeping up with current events, especially politics.
On May 30, 1942, Pat married 2nd Lieutenant Henry Harmeling, Jr., who had just graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. They embarked upon a life of travel, adventure, and service to country and community. Throughout their seven decades together, Pat had a knack for making life’s difficulties look easy and taking crises in stride. When Hank was a prisoner of war of the Germans during World War II, Pat relied on her faith and friends while learning to accept the situation. After the war, the Harmeling family moved frequently; Pat managed a growing brood in Oklahoma while Hank served in the Korean War. She always viewed these moves less as a chore and more as an adventure. Pat’s mother died suddenly at age 50, while Pat was pregnant with her third child. Once again, Pat persevered amidst her sadness, displaying her trademark grace under pressure.
The family also lived overseas in Germany and Okinawa. As an Army wife, Pat’s greatest achievements were raising her seven children to become thriving adults and helping Hank attain the rank of Lt. Col. before he retired in 1962.
When the Harmelings moved to Beverly in 1965, Pat became active in St. Mary Star of the Sea parish. When the parish school faced closure, Pat served on the committee that persuaded the diocese to allow the school to remain open. Because of her persistence and leadership, the school went on to serve children in Catholic education for 44 years. Among her many volunteer activities, Pat’s passion was “Birthright,” an organization devoted to supporting women throughout their unplanned pregnancies. Pat volunteered at Birthright in Beverly for 25 years.
Like her mother before her, Pat loved to make friends with people working within the community. She formed friendships with store clerks, waiters, mechanics, and carpenters. Pat followed many of their lives and frequently bought presents for them, celebrating weddings, new babies, or special birthdays. For many in Beverly and beyond, the Harmeling Christmas Eve party at their Montserrat Road home was not to be missed. Pat loved people.
In her later years, Pat enjoyed traveling and celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and family reunions. On their 50th wedding anniversary, her husband Hank said of Pat, “I love Pat so much! She is the glue that keeps our large family together. She calls each of our seven children several times each week and cares so much about the details of each of their lives.” Her family, friends, and community will all mourn Pat’s passing. She touched many lives in her 96 years and left a legacy of faith, integrity, commitment, love and a joy of living.
Pat is survived by her loving children, Hope Harmeling Benne of Beverly, Henry “Dutch” Harmeling III of Encinitas, Calif., John Harmeling of Plantation, Fla., Mark Harmeling of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Peter Harmeling of Rockport, Laurie Harmeling McDonough of Beverly, and Susan Harmeling of Washington D.C.; 17 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by both her husband and her brother, Evan Hanson.
Her funeral Mass will be celebrated on Monday in St. Mary Star of the Sea church, 253 Cabot St., Beverly at 12 noon. Reception to follow. Visiting hours will be held on Sunday in the Campbell Funeral Home, 525 Cabot Street, Beverly from 2 to 4 p.m. Relatives and friends are cordially invited to attend. A private burial is planned in West Point, New York.
In lieu of flowers, you may donate to Birth Right, 78 Broadway, Taunton, MA 02780. Directions, information and condolences at www.campbellfuneral.com.
Published on  July 20, 2017
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