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Helga Gertrude Hart

helga hart

May 30, 1924 ~ August 21, 2014

On August 21, 2014, at 2:55 a.m., Helga Gertrud (Spickschen) Hart, died peacefully in her sleep in Springfield, VA, not long after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

She was born in Bonkow, Germany (Pommerania) on May 30, 1924 to Erich Spickschen and Gerda Ursula Dietrich. They bought a farm in East Prussia near KA�nigsberg (called Kaliningrad after the war when the area became part of the Soviet Union). Over the next 19 years, there were 7 more siblings, one of whom died in infancy. Helga and her sister Karen (Hasi), older than their brothers and sisters by a decade, practically raised them, as their parents had to work so hard after the war to provide for the family. The two, affectionately known as the Valkyries, were renowned for their beauty, strength and incredible work ethic.

On January 27, 1945, the Spickschen family had to flee their farm in Woydiethen as the Russians were advancing on them. Helga carried her baby sister in a knapsack on her front, and the family silver on her back. Hasi carried the photos and important papers and every member of the family carried food. They went to the harbor in Pillau to find a boat to escape on. The family (minus their father Erich), tried and failed to board the passenger liner Gustloff, a fortunate turn of events for them because the ship was sunk. They ended up getting on a tiny sub chaser and landed in Gotenhafen. From there, their mother Ursula used contacts to get them to a farm in Bleckenstedt (West Germany), where they found safety and work.

On June 2, 1949, Helga married Hubertus von Eller Eberstein and had a son Christian in 1950. A short time later, Hubertus was killed in a roadside accident and Helga moved back to Dannenfels to be with her family. She met Frank C. Hart while he was stationed there. It was love at first sight when Helga saw Frank playing with her small son. They married on March 15, 1952 and added Frank, Erich and Karen to the family while moving around the world with the Air Force. Helga was often a single parent as Frank went on frequent TDYs and deployments to places such as North Africa and Vietnam. She worked in many jobs to supplement the family's income, including as a Civil Service library technician.

Helga was the rock and eventual matriarch of both the Spickschen and Hart families. She was exceptional for her kindness, love of family, and above all, her generosity. If you admired anything of hers, she would likely try to give it to you, or you would later find it in your birthday package.

She was able to see almost all her loved ones, on both sides of the Atlantic, shortly before she died, which was a great comfort. In her last few days, she called her children into her room and asked them to promise to stay close as a family. We know she meant not only her children, but the extended family in the US and Germany.

She is survived by 4 siblings, her 4 children, their spouses and 6 grandchildren. Her husband, Frank, died earlier in the year, on February 1, 2014.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Helga Hart to ECHO (Ecumenical Community Helping Others). Please make your check payable to:
ECHO, Inc.
7205 Old Keene Mill Road
Springfield, VA 22150

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