Delbert (“Del”) Elias Hartman, 95, formerly of Merriam and later Fort Wayne, passed away on October 8, 2019, at Parkway Village Health Community in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Del was born in Wakarusa, on September 9, 1924. His father, John Hartman, was a minister and trained at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. His mother Lilie (Kilmer) Hartman, an artist, poet and homemaker whom he revered, passed away when he was 12. He moved to Merriam with his family when John was appointed pastor of Merriam Christian Chapel.
Del attended Wolf Lake High School where he was active in sports, especially basketball. He was a starting guard for Wolf Lake’s “Team of 42,” the Goliath-killers from a tiny school that went all the way to the Indiana statewide semi-finals in 1942. It was at Wolf Lake High School that he first met Agnes Shaffer, a cheerleader for the basketball team. Immediately upon graduation, he joined the Navy and was stationed in England throughout World War II.
After the war Del enrolled at Ball State University (where Agnes happened to be attending the Nursing School!) He quickly worked up the courage to ask her out. They were married at Merriam Christian Chapel on August 29, 1948, and were inseparable until Agnes’ death on October 24, 2010.
For over 35 years Del worked at General Electric in Fort Wayne as a draftsman and designer of enclosing systems GE’s Specialty Transformer group, serving unique customers such as NASA. He retired from General Electric in 1989.
His faith and Christian values was absolute and authentic. He was beloved in the community for his kindness, self-deprecating humor and commitment to service. He lived his life, publicly and privately, with humility and grace - placing others, in all walks of life, above himself with generosity and love. He profoundly affected many lives.
Del and Agnes were very active in their community. Seeing a need for teenage activities, they founded and, for almost 25 years, led Christian Youth Fellowship (CYF) at Merriam Chapel. Their house was constantly filled with teenagers from Wolf Lake, Albion, Churubusco, Kendallville and elsewhere who are now scattered with their families throughout the Fort Wayne area and the world. They also helped start a church, Good News Baptist, in Churubusco and worked in music, children, young marrieds, and served on the Deacon Board for a decade. Later in life, Agnes and Del joined Blackhawk Ministries in Fort Wayne where Del served in the choir, teaching, and on the Deacon Board and she in teaching 4 and 5 year olds and the Missionary Board. Agnes and Del often opened their home as hosts for visiting missionaries and they traveled to India to visit and participate in the missions they supported.
In 2014 Del moved to assisted living in Little Rock to be near children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Among his surviving relatives are his two sons Craig (Jan O’Brien) Hartman of San Francisco, and Kevin (Paula) Hartman of Little Rock; five grandchildren, Shaun (Kristin) Hartman, Joshua (Jennifer) Hartman, Christa (Justin) Adams and Travis and Kelsey Hartman; along with six great grandchildren.
In addition to his parents and his wife Agnes, Del is preceded in death by his brothers, Luther and, in childhood, Owen.
Services to celebrate the life of Delbert Hartman will take place on Friday, October 18, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. at Blackhawk Ministries, 7400 East State Street, Fort Wayne. With calling one hour prior to the service.
Family will also receive friends at the Sheets & Childs Funeral Home, Churubusco, on Thursday, October 17, 2019, from 3:00 PM until 7:00 PM.
Burial will take place at Christian Chapel Cemetery, Merriam.
In lieu of flowers, Del requested that contributions be made to the Missions Fund of Blackhawk Ministries.
Online note to the family at www.sheetsandchilds.com.
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Missions Fund of Blackhawk Ministries
7400 East State Road, Fort Wayne IN 46815