Henrietta Hart died February 11, 2015, at the age of 101. She was born September 27, 1913, in rural Indiana, fourth child of Anna and Henry Bonifas. Henrietta’s father died before her birth. Her mother, the “widow lady” Anna, was left to raise four children well before Social Security. She took in wash, worked in the church, gardened, and did what she could to keep the family intact. Henrietta recalled the terrible week when the four young children hovered over their mother bedridden with influenza during the great flu epidemic.
In 1919 Anna married Henry Wenning, a widower with four children of his own. This marriage would bring three more children to the growing household who settled in Coldwater, Ohio. Henrietta outlived every one of them, all ten brothers and sisters.
A young egg delivery man from Burkettsville, OH, captured her heart. She married Henry Hart in 1933 and they settled on a farm near Versailles, where they raised five children. A true pioneer woman, Henrietta cooked meals from scratch, tended a big vegetable garden, canned its produce, sewed clothing from feed sacks. The depression demanded ingenuity and hard work. In addition to the gardens, she shared in harvesting wild mushrooms, gathering berries, nuts, and wild field greens. She never refused a meal to a “hungry tramp” desperate for food.
Henrietta became a driving force in later years when the Hart Poultry Farm was a thriving enterprise. She learned to diagnose diseases and would not hesitate to dissect a sick chicken to find the cause of death. Her manual dexterity and strength from gathering eggs served her well in recovery from a bad fall. Her doctor had predicted permanent loss of motion in one hand. She was so pleased to prove otherwise!
Henrietta was denied the opportunity to pursue higher education, due to family finances. Nevertheless, she and Henry made sure all their children achieved post-secondary degrees. All report cards were scrutinized carefully at home during the early years.
When the family suffered the tragic loss of daughter-in-law Teresa Bulcher Hart, she became a second mother to son Dan’s four young children, including Cynthia who was seriously impaired from an auto accident. Later Henrietta suffered her own serious injuries from an auto accident that took the life of her husband in 1975. Throughout these setbacks, she kept her determination and resolve. She took great pleasure in her role as grandmother. She loved playing cards, fishing, and travelling. Even in her mid-eighties, she would set a brisk pace for a 4-mile “walk around the block.”
Son Dan, who lived next door, took responsibility for her care and well-being throughout the years after Henry’s death. Cooking, shopping, overseeing finances and orchestrating medical care – he did it all for many years. Near the end, Henrietta’s devoted caretaker and Hospice of Greenville provided invaluable service.
Henrietta will be cherished and remembered as a hard-working, generous, devoted wife, mother and grandmother who upheld traditional family values.
She is survived by five children: Tom (Yvonne) Hart of Waynesville, NC; Dan (Barbara) Hart of Versailles, OH; Jim (Carol) Hart of Bradford, OH; Dale (Dianne) Hart of Rochester, NY; Janet (Vernon) Bulcher of Evansville, IN; 18 grandchildren; 28 great grandchildren; 9 great great grandchildren.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday February 14, 2015 at 10:30 AM at St. Denis Catholic Church 14 East Wood Street Versailles, Ohio with Rev. Fr. Jim Simons Celebrant. Burial will follow in St. Valbert Cemetery. Family will receive friends from 5:00 PM to 7:00 Pm on Friday February 13, 2015 and from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM on Saturday at Bailey Zechar Funeral Home, Versailles, Ohio. Memorial contributions may be made to State of the Heart Hospice.
Condolences for the family may be sent to www.zecharbailey.com