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June 2008 Calendar - Karl Hartzell

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Karl D. Hartzell, Ph. D.

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read Karl Hartzell's Memoirs, the beginning >>>



Karl Drew Hartzell, Ph.D., has had a long and distinguished career as a successful and respected professor, dean, and administrator in higher education institutions, as well as high level administrative positions at the prestigious Brookhaven National Laboratory and the New York State War Council, among others. His career is chronicled in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World.  He has lived the life of a brilliant intellectual, and continues to do so at age 102. 
        But it is not his impressive career or his many accomplishments - or even his current active lifestyle - that draws attention to him this month.  Rather, it is his greatest role in life:  that of devoted father.

      He says of his longevity: "Having children who are active and make it possible to think with them as they face their own evolving life concerns, has been a factor in the quality of my life.  My three boys and I have remained close."

      Karl was born on January 17, 1906 in Chicago, the son of a Methodist minister and his wife from Massachusetts.  Higher education was a central theme in his family.  His maternal grandfather graduated from the first class of the new Boston University Law School; his paternal grandfather graduated from Illinois Wesleyan, and as a student was among the group that first explored the headwaters of the Colorado River with John Wesley Powell, the first white man down the Colorado River.  He was a Methodist minister in New Orleans and later in Zimbabwe.  Karl's parents were also college graduates: his mother from Radcliffe in Cambridge and his father from the University of Cincinnati and from Drew Theological Seminary in New Jersey. Both sides of Karl's family were religious refugees: The Drews arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1640; the Hartzells arrived in Pennsylvania near Philadelphia around 1730.  Both families sought a better life in America and by all accounts were strikingly successful. Karl is justifiably proud of his ancestry.
      However, Karl, an only child, lost his father at the age of ten. The family had moved to Pasadena, California, and his father was in line to become a bishop in the Methodist church; Karl recalls, poignantly, that there was once a church in Pasadena named Hartzell Memorial.  He and his mother moved back to Massachusetts to live with her parents; his mother never remarried. Thus, his grandfather became the central father figure in Karl's life from then on.  Were it not for him, Karl believes he would have followed the Hartzell side of his family into the ministry, and has maintained a keen interest in the study of religion to this day. 
       But his maternal grandfather, a Boston lawyer, encouraged young Karl, who excelled at academics, to attend Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.  He graduated in 1927, Phi Beta Kappa, the only one with athletic letters. 

      Then it was on to Harvard graduate school, where he received a Ph.D. in history in 1934, and during which time he met his future wife, Anne Lomas.  It was the height of the Great Depression and Anne agreed to marry only after he secured a sufficient position to support their prospective family. The newlyweds therefore moved south, where Karl was offered an associate professorship at Georgia Tech.  So began Karl's career in higher education.
      Soon after, Karl and Anne began their family: first born son, Drew, followed four years later by twin sons, Richard and Julian.

Karl - captain of the Wesleyan University tennis team, 1925
Karl (center, bottom row) as captain of the
Wesleyan University tennis team,  1925

The family and Lassie head east to Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA, from Cornell College in Mr. Vernon, Iowa, 1956
The family and Lassie head east to Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA, from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, 1956

      Many moves followed in pursuit of Karl's career But the one constant was his "lovely family" as he describes their life.   
      In 1985, Karl lost his beloved wife, Anne, but has maintained close ties with his sons.  He remains involved in their lives and enjoys giving advice on both career and personal matters.  He visits them frequently, traveling from his retirement home in Florida to the Northeast.  "They keep me young," the active centenarian acknowledges.      
      Living independently in an active retirement community, Karl still drives and plays 18 holes of golf twice a week.  He sings in the chorus and plays bridge when he finds the time. Karl published his fourth book, "American Values: The Laws of  Living," when he was 99. 
      Karl does all of his writing on his computer, and uses email.  He credits son Drew with having introduced him to the computer "years ago."  Karl is at work now on his memoirs, encouraged by his sons.  He plans a "sabbatical" of sorts this summer, staying with his son, Dick, "so I can finish my book without distraction."

Karl at his computer

Sons Drew, Dick and Julian Hartzell
      Drew, Ph.D., from Eastman School of Music, has just retired from his professorship at SUNY Albany, and recently had his life's work  - a catalogue of manuscripts, used or produced in England prior to 1200 AD, in which were music - published in London.  Dick, M.A., from Catholic University, founded a Center for Musical Theater and teaches "voice" privately with pupils ranging in age from 8 to 65.  He is also a member of the music faculty at Goucher College in Baltimore.  His twin brother, Julian, M.A., from the University of North Carolina, is a writer in San Francisco. Karl adds:  "As you can imagine, keeping up with them keeps me alive historically, musically, and educationally."

 read more about Karl Hartzell >>>

read Karl Hartzell's Memoirs, the beginning >>>

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