February 4, 1925 ~ September 1, 2017

Born in: Decatur, Illinois,
Resided in: Asheville, North Carolina

Judith Laura Hahn died peacefully with family by her side at home in Asheville, North Carolina, on September 1, 2017. Judie, as she was known, was born in Decatur, Illinois on February 4, 1925, the fourth child of Robert and Laura Heyne, and moved with her family at the end of that same year to Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, where her father served as a Lutheran minister. Judie was a beloved wife, sister, mother, aunt, friend and “Nana.” She is survived by her husband of 71 years, Arvin William Hahn; her sister Elizabeth Ritter of Bloomington, Minnesota; and, her three children: son Timothy Hahn of Portland, Oregon, son David Hahn of Saratoga Springs, New York and daughter Linda (Hahn) Kendall Fields of Asheville, North Carolina. During her life, Judie was blessed with eight grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, as well as many nieces, nephews and friends from all over the world. A dynamic, engaging and determined whirlwind, Judie began her adult life as an elementary school teacher. Following high school in Mankato, Minnesota, Judie Heyne enrolled at Concordia Teachers College in River Forest, Illinois, where she met her husband, Arvin Hahn and was assigned to teaching positions in Omaha, Nebraska (where she was charged with teaching 50 kindergarteners) and St. John Lutheran School in Forest Park, Illinois. In 1951, Judie and Arv moved to Maywood, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), where she focused on raising their three children for 16 years before moving to Lindsborg, Kansas and assuming the responsibilities of the President’s wife at Bethany College from 1967 to 1983. Her community involvement notably included becoming Director of the Lindsborg Swedish Folk Dancers (which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013) and taking the group on tours of Sweden. Following their retirement from college life in 1983, Judie and Arvin moved to a small farm on the outskirts of Lindsborg, where they lived the quiet, rural life of wheat farmers for six years while taking time out to tour many parts of the world. Always game for a new adventure, the couple decided to move closer to family in Zionsville, Indiana (1989); Augusta, Georgia (1997); and finally Crowfields Condominiums in Asheville (2005) where they moved to be closer to daughter Linda and family. Judie Hahn’s memorial service is to be held on Saturday, September 16 at 2:00 pm at the Lutheran Church of the Nativity, 2425 Hendersonville Road, Arden, North Carolina 28704. Light refreshments will follow the service and interment of ashes. Memorial donations may be made to Lutheran Church of the Nativity (address above); Bethany College, 335 East Swensson Street, Lindsborg, Kansas 67456; or, the Lindsborg Swedish Folk Dancers, http://www.lindsborgswedishfolkdancers.org/. Call 828-712-4003 for further information.

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  1. Judie!

    Here was a force of nature, a woman unsurpassed in energy, commitment, and determination. An organizer supreme, she was ever ready with creative ideas, amazing planning skills, full-speed-ahead leadership. She was equally quick to roll up her sleeves to dive into the most tedious and tiresome, mundane tasks to get the job done! Whatever the job.

    She was an intrepid partner to Arv at all times, especially with his efforts to develop a fiscally sound Lutheran college on the Kansas plains. Together they deeply valued education, the arts, community, family and the Lutheran Church. This unwavering commitment informed their lives.

    Judie was creative and artistic. She was also fun loving and quick witted. She could mow the lawn, dust herself off, prepare a lasagna meal for an entire class of incoming students (arriving at her home in an hour!), then turn on a dime, pack her best dress and Arv’s suit to whisk out the door in the early hours of morning to beseech some multi-millionaire for significant donations for a library, music hall, scholarships, or increased faculty salaries. While Arv would make the case, often, I believe, Judie would seal the deal even if it required yet another early morning in a strange kitchen flipping Swedish pancakes for a potential donation.

    Through hard work, determination, long hours and personal sacrifices together they were successful. Impressive with their fund raising, lucrative job opportunities arose to go work directly for folks with much to offer, they steadfastly, politely refused, each and every quiet decision a testimony to their love of (and to the benefit of) community. Truly, they made manifest their shared values, not for material wealth, but for living a life of meaning.

    Judie, the inveterate organizer, might have been a CEO in her own right. She might have been a big-time New York designer, decorator or gallery owner. She might have been any kind of success with all her drive and enthusiasm. But like many women of her time from the prairies and plains of this nation, she was a hidden heroine, a bundle of can-do spirit with the skills to match. She made the most meaningful life for all she held dear.

    Those of us graced to know and admire her, call her friend, were blessed with a vision of womanly strength in all its many dimensions. What a vision! What a blessing!

    Thank you, Judie. Thank you, Arv. Thank you, Tim, David, and ever so specially, Linda, her primary caretaker in the last years —for sharing your mom. May her life remind us all of what is important, sustaining, and unending.

    Debbie Fuller Hayles

  2. We are so sorry for your loss Dave. She sounds like a great lady and bears major responsibility I am sure for your dynamic and caring persona. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

  3. Please accept my deepest condolences. I got to know Judie while she was the Director of the Lindsborg Swedish Dancers in my hometown in Kansas. As a member of the high school group, I had the privilege of traveling to Sweden with her in 1980. It remains one of the highlights of my life.

    A new edition of the Swedish Dancer Cookbook, the first edition of which Judie was instrumental in publishing, will soon be available and will feature 11 of her recipes. The cookbook continues to raise funds for the group, and I will remember Judie fondly whenever I make her Easy Pudding Frosting, Pumpkin Dessert, or Grandma Hahn’s Rhubarb Meringue Pie.


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