Agnes I. Hartman, 84, a former resident of Merriam and more recently of Fort Wayne, passed away at 5:23 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010, at Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne following a lengthy illness.
She was born in Merriam, May 3, 1926, to Olen and Mary Shaffer. She accepted Christ and was baptized at Merriam Christian Chapel. Throughout her life, she profoundly affected the lives of many, but did so in a modest and unassuming way.
As a young girl, Agnes loved horses and often raced her American Paint, “Pedro,” bareback in the Merriam countryside in the 1930’s. Like her father and her brother, Dick Shaffer, she learned to fly single-engine airplanes at an early age, taking off and landing on a grass landing strip near Wolf Lake and occasionally on a pasture field in Merriam. She also had a life-long love of swimming, and swam competitively for the Ball State University synchronized aquatics team.
She attended Wolf Lake High School, where she was a cheerleader for the basketball team, most notably the “Team of ‘42”, the Goliath-killers from a tiny school that went all the way to the Indiana statewide semi-finals in 1942. After graduating from high school in 1944, Agnes enrolled in Nursing School at Ball State, which after graduation launched her career as a nurse — over 20 years of which was spent as the school nurse for Central Noble Schools.
It was at Ball State that she had her first date with Delbert Hartman, who was a starting guard on the Team of ‘42. Agnes and Del were married at Merriam Christian Chapel Aug. 28, 1948 where Del’s father, John was pastor and Olen, a deacon. After marriage, Agnes and Del were inseparable until her death.
Agnes was an active Christian leader in many ways. For 22 years, she was a Sunday school teacher and the co-youth leader with Del at Merriam Christian Chapel. Their house was constantly filled with teenagers who are now scattered with their families throughout the Fort Wayne area and the world.
Later in life, Agnes and Del joined Blackhawk Ministries in Fort Wayne where she also taught Sunday school and was a member of the missionary board. She and Del were often hosts for visiting missionaries and they traveled to India to visit and participate in the missions they supported.
For 25 years, Agnes was a leader of Bible Study Fellowship and a counselor for the Crisis Pregnancy Center in Ft Wayne. After she retired as school nurse, she became a Mary Kay consultant. She considered this role as seriously as nursing, as a means of helping young women. She used her considerable skills as a seamstress and a makeup artist in creating the costumes and makeup for Blackhawk’s drama productions. She was revered in the community and was often the first person to call whether the problem was a broken arm or a broken heart.
Julie Herron Zolman was one of the Merriam Christian Chapel youth group teenagers. When asked about Agnes, Julie said, “She loved me unconditionally and she taught me so much about love, marriage and God. Her greatest passion was also her greatest burden – she truly loved people and cared for them – no matter what their walk of life.”
She was surrounded by her family Sunday morning when she left this earth and stepped into the embrace of Jesus. Among the surviving relatives are her husband, Delbert E. Hartman; her two sons, Craig W. (Jan) Hartman of San Francisco, Calif. and Kevin E. (Paula) Hartman of Carrollton, Va; and grandchildren, Shaun (Kristin), Joshua (Jennifer) and Christa, Travis and Kelsey.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her brother, Homer “Dick” Shaffer Jan. 31, 2007.
Visitation hours with the family will be from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Sheets and Childs Funeral Home in Churubusco. A service to celebrate the life of Agnes Hartman will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at Blackhawk Ministries, 7400 East State Street, Fort Wayne. Pastors Kelly Byrd, Keith Moore and Terry L. Zolman will officiate. Private family burial will be held Wednesday morning at Christian Chapel Cemetery, Merriam.
In lieu of flowers, Agnes requested that contributions be made to the missions funds at Merriam Christian Chapel or Blackhawk Ministries. To leave an online condolence for the family in Mrs. Hartman’s memory, log on to www.sheetsandchilds.net .