World War II veteran Rudolf “Rudy” Hartge had a positive attitude and a zest for life.
“He used to say 'don’t walk around with a cloud over your head — think positive,'” Joann Hartge, his wife of 12 years, said. Hartge was preceded in death by his first wife, Alice, to whom he was married 50 years.
Hartge, 93, of Crown Point and formerly of Gelsenkirchen, Germany and Lansing, served in the U.S. Army in Africa, the Mediterranean Islands, France and Germany with the combat engineers and as an interpreter for his captain. A past commander of American Legion Post 697, Hartge was patriotic and proud of his service.
Hartge worked as a bricklayer, draftsman and in the kitchen planning department of Sears.
At Trinity Lutheran Church in Lansing, his lifelong church, as a child Hartge pumped the organ and was a bell ringer. Through the years, he served on several church and school boards.
“Faith was enormously important to him,” Joann Hartge, who met her husband when both worked at the Hammond Clinic, said. Hartge drove the employee van and decorated it during Christmas.
“He always wanted to make people happy,” she said.
Hartge enjoyed travel, crafts and woodworking. He made clocks and quilt racks, selling his wares at festivals.
“The two of us had been working on a doll house,” Joann Hartge said. “He designed and built the kitchen.”
Hartge was always up for a new adventure and learning new things.
Most of all, his wife said, she will miss his tenderness.
“He was very sweet and never critical,” she said. “He was a wonderful companion.”
Her granddaughter’s thesis at the New York Academy of Art featured oil paintings and lithographs of Hartge.
“He was pretty proud of those and said he had been immortalized,” she said.