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Patricia Pamela (nee Hartl) Hanssen

Obituary for Patricia Pamela (nee Hartl) Hanssen

April 5, 2019


Patricia Pamela Hanssen (nee Hartl), formerly of Durban, South Africa, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on Friday, April 5, 2019 at the age of 100. Patricia is predeceased by her husband John George Hanssen; her daughter Pam van Schaik (Louis); and her parents Hendrix and Pauline (nee Krauser) Hartl. She is survived by her daughters Beverley Mitchell (Leslie) and Lesley Kaiser (Robert Mueller); her grandchildren Nicola, Sarah (Antonio), Eva (Marc), Marc, Nicholas, Christopher, and William.

Patricia was the birth daughter the Hargreaves, an English couple who were transiting from England to India in 1919. When they stopped in Durban, Mrs. Hargreaves gave birth to Patricia, but did not feel comfortable taking the newborn to India. The solution was to leave Patricia in the care of Pauline Hartl, who had just lost a baby in child birth. When the Hargreaves returned the following year to retrieve Patricia, Mrs. Hartl had fallen in love with Patricia, and let them know that she was now her mother. The result was that Patricia grew up as a Hartl in Pretoria.

When Patricia was 20 years old she began selling flowers and arrangements from a cart in the Marine Hotel in Durban. This was war time for Great Britain (1939), and there was a regular flow of soldiers, from around the empire, for training in South Africa. Several years later she opened a large florist shop, named "Pam's Florist" adjacent to the Marine Hotel. Her single store grew to six in the Durban area, making her the largest florist in South Africa, complete with Tiffany Blue delivery trucks with large white bows on the top. She married John Hanssen in 1948. John had been a medic in Field Marshal Montgomery's North African Army during World War II. After their marriage, John ran the operational side of the business and brought in Inter Flora to South Africa, the South African version of Teleflora. They built a home overlooking the Indian Ocean and raised their three daughters there.

During the African wars of independence, Patricia went into the philanthropic period of her life. She raised money as President of the Mozambique Soldiers Comfort Fund. The fund was used to provide ambulances, rescue helicopters, doctors, nurses and hospitals for their care. Similar work was done for the security forces in Rhodesia. As a way of saying thank you, The Portuguese President brought Patricia to Lisbon to award her with Portugal's highest civilian the "Ordem do Merito" (Order of Merit); similarly, Rhodesia gave Patricia the "Award of the Meritorious Service Medal" for her concern for the security forces in Rhodesia.

Patricia moved permanently to The United States in 1994 to live with her daughter Lesley and her three sons. Patricia lived a big life, and passed with her family around her.

Relatives and friends are invited to share in Patricia's Life Celebration on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 beginning at 12:00PM followed by her memorial service at 1:00PM at the Kaiser home in Jenkintown. 1539 Hampton Road. Jenkintown, PA 19046.

Family services entrusted to Craft/Givnish of Abington.

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Craft-Givnish Funeral Home of Abington, Ltd.

1801 Old York Road
Abington, PA 19001
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