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Gerhard O. Hartung, 83, formerly of Middle Village, NY, passed away on Friday, August 3, 2018 at Stratford Pines Nursing Home in Midland. He was born in Stendal, Germany on February 24, 1935 to the late Otto and Erna (Brehmer) Hartung. His wife of 55 years, Jean (Ruszkowski) Hartung, predeceased him in 2016.

Gerhard immigrated to the US (NYC) in 1958 after studying the orthotics trade in Germany. He was the embodiment of the American dream, hiring in as an apprentice at Schwarz Orthopedic in Manhattan, NY, eventually becoming the owner, and finally retiring in 2002.

He learned English by watching TV and met the love of his life, Jean Ruszkowski, at a butcher’s dance in Rego Park, Queens in 1959. She was smitten by his charm and by his German accent. He proposed to her on the roof of the hospital where she was a nursing student and they began their life together when they married in 1961. He became US Citizen in August 1968.

Gerhard lived his life on his own terms. He enjoyed puttering in his garden and in his man cave, which was meticulously organized. He celebrated his heritage at every opportunity, seeking out German butchers and German/Polish festivals, subscribing to German periodicals, and tracking the German soccer team through every game in which they played. He looked forward to celebrating every New Year’s Eve with his inner circle of friends. He had a heart for animals and was deeply sentimental. The twinkle in his eye accompanied every wise crack and everyone adored his charm and his sense of humor.

Gerhard is survived by his loving children; Jennifer (Doug) LaRose, Geraldine (Russ) Rogers, Andrew (Carolyn) Hartung, and the grandchildren whom he adored; Erika, Emma, Julia, Matthew, Dawson, Abigail, and Landon. He is also survived by his sister, Ruth (Paul) Falcke, who lives in Bremen, Germany.

A memorial service will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 9, 2018 at Smith Miner Funeral home. Friends may visit with the family on Thursday at the funeral home from 4:00-6:00pm until the time of service.

Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider a donation to Merkelcell.org.

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