Emma Lahilda Bjorklund was born on July 12, 1923 in Kearny, NJ to the late John Harvid and Ellen Nelson Bjroklund. She graduated from North Arlington High School and subsequently worked in various secretarial positions. On Sept. 14, 1946, Emma married Maurice J. Hart, who had come to serve as the pastor of her congregation at Grace Lutheran Church in North Arlington, NJ.
They resided in North Arlington until 1956 at which time they relocated to Towanda, where Maurice had accepted a call to Trinity Lutheran Church. Serving by her husband’s side until his retirement in 1983, Emma was an active member of Trinity. She served as the church secretary, taught Sunday and Bible Schools, sang in the choir, was a member of the Vesper Guild, was instrumental in helping with the building program of the new church as the congregation expanded, and was always there to lend a hand wherever it was needed. A talented seamstress, she made the kneeling cushions for the altar in the new church.
In 1960, the Harts moved to Spring Lake where they raised their family and continued to take in foster children even as they had since early in their marriage. Over the years, Emma generously gave her love to more than 60 children who needed her, as well as serving on the advisory board for Bradford County Children and Youth Services. Her generous heart also reached out to help many strangers who came into her life through the years.
Mrs. Hart loved the country life and her garden, and for many years she canned and froze vegetables that she had grown. She loved flowers and continued to garden as she enjoyed spending time at the cottage she and her husband purchased at Devil’s Lake in Ontario, Canada. They also enjoyed many winters at their home in Winter Haven, FL until their health made it impossible for them to travel.
Besides her parents, Emma was predeceased by a son, Paul, in 2006, and an infant sister, Sylvia. In addition to her husband, she is survived by four children and their spouses, Linda (Jack) Eckman of Cross Hill, SC, Maurine (Larry) Gehring of LeRaysville, Timothy (Stacy) Hart and Peter (Sandy) Hart, all of Spring Lake; a daughter-in-law, Peggy Hart of Mesa, AZ; grandchildren, Eddie and Tammy Colegrove, Matthew (Wendy) Keeney, Colleen (Troy) Laferarra, Miranda (John) Clark, Lenny, Justin (Lori), Lauren, Chrystal, Timothy, Christopher, Thomas, Janelle and Ryan Hart; step-grandchildren, Karl (Kristie) Gehring, and several great-grandchildren.
A service to honor and celebrate Emma’s life was held on Sunday, Feb. 5 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 908 S. Main Street, Towanda, at 2 p.m. The family greeted visitors at the church from noon until the time of the service.
Flowers were provided, and memorials in Emma’s honor may be directed to Trinity Lutheran Church or to a charity of one’s choice.