Rev. Maurice Hart
Maurice J. Hart was born on July 18, 1920, in Ringtown, PA, to the late Maurice and Daisy Zimmerman Hart. He grew up in the Ringtown area and after high school graduated from Muhlenberg College and The Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia. He was ordained into the ministry on Oct. 31, 1945, after accepting a call to Grace Lutheran Church in North Arlington, NJ.
It is there he met his future wife, Emma Bjorklund, and on Sept. 14, 1946, they were married.
Pastor Hart served at Grace Lutheran until April 1956, at which time he became pastor of the newly formed Trinity Lutheran Church in Towanda. There he remained for 28 years until his retirement in December 1983. Even then, he stayed on as an interim pastor until a new pastor could be found.
Pastor Hart dedicated his life to serving his Lord and was beloved by the members of his congregation over the many years he served there. Maurice was a humble, gentle, selfless man who was always available to help anyone in need. With Emma by his side, he faithfully led the congregation of Trinity, which continued to grow, and under his guidance and with the help of the Lord, a beautiful new church building was dedicated in 1965.
Pastor and Emma raised their five children and also cared for many foster children at their farm in Spring Lake where they had huge gardens and kept many different farm animals over the years. Pastor Hart was always working around the farm and liked to joke that he came up with some of his best sermons while milking the cow.
Emma was the love of his life, and they were blessed with 65 years together until her death last year. After retiring, they spent many happy years at their beloved cottage at Devil’s Lake in Ontario, Canada where Pastor Hart could be found fishing, gardening, and chopping wood right up until health issues no longer allowed them to make the long trip north. They also enjoyed many winters at their home in Winter
Pastor Hart served the community as a member of the board of directors for the county welfare office and also served as secretary of the Spring Lakes School Board for several years until the Wyalusing School District boards consolidated. Having been blessed with a gift for music, Maurie or Pete as he was called by many friends, participated in several musical groups throughout his life where he sang or played guitar. During his college years he played in a band to earn money. He enjoyed his membership in the Endless Mountains Barbershop Chorus for several years, and he delighted in playing his guitar to entertain at church and community functions, and with family or friends. His wonderful tenor voice chanted the Lutheran liturgy countless times. Pastor Hart will also be remembered for the vast repertoire of jokes that he was always ready to share.
Besides his parents, Maurice was predeceased by his beloved wife, Emma, in February 2012; a son, Paul, in 2006; sisters, Esther Hart, Emily Clark, Sarah Bley, Elizabeth Lorah, and brothers Earl and William Hart.
He 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-inlaw, Peggy Hart of Mesa, AZ; grandchildren, Eddie and Tammy Colegrove, Matthew (Wendy) Keeney, Colleen (Troy) Laferarra, Miranda Clark, Lenny, Justin (Lori), Crystal, Timothy, Christopher, Thomas (Haruka Kelly), Janelle, and Ryan Hart; step-grandchildren Karl Gehring, Kristie Gehring, and several great-grandchildren.
A service to honor and celebrate Pastor Hart’s life will be held on Saturday, May 18, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 908 S. Main Street, Towanda at 1 p.m. The family will greet visitors at the church for two hours prior to the time of the service.
Flowers will be provided, and memorials may be directed to Trinity Lutheran Church or to a charity of one’s choice.
Memories and condolences may be expressed by visiting www.bowenfuneralhomes.com.