High 54° / Low 37°
High 56° / Low 41°

Hanlo von Gierke

Hanlo von Gierke, who lived in Yellow Springs from 1959–2007, passed away on Aug. 1, in Basel, Switzerland.

Those who knew Hanlo don’t need to be told her story — they will appreciate knowing that she died as she lived: peacefully, gracefully, and in the presence of family and friends. Those who didn’t know her may wonder: who was this human being whose path I didn’t cross, and what can I learn from her life?

Hanlo, born in 1924, was by nature a caregiver, taking responsibility for her younger siblings while living in Holzhausen-am-Ammersee, near Munich, and after 1939 near Philadelphia. She dedicated much of her later time in Yellow Springs to taking care of her adult daughter, Susi, who was diagnosed with MS in 1983 and died in 2002, and her husband Henning, who passed away in March of 2007 after a long illness.

She tended a flower garden in her yard, which gave much joy to herself and her frequent guests. The flower garden was symbolic of two aspects of her nature: the nurturing and the artistic. Her parents were both artists, and Hanlo herself enjoyed working as a photographer in New York. Later, in Yellow Springs, she developed a passion for copper enameling and became a “village artisan.”

In the last year of her life she lived in Switzerland with her daughter, Karin, and her family. Although her memory of recent events had faded, she took great pleasure in speaking of her youth in Germany, hearing the Basel church bells ring — calling them “music for my soul,” appreciating the flowers which decorated the gardens she passed on her walks, and having her cups of tea while family life unfolded around her. Her infirmities allowed her, at last, to be the receiver of care, a reversal of the role which she gladly had played for most of her life. She was admired by all who knew her in the last months of her life for her dignity, gratitude and warmth, and will be missed by all whose lives she touched.

She is survived by her daughter, Karin von Gierke; her son-in-law, Peter Croton; grandchildren, Lukas and Johanna; brother, York Fischer; and sister, Barbara Eldred.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be sent to Hanlo’s favorite charity: Running Strong for American Indian Youth, 2550 Huntington Avenue, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22303.


No comments yet for this article.

Please complete to show you’re a human: * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

Series: Justice for John Crawford?
Read the articles in the News series examining the 2014 shooting of John Crawford.
From the Print
Click here to read the current week's sports and obituaries, and previous week's features.
Guide to Yellow Springs
Can't find the print? Read the Guide to Yellow Springs 2015-16 edition online.
Search the YS News

Recent Comments
Recent Blog Posts
view all Yellow Springs News blogs
Seeking something older?
Pre-April 2010 archives, back to 2002.
Recent Audio/Video
view all Yellow Springs News videos
facebook.com/ysnews facebook   twitter.com/ysnews twitter
Wagner Subaru
Think TV
YS News Blogs