Muriel Michaels Hanke
Muriel Hanke, resident of La Grange, passed away Saturday, June 30, 2012, at the age of 90.
Born Muriel Isabelle Michaels on August 9, 1921, to John M. and Grace Georgette Michaels in Bronx, New York, and raised primarily in the Bronx, she married Kenneth Harth, also from the Bronx, in 1942. He was killed in action March 18, 1945, in Germany, while serving with Third Army, 204th Field Artillery. On December 23, 1945, she married George L. Hanke, a sailor she had previously met in New York City while he was on leave there prior to the U.S. entry into the war. Following George’s discharge in early 1946 they moved to Aspermont in Stonewall County, TX, where George had grown up, and where they made their home for the next 30 years, during which time they raised three children.
During the war, when women were called on to fill what were traditionally men’s jobs, she worked briefly for the Penn Central Railroad in New York City as a mechanic’s assistant repairing rail car brakes. Otherwise, her working years were spent as a rural West Texas homemaker. In addition to the normal duties of raising three children, this occasionally meant plowing a field with the “poppin’ Johnny” John Deere tractor, overseeing the troubled birth of a calf at 3 a.m., helping put out the occasional pasture fire, and summoning the vet when a family pet would be bitten by a rattlesnake. From New York City girl to West Texas farm wife proved quite a journey, but one she embraced.
She and George made their retirement home primarily in Haskell, with brief periods spent living in Spur, Breckenridge, Midland, and Hawley. They loved traveling when they were able, but more than anything loved just spending time with each other. Upon George’s death in 2009 she moved to assisted living in La Grange where she was looked after by her oldest son.
She is survived by two sons, Robert C. Hanke and his wife, Sheila, of Fayetteville, and Thomas A. Hanke and wife Dione, of Ponca City, OK, and one grandson, Jason A. Hanke of Houston, son of Robert and Sheila.
She was preceded in death by her mother, Grace G. Michaels, her only sister Moselle Eleanor Michaels who she never met in this life (born 1919 and died of measles and influenza at age 10 mos.), her first husband, Kenny Harth (interred at the American Military Cemetery in Luxembourg), her husband of 63 years, George L. Hanke, daughter Loretta Lynn Cathey, and son-in-law, Bill Cathey, both of Midland.
Muriel was laid to rest on Saturday, July 7, 2012, at Elmwood Memorial Park in Abilene, TX, in a private family service.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice Brazos Valley, 1048 N. Jefferson, La Grange, TX, 78945.