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Obituary – Naomi Haarhaus
July 31, 1928 - August 21, 2019
Naomi was born to William and Frieda Selbmann on July 31, 1928 in Brooklyn, NY. Her parents were German immigrants and she spoke fluent German as well as Spanish. She was a precocious child, skipped two grades in elementary school, andgraduated from Bushwick High School (with honors) at the age of sixteen.
At the age of five, she and her family visited Germany because her father’s family wanted him to return and run the family floral farm. But he realized how the politics in his former homeland had changed and decided to return to America to raise his family. Naomi often remarked how proud and thankful she was of her father for making such a wise decision.
She adored her older brother Rudy and followed him to Oklahoma University to study theater because she wanted to be an actress. She was surprised by the southern hospitality and dismayed by her first experience of northern prejudice when the other students called her a “damn Yankee”. She soon missed her family and returned to New York where she worked for an import – export business that utilized her secretarial and linguistic skills.
She met her future husband, John, at her friend’s Sweet Sixteen Party and they immediately hit it off. They married in 1946 andlived first in Pennsylvania where John was completing his degree in mechanical engineering at Villanova University and then moved to Brooklyn.
They had their first child, Durinda, in 1947 and soon three other children arrived: Deyanne (1951), Wayne (1954) and Debra (1959). In 1953 they moved to New Hyde Park and in 1965 they moved again to Plainview. Later, upon their retirements, they moved to Sun City in Bluffton, SC.
In all of these locations Mom was very active in the local Lutheran churches and gave so much of her time and compassion to welcome and support fellow and new Christians.
As her children were leaving the nest, she returned to the business world and worked as a Customer Account Representative for LILCO, where, as usual, she made many close friends with her co-workers.
Most of all, her family remembers her as a loving and strong mother who instilled in us the importance of caring for otherswith tenderness and wisdom. She opened our lives to a world of knowledge, culture and ideas. We will miss her terribly but are eternally grateful for all she shared with us, her bright spirit, faith and love.
Lutheran World Relief
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105
Alzheimer's Disease Resource Center