Stanley W. Hart, born January 27, 1923 on a farm outside Bartley NE, passed away in Lincoln NE on August 31, 2017, in the midst of his loving, grieving family. He was predeceased by his wife of nearly 65 years, Patricia A. Hart, on April 21, 2017; his parents, DeWitt D. (1964) and Nancy Margaret Hart (1965), his brother Marion (1959) and his sister Letha Cameron (1996). Stan is survived by his three children, Jane Hart of Kansas City MO, Bradley T. Hart and Margaret A. Kuhl, his son-in-law Paul C. Kuhl, all of Lincoln, NE, and granddaughter Emily Kuhl of Flagstaff, Arizona.
Stan was a public school teacher, coach and educator in Nebraska schools for 36 years. He ended his career as Principal at Hartley, Bethany and Holmes Elementary Schools in Lincoln. He has always taken pride in the new graduates he hired to work in his schools, and the excellent teachers they became. He was gratified by recent visits made by several of them. He and his siblings went to Sunnyside School in the country outside Bartley. According to Stan, they walked the proverbial ‘nine miles in neck deep snow, uphill both ways’ to Sunnyside, but on a tour with all the Hart kids and Cameron cousins, we checked the odometer to learn it was less than a mile and slightly uphill from his home to the school. He did tell of the blizzard of 1931 when the teacher and kids were stranded at the teacher’s house for three days and two nights. His main recollection was the pancakes made by the teacher’s mother for all the kids. He did recount his memory of watching his sister ride the family pony, Oliver Twist, to school, with her pigtails flying.
Stan graduated from Bartley High School in 1940. Following World War II, he went to college on the GI Bill and received his bachelor’s degree in education from what is now Northern Colorado University in Greeley CO in 1949, and returned during the following three summers to obtain his Master’s Degree in School Administration. It is at Greeley that he met a pretty young co-ed named Pat who eventually agreed to marry him and they wed on June 15, 1952. They both taught in Stapleton NE after they married: Pat taught English, Home Economics and sponsored the Pep Club; Stan taught Industrial Arts and Social Studies and coached football, basketball and track.
One of the enduring hallmarks of his life was Stan’s military service in World War II. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in mid-1942 and was sent home to await the call of the War Department to report for training. On January 3, 1943, he reported for duty in Denver and was sent to San Antonio for training where he was classified as a pilot, much to his delight. He was trained in flying single engine planes and on November 3, 1943, he received his wings as a Second Lieutenant. He was assigned to the 314th Fighter Squadron in the 324th Fighter Group of the Twelfth Air Force. He was sent to Northern Africa, where eventually he joined up with his group in Naples, and began flying fighter bomber runs in the P40 Warhawk. Later, in Italy, the Group switched to P47s which they considered a great improvement. The planes carried 500 pound bombs under their belly and 300 pound bombs under their wings. In addition, there were mounted machine guns on the cowling. The assignment was to bomb anything that could supply the Italian or German troops traveling north from Africa to join the main forces. This included trains, bridges, troop convoys, armories, manufacturing facilities, storage facilities or airfields. They were part of Operation Strangle, designed to choke off supplies to the enemy. Later, a few days after the invasion of Normandy, the 324th supported the Navy and Army in the invasion of Southern France on 15 August 1944. After more than 91 missions, including one Stan led that resulted in his receipt of the
Distinguished Flying Cross, he was sent home on 21 days leave. He was in the United States when V-E day occurred and when the Japanese surrendered. He was honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant at Lowry Field in Denver in October 1945.
Stan never spoke much about his military service after he was discharged; but after retirement he renewed old ties and friendships by attending annual reunions of the 314th Group, the 324th Squadron, the P40 Pilots Association and the P47 Pilots Association. He proudly displayed his vanity license plate, “P47 Jug”. At age 90, he received the French Legion of Honor, awarded by France to those showing great gallantry to French citizenry while on French soil.
He also enjoyed in membership in the Nebraska Association of Retired School Administrator and was a reluctant leader in a lawsuit which resulted in a win for the retirees against the school district for additional retirement compensation. He began his membership in Gateway Sertoma saying email document he needed a little male socialization, having worked predominantly with women educators for years. He combined his Sertoma membership with his admiration for the work it did with the Barkley Center for Hearing and Speech at the University, fueled in part by his recognition of the need that his son Brad had for such services.
He always enjoyed his periodic participation in the ROMEOS, and in the informal coffee group that met after Tuesdays’ morning masses at St. Joseph’s Church. He was a super Husker fan and attended many Husker events with Pat and Brad, including attending football games, men’s and women’s basketball, and baseball games. They also followed the sports, included women’s volleyball, on tv. We thank all of his friends who made it possible for him to continue these events even after he stopped driving early this year.
He lived a long and fruitful life, and along with Pat, raised strong and loving daughters, and sought and achieved the best for his son, Brad. He was an inspiration for so many nieces, nephews, friends and stranger alike. He loved unconditionally. He was proud of his Depression-era roots and the hard work and unusual route that brought him to the city, and school administration, and the lifelong love of that cute co-ed. He was tired and so, sadly, we give him up to the next chapter of his life.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 am on Tuesday, September 5, 2017, at St Joseph Catholic Church, 7900 Trendwood Drive. Burial with Military Honors to follow at Calvary Cemetery. Rosary will be at 6:00 pm on Monday at Butherus Maser and Love funeral home. Visitation will be on Monday from 12 noon to 6 pm with family receiving friends from 4 pm to 6 pm at the funeral home. Memorials are suggested to Gateway Sertoma Club, designated for the Nebraska Hearing Aid Bank program.