James A. Hartman
James A. Hartman
  • January 17, 1928 - January 22, 2018
  • Louisiana

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James "Jim" Austin Hartman, 89, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 in West Des Moines, Iowa. He was a few weeks shy of his 90th Birthday.

Those left to cherish Jim's loving memory are his wife Molly Gerlich of West Des Moines, IA; daughter, Victoria Hartman of Fort Worth, TX; son, Dr. Lester and wife Reverend Holly Hartman of Needham, MA; three step-children Jay Gerlich, Jule Reynolds, and Lonna Nauman all residing in Iowa; grandchildren, Anne-Marie and husband Andrew Harris of Texas, Airman David and wife Tiffany Hartman of Colorado, Matthew Hartman of Texas, Sarah Hartman of Massachusetts, and Laura Hartman of California; 8 step-grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren; 9 step-great grandchildren; nephews Bill, Mitch and Matt Timm of Illinois; nieces Melissa Bir of Colorado and Laura Lander of New York; along with many cousins and close friends.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Zoe; great-grandson, Kael; brother, Bobby; sisters Mert, Matie and Rosemary; and niece Marta.

Jim was born on January 29, 1928 in Lanark, Illinois to Llewelyn "Slivers" and Gladys (Fossett) Hartman. He grew up in Mount Carroll, Illinois and graduated from Mount Carroll High School in 1945. After high school Jim joined the Army and served General MacArthur in the occupation of Japan during WWII. Once the war was over Jim returned home and enrolled at Beloit College and met Zoe Wiley. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Geology and later was bestowed a Master's in Mining Geology at University of Wisconsin, Madison. Jim and Zoe were married after graduation and the young couple relocated to Jamaica where Jim worked for Reynolds Wrap for their three year "honeymoon." He returned to University of Wisconsin and completed a PhD in Geology and celebrated the birth of their daughter, Victoria Lynn Hartman. The family moved to Suriname, South America where Jim trekked the jungles looking for manganese for Union Carbide. After nine months overseas, he and his wife returned to the mid-west and celebrated the birth of their son, Lester James Hartman. Jim worked for Shell Oil Company as an exploration geologist for 30 years and upon retirement, he joined Greenhill Petroleum and with help to develop an innovative way of finding new oil in old oil fields . This extended his career for about another 10 years.

In 1996, Zoe Hartman passed away after 47 years of marriage. While at his 60th high school reunion, Jim reunited with his childhood friend Marilyn "Molly" Gerlich. The friendship quickly grew into a romance and after Hurricane Katrina they were married on December 31, 2005. They lived in Panora, Iowa and then moved into a retirement community in West Des Moines, Iowa where they spent a wonderful 10 years married.

Jim was very active and enjoyed life to the fullest. He loved collecting shells, and cowries. He was a member of St. Augustine Episcopal Church in Metairie, Louisiana, served as Secretary of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists(AAPG), was President of the New Orleans Geological Society, and was active with his son in the New Orleans Gem and Mineral Society. Jim enjoyed spending time with his family, traveling, making jewelry, touring the battlefields his father fought in during World War 1, and watching his beloved Chicago Cubs. As one of his final trips, he was able to attend his first world series game watching the Cubs in his late 80s.

Jim was a family man and education was one his most important accomplishments. He took pride in attending his children and grandchildren's graduations along with supporting them in all of their academic accomplishments. His passion for seashells led to funding several exhibits at the Bailey Matthew Shell Museum in Sanibel, Fl. One in particular was in memory of his first wife , Zoe. He supported a medical clinic in Haiti his son and daughter in law worked with by funding all the medications for 5 years to this town of 5000 Haitians. He also established and endowed a scholarship fund for petroleum geology students for the AAPG. Jim also was able to take several amazing trips in his life with his son, daughter, grandchildren and extended family members. His most memorable trips were to Antarctica, Amsterdam, Australia/New Zealand and touring the WWI battlegrounds his father fought on with his son and nephews. He cherished all the memories from these trips. Jim's greatest pride in life was his grandchildren and great grandchildren along with the amazing relationships he had built with his family and friends.

Donation to the AAPG, St Judes Hospital , or Boys Town are appreciated

A memorial service and celebration of life will be at Lake Lawn Cemetery on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. in New Orleans, Louisiana and a burial service will follow immediately where his ashes will be interned in the mausoleum with his first wife Zoe.
To view and sign the family guestbook please visit, www.lakelawnmetairie.com