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Rebecca Hartman Obituary
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December 05, 2016

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Preview Entry
December 05, 2016

Please don't submit copyrighted work; original poems, songs or prayers welcomed. reviews all Guest Book entries to ensure appropriate content. Our staff does not correct grammar or spelling.

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 Memories & Condolences
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October 4, 2016
I met Becky many years ago, and over that time spent many evenings playing cards with a fierce competitor. She always exhibited a passion for everything she did. She will be missed,
Bob battista
September 26, 2016

by Tenney Mason

Rebecca Hartman, a pediatric social worker at Sinai Hospital for 38 years and an adventurous woman with a colorful private life who friends described as pretty much up for anything died Saturday at Sinai of complications from cancer.
The Pikesville resident was 70.
Born in Philadelphia, Becky moved to Baltimore as an infant with her parents Jack, a clothing accessories salesman, and his wife, homemaker, Myra Polen. They settled in the Forest Park area where Ms.Hartman attended School 69, and later moved to Pikesville where she went to Sudbrook Junior High and Milford Mill High School where she was a member of the Sigma Pi Sigma sorority.
She went on to get her bachelors degree at College Park and masters in social work from the University of Maryland School of Social Work in Baltimore City.
Upon graduation, it didn't take long for her to identify the calling that would dominate her professional career helping disadvantaged children. One of her first jobs was at Kennedy Krieger Institute, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins that provides care for children with learning disabilities and developmental disorders.
She eventually wound up in the Community Care Department at Sinai, where she handled thousands of pediatric patients over a distinguished career that spanned almost 40 years. She was a fierce advocate for her patients, said Dr. Didi Nwokori, a pediatric resident who worked closely with Ms. Hartman for many years. She was very skillful at providing access to resources for the underprivileged.
Ms. Hartman was not only a dedicated and tireless worker at Sinai; but she was an innovator. According to Dr.Oscar(Ozzie) Taube, her department head for the last 12 years. Her mantra was to provide superb and respectful care to inner-city families.
She constantly pushed for programs that emphasized home visits, she installed a Reach out and Read initiative, where every child gota freebook, and was frequently cited in professional publications.
Lisbeth and Daniel Schorr's 80s classic Within Our Reach, Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage made numeruos references to Ms. Hartman's efforts and she and Dr. Taube co-authored a piece about tips for parents of teenagers for the American Academy of Pediarics that has been a best seller for 25 years.
But it was her indomitable spirit and fun loving personality that dominates any conversation about Ms. Hartman's life.
A classic baby boomer Ms.Hartman represented her generation well.. She danced the jitterbug on the legendary Buddy Dean Show, Baltimore's version of Dick Clark's American Bandstand. During her teenage summers she attended Camp Louise in Cascade, Maryland, where her mother was a counselor and top administrator. And she backpacked across Europe with a girlfriend while attending the University of Maryland.
She went to Woodstock.
She would continue her love of 50's style dancing until several weeks before her death, as an active member of the DC Hand Dance Club, where she danced several times a week. She was one hell of a dancer, said Jerry Hart, one of her regular partners. I didn't learn her name for about five months. She told me she didn't talk while she danced.
Her infatuation with music also continued after Woodstock, and she became an avid fan of the blues. She was a longtime member and officer of the Baltimore Blues Society, and had been on eleven consecutive Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruises, a week long Caribbean cruise with over thirty blues and other related bands cranking out music about 20 hours a day.
Over 40 years after Woodstock she attended a massive blues music festival in Western New York called Bluesstock, which like its predecessor was deluged with the floodwaters of a tropical storm (Irene) the entire weekend.
But many of Ms. Hartman's avocations were more on the cutting edge. As a young woman in her late 20s she performed in a production of the musical Hair at Towson State University, where the cast had to strip down naked. She balked at first; but finally gave in.
Never one to mince words, in describing the experience to a fellow employee at Sinai, she said If my boss had seen my butt on that stage, I would have been canned.
When Dr.Nwokori, who was a native of Nigeria decided, to get married in her homeland she gave a perfunctory wedding invitation to her colleaguesnot expecting anyone to accept. But much to her surprise, Ms. Hartman was thrilled and made the trip to Dr. Nwokori's village where she spent a week living like the locals without many of the comforts of western civilization. Every day the women of the village trekked over a mile with buckets to get water to use for everyday tasks and Ms. Hartman often went along.
During this trip she was briefly detained in a local airport by military guards, who insisted she turn over her camera that they thought contained pictures she had made of the facilities. Things got a little tense when she refused not wanting to lose other mages of her trip; but she was finally released when her husband Donald Hartman bribed one of the officials.
She went skydiving (once, and had to be pushed out).
As soon as the temperature reached 70 degrees the top went down on her used gold Chrysler Sebring convertible.
She was a tough nut, who didn't take any guff from anybody, and loved to tell the story about how she and a female friend went to a blues bar in Cecil County on New Year's Eve and got thrown out for protesting a cover charge.
She was passionate about her politics, and in 2004 travelled with her brother Larry Polen to Ohio, a battleground state at the time, to knock on doors for John Kerry in his bid for the presidency.
An inveterate volunteer, she was a weekly usher at the Hippodrome Theater, and could constantly been seen selling raffle tickets or manning booths for many of the organizations she was affiliated with.
A marriage to the late Donald Hartman, a Baltimore City policeman, ended in divorce. She is survived by her brother Larry Polen of Lutherville, and her nephew Timothy Polen of Hunt Valley.
A memorial service will be held at Sol Levinson & Bros., Inc., 8900 Reisterstown Rd. at Mt. Wilson La. on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 11am. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be sent to Camps Airy and Louise, 5750 Park Heights Avenue, Suite 306, Baltimore, Md, 21215

Link to Baltimore Sun obituary
September 15, 2016
You are a brilliant light that illuminated everything and everyone you came in contact with! Your light will continue to shine in all our hearts! Love you Becky!
September 9, 2016
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