Constance Hart Wulfman (June 29, 1931 - January 25, 2013)

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Constance Hart Wulfman passed away in Bellevue, Washington, on January 25, 2013, of heart failure following a short illness. She was 81 years old.

She was born Constance Ann Hart on June 29, 1931, to Frederick Van Orden Hart, a salesman, and his wife, Ann Byron Holden, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she and her younger brother, Frederick Holden Hart, grew up.

At Riverside High School, from which she graduated in 1949, Connie was a student library assistant and feature editor of the school's paper.

Majoring in journalism at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, she was a member of Chi Omega sorority, president of the honorary journalism fraternity Theta Sigma Phi and social chairman of UM's Student Religious Association.

In their second week at UM, Connie was introduced to Carl Wulfman, a Moses Gomberg chemistry fellow. They became engaged in May 1952 and married on September 6 that year at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Milwaukee.

Of Connie, Carl writes:

As a young girl, Connie was a chronic reader. However, when she was becoming a young lady, her beloved grandmother took her aside to tell her: "Connie, being self-conscious is being selfish. When you are with others, please think about them."

In the second week of our freshman year at the University of Michigan, my cousin Sally introduced me to Connie Hart at a dance sponsored at their dorm.

On finding that I was an inept dancer, Connie suggested we play checkers, and then, without telling me why, she asked me to tell her of my summer — a disastrous uranium prospecting trip on Lake Superior.

That evening, she transformed this clumsy nerd into a hero, and I fell in love. And then she softly led our four sons to the selflessness that brings them the same loving relations she brought to so many others through this special quality and insight of hers of taking interest in others and in their happiness.

— Carl Wulfman

Connie helped Carl to secure Fulbright fellowships to pursue doctoral studies in chemical physics at the University of London, and they arrived in England in September 1953. Their first son, Michael, was born the following February.

Returning to America in 1955, Carl's academic appointments took them to Austin, Texas, and Defiance, Ohio, during which time their sons Peter and Andrew were born.

Finally, Carl's appointment as chair of the Physics Department at the University of the Pacific, Stockton, California, in 1961 enabled them to establish a settled home, and their youngest son, Edward, was born shortly afterward.

In support of Carl's work, Connie became president of the Faculty Dames at UOP and hosted many visiting faculty members and overseas graduate students in their home. Abiding friendships developed from these contacts and, with Carl's sabbatical leaves, provided travel opportunities both within the United States and to England, Mexico, Canada, the Australian state of Tasmania, New Zealand, Israel, Japan, Italy, Turkey and Brazil.

In retirement, Connie and Carl relocated to the Olympic Peninsula in 2003, settling in Port Angeles the following year.

Despite the demands of her husband's career and raising four sons, Connie made time to pursue her many interests. An avid reader and book collector, she studied traditional book-binding while living in Oxford, England.

She worked as a feature writer for the Defiance Crescent News in Ohio, was an editorial assistant for California Horseman Magazine and edited the Stockton Weavers Guild's newsletter.

She had a wide knowledge of the history and making of textiles, but Connie's passion was hand-spinning, which she taught and demonstrated. She also loved to knit, in recent years winning first prize at the Clallam County Fair for a sweater she had spun and knitted from wild musk-ox underfur, and with a church group, she made shawls and blankets for the sick and elderly.

Keen to help immigrants settle into life in America, in Stockton, Connie acted as a volunteer English teacher for the Laotian Hmong community.

Connie had a strong, committed and sustaining Christian faith. She was an active member of the congregations of St. Anne's in Stockton and St. Andrew's in Port Angeles, serving as a lay reader and mentor to new members and belonging to the Episcopal Women's Group and the Guild of St. Agnes.

Discovering that an ancestor was the Reverend Thomas Hooker, founding minister in 1636 of the church in Hartford, Connecticut, led her to study his many published sermons, and she gave lectures and informal talks on his life and works.

From childhood, Connie heard tales of her family's history, which included Mayflower colonists, and she was a proud member of Daughters of the American Revolution. In 2005, she donated an heirloom quilt to the DAR museum in Washington, D.C.

Above all, Connie was devoted to her family and friends, and she entertained visitors with charm and aplomb. With four active sons and a wilderness-loving husband, vacations frequently involved adventures in California's Sierra Nevada and northern Canada, although Connie also enjoyed simply spending time with relatives and especially her grandchildren.

Although she suffered with heart problems over many years, Connie maintained her youthful spirit, feisty enthusiasm and joy in all her many blessings.

"In September 2012, she and Carl celebrated 60 years of marriage and a lifetime of happy memories," Carl Wulfman, Connie's husband, writes.

Connie is survived by her loving husband, Carl; sons Michael, Peter, Andrew and Edward, and their wives; grandchildren Heather, Haley, Leah, Alison, Laura, Annette, Brian, Michael and Zachary; great-grandchildren Madeline and Amelia; sister-in-law Sybil Hart; nieces Deborah Hart Stock and Heather Hart; several cousins; and many close and caring friends.
Published in The Peninsula Daily News on Feb. 3, 2013
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