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Marisa Hahn

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Marisa Traina Hahn

22 October 1926 - 9 June 2013

Internationally known, gracious San Francisco socialite Marisa Traina Hahn died peacefully at her home in Wolfsburg Germany on June 9th, after an illness of several years. Born in San Francisco, a graduate of Katherine Delmar Burke's School, she attended the University of California at Berkeley, and graduated in 1947. She then studied languages in Geneva, becoming fluent in German, Italian, French, Spanish and Russian, and did graduate studies at the Sorbonne in Paris, where she received a Masters Degree in l952.

She then worked for IBM International, and pursued a career in Public Relations in New York, where she met and married Dr. Carl Hahn in 1960. Dr. Hahn was the head of Volkswagen of America at the time, bringing the beetle to Americans' hearts. They moved to Germany in 1964, where Mrs. Hahn made the transition from career woman to devoted mother of four, and consummate corporate wife during her husband's stellar rise to Global CEO of the Volkswagen Group (including Audi), during his remarkable 39 year career with the company. (He is Chairman Emeritus of Audi today). At her husband's side, Marisa Hahn became an internationally known figure as elegant and sophisticated hostess, entertaining heads of state, the crowned heads of Europe, leaders in the arts (they founded the museum of modern art in Wolfsburg), and the leading industrialists in their Wolfsburg home. Their home became a much desired stopping place for the powerful, influential, and well known, and Marisa became world famous for her brilliance, kindness, warmth, generosity and wit. She matched her husband's success with her inimitable charm, while bringing up their children, running their home, and travelling the world at her husband's side as Volkswagen's ambassadress par excellence and America's unofficial ambassadress to Germany, respected and admired by all. She was the perfect counterpart and helpmate for his impressive career.

Exceptional linguist, talented pianist (she inherited her love of opera from her parents the late John and Lea Traina), corporate wife, mother, she excelled at all things, and made everyone feel at home in their world, just as she was at home anywhere in the world.

Marisa Traina Hahn was the sister of the late John Traina Jr., of San Francisco, and she is survived by her husband, Dr. Carl Hahn of Wolfsburg, Germany, her children, Carl Alexander Hahn of Bergamo, Italy, Pia Marocco of London, Peter Hahn of Berlin, and Christopher Hahn of Potomac MD. She is also survived by her daughters in law Vanessa Hahn, Maria Grazia Hahn and Anna-Kathrin Heitz, nine grandchildren, eight nephews and nieces, and two sisters in law, Dede Buchanan Wilsey of San Francisco, and Danielle Steel, of San Francisco and Paris.

Marisa will be long remembered and forever missed by all who knew her.

Services will be held on June 17th at the Christopherus Church in Wolfsburg Germany.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on June 16, 2013
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