Hanna Bertha Prusse Hasler

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Hanna Bertha Prusse Hasler

Photo Biography by Her Son Fritz

Authored by Arthur Frederick Hasler PhD
Edition: First

Hanna Bertha Prusse was born May 22, 1908 in Hanover Prussia Germany, the first child of Wilhelm Heinrich Prusse (Baker) and Johanne Caroline Conradi. On April 24, 1913, she immigrated with her parents, two sisters and two brothers to America (Salt Lake City) arriving close to her 5th birthday in Galveston Texas. Within a year, she was the eldest of 6 and by 1925 the eldest of 12 children. Hanna and her sister, second daughter Eveline, worked very hard to help their father with the bakery and their mother raise the large family.
Hanna loved to sing and had a wonderful soprano voice. In high school, she sang the leading roles in musicals of the day, one of which was Naughty Marietta by Victor Herbert. In high school, she fell in love with the doctor's son, Arthur Davis Hasler. As is the custom of many Utah Mormon boys, Arthur left at the age of 19 on a 2.5-year proselyting mission to Germany in 1927. Hanna was a very devout Mormon and unlike most of the Mormon girls in 1928, at the age of 20 she also went on a mission. Her mission was for 2 ½ years to Wisconsin and nearby states. On September 6, 1932, shortly after Hanna returned from her mission and Art graduated from BYU, they were married in the historic Salt Lake City Temple. They left immediately for graduate school in Madison, Wisconsin. As a young graduate student's wife in Madison, Wisconsin, for three years through 1935, she sang the soprano lead in light operas, Sweethearts, The Chocolate Soldier, and Blossom Time for the University Theater,
Art took a job with the Federal Government on the Chesapeake Bay where he took his young wife to live in Yorktown Virginia. Their first child, Sylvia, was born there on October 4, 1936. Hanna and Art returned to UW-Madison in 1937 where Art started as an Instructor in the Zoology Department and completed his PhD in Zoology. Their first son, Arthur Frederick (Fritz), was born August 21, 1940. Four more boys were to follow, Bruce Davis, June 3, 1942, the twins, Galen Rolf and Mark Rudolf January 24, 1945, and the baby, Karl Gregory, July 19, 1947. In 1944, they moved into the wonderful innovative house at 205 Lathrop Street where Hanna would rule the family roost for the rest of her life. But parents, sisters, brothers, in-laws and Utah were never far from her mind as she organized the annual family trek from Wisconsin (1400 miles) and Virginia (2200 miles) out West by train or car.
Hanna sang on a professional level throughout her childbearing and mothering years, taking a lesson once a week, with Susan Heffner, a New England Conservatory of Music graduate. In addition to personal performing, she directed the Mormon congregation church choir for many years. Hanna taught all her children to sing and strongly encouraged them to play the piano and other musical instruments. As Arthur became a renowned member of the National Academy of Sciences specializing in Limnology and Ecology, Hanna was his helpmate, caretaker of his children, and social chairman: entertaining friends, his students, their wives, and visiting scientists from around the world. Hanna, the baker's daughter, thrilled family and guests alike with her food, but especially with homemade bread, dinner rolls, and German specialties.
In 1954-55, Arthur took a yearlong sabbatical to the University of Munich in Germany leading the whole family of eight overseas. Hanna spoke fluent German from her childhood in Germany and with her family in America. Arthur had learned excellent German on his mission in Eastern Germany and Austria. Now it was time for all the children to be enrolled in German schools and learn German as well. Before long the whole family was speaking fluent German and singing German folk and Christmas songs, informally: The Von Hasler Family Singers.
Hanna died from cancer in Madison at the age of 61 on June 2, 1969 after a grim six-month battle with the disease. She had touched many lives; over 500 people attended her funeral.

Publication Date:
1548058254 / 9781548058258
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
8.5" x 11"
Full Color
Related Categories:
Biography & Autobiography / General

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