Obituary: Herman and Doris Hassinger

Fri, 11/02/2012 - 2:00pm

Herman and Doris Hassinger, both 83 years old, of Block Island, died together on October 25.

Herman, born in Germany, and Doris, in Philadelphia, met in the Fourth grade while growing up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They were married at the ages of 21. Herman was a graduate of Central High School in Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania; Doris was a graduate of Girl’s High School in Philadelphia and Drexel University. They raised their family in Moorestown, N.J., a Philadelphia suburb, and on Block Island. Around the turn of the century they made Block Island their permanent residence.

They shared a love of art and culture that inspired them to travel throughout the world. As members of the International Flying Rotarians, they often traveled by private plane, and had flown throughout the United States, Canada, the Bahamas, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Herman was an avid pilot, with over 45 years of experience. Doris was also a licensed pilot for several years, and periodically took instruction in “pinch hitting” flight, to assist as his co-pilot.

Doris, a loving parent and homemaker, served as a community volunteer throughout her life. Some of the many organizations that she served include the Burlington County Hospital Auxiliary, Lutheran Home of Moorestown, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Block Island Library, the American Legion Auxiliary, and Literacy Volunteers.

Herman, an architect, was a Fellow in the American Institute of Architecture, and a former president of the Philadelphia chapter. A major focus of his work was religious architecture. He was an active member of the Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art, and Architecture. His work included more than 200 different church buildings, including new structures, renovations, and interior furnishing. His most recent project was a new sanctuary for the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church of Kingston, Rhode Island, where he and Doris were members. Both were also active participants of Saint Ann’s-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church on Block Island.

Herman’s work also included the design of commercial buildings and residences. One need only to drive down the main streets of the towns in which he resided during his professional career, Moorestown, N.J. and Block Island, to see the variety of his work. His many award-winning designs included churches, offices, school buildings, and his home on Block Island. His dedication to the importance of quality in architecture was evident by his active role, for over 20 years, on the Block Island Historic District Commission. He was a founding member and twice served as chairman.

The Hassingers shared a strong interest in art, education, and literacy. Doris worked on committees at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the schools and churches that she attended, and on Block Island as a literacy volunteer. She recently completed a term on the board of trustees of the Island Free Library. Herman served for over 30 years on the board of trustees at the New Hampton School, a private school in New Hampshire, where two of his children and one grandchild completed their high school educations. The Hassingers were on their way to attend a board meeting at the school at the time of their death.

They are survived by their four children: Judi Hall of Rumney, N.H., Virginia Hassinger of Seattle, Wash., John Hassinger of Mystic, Conn., and Elizabeth Hassinger of Exeter, R.I. They were blessed with 12 grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Doris is survived by her brother, Bruce Lighty.

St. Andrew Church on Chapel Street will host a memorial service for Herman and Doris Hassinger at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 3. A funeral service will follow at the Island Cemetery, and then a reception at Yellow Kittens.

A Lutheran service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 10, at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd at 383 Old North Rd., Kingston, R.I. More details on the time to follow.

The Hassinger family deeply appreciates the love and support of the island community. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Island Free Library, Box 1830, or the Block Island Medical Center, Box 919, both at Block Island, RI 02807.

For further details and updates about plans see: