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Sebastian Robert Hafer

November 16, 1925 December 15, 2016
Sebastian Robert Hafer
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Obituary for Sebastian Robert Hafer

Colonel Sebastian Robert Hafer, United States Army Retired, 91, died suddenly at his home at the Gettysburg Lutheran Village on December 15, 2016. He was the son of Warren Lavere Hafer and Lillie Mae Steinour Hafer. He was preceded in death by his wife of 49 years, Helen Virginia Shields Hafer, who died in 1997. Additionally, he was preceded in death by his brother, James Lavere Hafer, his half brother, William Keith Hafer and his cherished companion later in his life, Josephine "Jo" Seemann.


Sebastian was born November 16, 1925 in El Paso, Texas at his parents' winter home. He was raised in Gettysburg and attended schools there. Upon graduation, he enrolled at Norwich University until he turned 18 and volunteered for the Army. As a young Second Lieutenant, he served in the Philippines at the end of World War II. After the war, he remained in the Army Reserve, eventually achieving the rank of full "Bird" Colonel. Soon after returning from active duty, he graduated from Gettysburg College and married Helen, a childhood friend and classmate also from Gettysburg. They would spend most of their entire life in the town they loved, Gettysburg, only moving to Camp Hill during Sebastian's career as a Director for the Pennsylvania Department of Banking. Together they raised four children: Jane Adele Hafer Best of Mechanicsburg, PA; Sebastian Charles Hafer (wife, Bonnie) of Wellington, FL; Susan Helen Hafer Helter (husband, David) of Nashua, NH; and Robert Lavere Hafer (wife, Samantha) of Jacksonville, FL. He was the proud grandfather of seven and the proud great-grandfather of seven more with another one on the way at the time of his death.


Upon retirement from the Department of Banking, he and Helen purchased and restored what is now the Eisenhower Institute on North Washington Street. They were proud to own and live in the first Gettysburg residence of President and Mamie Eisenhower. Sebastian was instrumental in getting the residence recognized as a National Historic Landmark.


Sebastian was very active in numerous organizations throughout Gettysburg, including the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Forty & Eight, the Last Man Standing Group, the Memorial Day and Veterans Day Program Committees, the Gettysburg Fire Department, Good Samaritan Masonic Lodge and many others. He served both in leadership roles and as a faithful member. He was recently honored as the American Legion Post 202 Veteran of the Quarter. He was a lifelong member of St. James Lutheran Church.


Throughout his life Sebastian was dedicated to the improvement of Gettysburg and his touches can be seen throughout the town. Whether it be the engraved bricks on the sidewalks in the Square, or an antique bell in the bell tower at the Lincoln Train Station, he quietly made a difference in many ways. This dedication started at an early age. It’s interesting to note that as a thirteen year old Boy Scout, “Bas”, was chosen to help aid the civil war veterans as they returned to Gettysburg on July 3, 1938, for the 75th Anniversary of the ending of the Civil War, and the dedication of the Eternal Peace Light Memorial. He was honored to be able to help the veterans, most in their nineties, to navigate through the crowds. He remembered that he was only twenty feet away from the Memorial as President Franklin Roosevelt made the dedication. His respect for the military, and service to country and community was evident even then.

The past few years he had resided at SpiriTrust Lutheran Village in Gettysburg where he had many friends. The family is very appreciative of everyone in Gettysburg who has enriched and been enriched by Sebastian.

A funeral service will be held on Thursday, December 22, 2016 at the Monahan Funeral Home at 125 Carlisle Street in Gettysburg. Prior to the service, there will be a viewing at 1:00 PM with the service to follow at 2:00 PM. The Reverend Michael Allwein will officiate. Following the service, interment with full military honors will be at the Evergreen Cemetery. Online obituary and condolences are available at: www.monahanfuneralhome.com

Previous Events

Visitation

Thursday

22

Dec

1:00 PM 12/22/2016 1:00:00 PM - 2:00 PM 12/22/2016 2:00:00 PM
Monahan Funeral Home

125 Carlisle Street
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Monahan Funeral Home
125 Carlisle Street Gettysburg 17325 PA
United States

Service

Thursday

22

Dec

2:00 PM 12/22/2016 2:00:00 PM
Monahan Funeral Home

125 Carlisle Street
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Monahan Funeral Home
125 Carlisle Street Gettysburg 17325 PA
United States

Cemetery Details

Location

Evergreen Cemetery Final Resting Place

799 Baltimore St.
Gettysburg, PA 17325

799 Baltimore St. Gettysburg 17325 PA
United States
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