Elizabeth Hittinger Obituary (1922 – 2021) – Bethlehem, PA
Elizabeth Hittinger (Herman) died peacefully on July 14, 2021 in Moravian Village in Bethlehem, PA. Elizabeth (Betty) lived every moment of her nearly 99 years to the full, enjoying great health, happiness, deep friendships and enduring love.
Betty was born in Bethlehem on July 21, 1922, the daughter of Maude (Overfield) and William C. Herman and was the eldest of three closely related sisters: the late Jeanne (Bilheimer) from Bethlehem, PA and Marilyn (Wiltsie) from Belleville, Illinois.
Betty graduated from Liberty High School in 1940. Open-minded and spirited with a variety of interests including a penchant for acting and theater, Betty was usually surrounded by many friends, but it was an introspective, handsome scholar-athlete William (Bill) C. Hittinger who was particularly fond of the bubbly Betty. After graduation, they stayed connected when Bill graduated from Lehigh University with an engineering degree. On July 9, 1944, Betty and Bill were married in the Old Moravian Chapel.
After the war, the happy couple took advantage of all the opportunities and optimism that mid-century America offered its greatest generation. They first settled in Bethlehem and soon proudly welcomed their first daughter Patricia, then sons William and David. And later, her family was complete with the birth of their youngest daughter, Nancy.
As Bill’s career flourished, the young family moved several times and eventually settled in Summit, New Jersey. There Betty made a large circle of friends for life and built an active, committed life for herself. Engaged in the Junior League, several book and investment clubs, and enthusiastically volunteering at Head Start, Overlook Hospital, and many other nonprofits, Betty has changed the lives of everyone she touched.
The couple traveled the world – a pleasure that lasted into retirement. From Japan to England to Brazil to Seattle and San Francisco, Betty and Bill cruised, walked, toured and dealt with different cultures and experiences around the world.
At the same time, they enjoyed visiting and pampering their many grandchildren and proudly bragging about their academic, artistic, athletic and professional achievements. There was rarely one dramatic performance, soccer, hockey, baseball game or rowing regatta, high school, college or postgraduate degree, birthday party, wedding, or baby shower that they missed.
In her later years the call of home and family brought her back to Bethlehem. When they made a new home in Moravian Village, they came full circle in their lives. Bill remained influential and active at his beloved Lehigh University, and Betty restored fulfilling, rich lives for the couple. From Bach am Main to events in the Zöllner Center and the Village to visiting all the new restaurants in Lehigh Valley – they enjoyed everything their return to Bethlehem had to offer.
After Bill’s death in 2013, Betty stayed alive and well. Volunteering to deliver meals, spend hours in the Moravian Village’s New 2 You shop, movies in the Steel Stacks, brunch and dinner with friends and family, book clubs, visits with children far away, and long phone calls with grandchildren, Betty hugged everyone Day with enthusiasm and a good mood. She was especially proud of her beautiful town house, which was carefully laid out and immaculately decorated with the beautiful antiques and works of art that she had collected throughout her life and travels.
In addition to her children and sister, Betty has 11 grandchildren – Autumn, Heather and Ralph III (Pat and the late Ralph J. Bunche Jr, London, England), Jonathan, Letitia and Chuck (Pat and Bill Hittinger, McMurray, PA), Neil and Thad (Karen and Dave Hittinger, Bethlehem, PA) and Will, Spencer and Jameson (Nancy and Rich Teachers, Winchester, MA). Everyone will forever carry the many memories and “mom-isms” of their dynamic grandmother in their hearts. And they will pass on their laughter, their traditions and their own loving, personal stories to the latest generation of 15 great-grandchildren.
The family will have a small private party this summer to celebrate a life well lived and very much loved. The Cantelmi Long funeral home in Bethlehem was entrusted with the arrangements. A memorial service can be placed at www.cantelmifuneralhome.com.
They ask that those who wish to honor Betty’s life, in lieu of flowers, offer a memorial donation to the Elizabeth H. and William C. Hittinger Scholarship Fund, Lehigh University, Office of Advancement, 27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, PA . 18015.
Published by Morning Call from July 17 to July 18, 2021.