Hanna Martin Peck

PeckHanna Martin Peck, 87, on July 12, 2020, peacefully in her sleep in Cleveland, Ohio. Hanna was born on October 17, 1932 in Fulda, Germany, to Karl Paul Arno Martin and Ruth Von Hollender Martin. She was the eldest of four siblings: Hans Martin, Ruth Pleil, and Olga Martin. Hanna’s parents were members of the Society of Brothers (the Bruderhof), a pacifist Christian religious community. She lived among the Bruderhof for the first 29 years of her life. In 1937, her family fled Nazi Germany to England. After several years they were forced to relocate once again, and moved to Paraguay. Hanna trained as a nurse in the Bruderhof’s hospital. She met her husband, Robert Nelson Peck II (Bob) while he was being treated for malaria. Bob joked that he didn’t want to get well because he would no longer get to see Hanna every day. Hanna and Bob were married on March 1, 1957.

Their daughters Beata and Katharine (Katy) were born in Paraguay. The family moved to Germany in 1960 to join a re-established Bruderhof community, where their third daughter, Ruth-Maria (Ruth), was born. Later that year the family moved to the United States to be close to Bob’s mother, and for Bob to finish his final semester at Harvard University. Margaret Hanna (Peggy) was born in Connecticut.

Following Bob’s graduation, Hanna and Bob moved to Barnesville, Ohio, to join the faculty of Friends Boarding School (now Olney Friends School), and were members of Stillwater Meeting in Barnesville for many years. The family moved to Reynoldsville, Pa., where Bob taught at the DuBois campus of the Pennsylvania State University. Hanna worked as a home health aide, grew a large garden, and raised chickens to keep the family well fed. In May 1974, the family was deeply saddened when Peggy died suddenly from a congenital heart problem days before her twelfth birthday.

Upon Bob’s retirement, Hanna and Bob moved to State College, Pa. They transferred their membership to State College Meeting, where Hanna served on many committees. Bob died in 2001. Several years later, Hanna relocated to Cleveland, Ohio, to live with daughter Ruth and son-in-law Philip Brutz. Hanna lived in Cleveland the final decade of her life.

Hanna was called “Oma” (German for grandmother) by many. She had a deep love for nature, had an exhaustive knowledge of wildflowers, and was an avid birdwatcher. She developed a passion for quilt-making, spinning, and always loved knitting, a skill she learned at the age of four.

Perhaps her greatest gift was helping each family member find their own gifts, teaching them skills and sharing her vast knowledge of living life to its fullest. She filled each moment of the day with love and joy, sharing it with all she knew.

Hanna is survived by three children, Beata Peck Little, Katharine Olive Peck Cleary (Patrick), and Ruth-Maria Brutz (Philip); seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

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