Hans Warffemius 1922-2012
This is a short biography of Purple Heart recipient Hans Warffemius,a namesake of the new American Legion post near Brandywine-Baden,Maryland.
Hans Warffemius was an amazing man who not only leaves behind cherished memories but also a legacy of honor, loyalty and service. Hans not only served his family and country, he served his community. His legacy continues in the efforts of those he mentored and guided in his quest to help those who served in the military.
Hans belonged to many organizations. All of which he gave one hundred percent of his service and attention. During the planning of his memorial services upon notifying his organizations of his passing, many of them were surprised at not only his passing but also that he had served in so many other organizations full time.Most had thought he had belonged to one or two other organizations. In fact Hans faithfully attended and served in seven different organizations! Hans was not satisfied with merely attending the meetings and taking notes. He wanted to be involved. He wanted to make sure that action was being taken to help veterans and their families. His mission was that every veteran should receive the honor, care, guidance and assistance that they deserve. He actively worked toward this goal until his passing. Some of the organizations that Hans was involved in include:
The American Legion, The Veterans of Foreign Wars, The Disabled American Veterans, The Order of the Purple Heart, The Junior Order of United American Mechanics, The Boy Scouts of America and the Cheltenham United Methodist Church.
Hans was born May 23, 1922 in Washington D.C. to Theodore and Eleanor Warffemius. The family resided in Sandy Springs, MD for five years, and then moved to Holland for a year. When the family returned, they established what would become their long time residence in Brandywine, MD.
In that year Hans attended the 2nd grade speaking only Dutch. Growing up he worked with his father raising cows, chickens, rabbits, pigs and gardening. His first paying job was milking cows at a dairy nearby on Burgess’ Hill. Hans attended Surrattsville High School and graduated in the Class of 1939.
Shortly after graduating high school he started work at the Navy Yard Foundry making sand molds for molten metal casting. Around this time (1940) Hans's parents were good friends with another family from DC who would come ‘out to the farm’ on weekends. It was then that Hans met his lifelong love Kate Gross.
Hans and Kate's friendship grew over the next two years and on Feb 14, 1942 after a Valentine's Day date, Hans asked Kate to marry him. They were wed Oct 25 that year (1942) and moved to Congress Heights, D.C. In 1944 Hans was drafted into service and also welcomed his beautiful daughter, Juanita into the world. He was able to see his family before shipping out with the Army 95th Division.
Hans saw battle in the Rhineland with Company L, 378th Infantry where he was wounded by shrapnel and received a Purple Heart. He returned home where he was honorably discharged Jan 13, 1946 and started work in the Engineering Department at the Navy Yard.
Upon his return from war, Hans, with the help of his father and many friends, built a house next to his parents on the family land in Brandywine, MD. It is here that he and Kate lived until their passing in 2012. They raised their family there, took in foster children, kept a vegetable and beautiful flower garden, and were long time members of the Cheltenham Methodist Church.
In April of 1947 Hans signed the charter of Clinton VFW Post 9376 with some of his school mates. He worked with the Boy Scouts taking them to Saint Louis for the VFW National Marble-shooting Tournaments and the local Boy Scouts camp.
In Nov of 1955 their second child a son, Wendell was born. Hans worked the Navy Yard until it closed in 1960 and then transferred to Fort Belvoir, VA, retiring in 1980. Kate was a great homemaker, keeping up with the children, canning fruits and vegetables from the garden, and being active with the Girl Scouts. She was a Charter member of the Ladies Aux of the VFW Post and very active in The Women of Cheltenham Methodist Church.
After retiring, they enjoyed life in Brandywine with their grandchildren -- two of Juanita’s and four of Wendell’s. Hans became more active in organizations and started to serve full time as a Chaplain and other various offices for each organization. Both He and Kate enjoyed the time with their family and serving their community. It was often you would see them walking across the yard for dinner and summer cookouts at Wendell’s and watching their grandchildren playing in the yard. In later years it was their great-grandchildren playing in the same yard.
Hans enjoyed working with all of the veteran organizations, helping where needed, visiting those that were ill, and sometimes just being a friend to a fellow veteran, young or old. We are honored by his legacy and know that his memory and service live on in those who he served and mentored throughout many years of service he gave.