We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Mebane
Reena Harm, or “Oma” as she was affectionately called by her grandchildren, passed away peacefully on the morning of Friday, August 20th, at the incredible age of 98. Despite facing some medical challenges towards the end of her life, she approached them with the same disposition she’s carried her whole life: kindness, a quiet intelligence, and an unfailingly sharp wit.
Reena was born in Hamburg, Germany on December 14th, 1922 as the first of four children. Endlessly eager to learn, she was an avid reader and was fluent in five languages at the prime of her life (with the fifth language being sarcastic wit). She worked at a Spanish bank throughout the trials of World War II, and was initially ambivalent to her neighbors’ attempts at matching her with her future husband of 64 years.
After the war, she would often bemusedly watch an attractive young man sprint to catch his train every day. Her first response to her future husband was: “If that silly man (idiot) left five minutes earlier, he would make the train!” One day her future mother-in-law was walking to the train station with this young man and introduced them. From then on, he was never late again.
The two would make a new life together in the U.S. Even with English as a second language, Reena's first job in the US was editing publications for a book publishing firm. Later, as a second career, she and her husband successfully owned and ran a bakery while raising three fierce daughters. Reena’s hardworking attitude and inexhaustible humor extended to every part of her life - whether it was responding to her daughters’ rambunctiousness by threatening to “go find herself,” throwing witty one-liners back at her cheeky grandchildren, or making quick friends with others in her community. She was always moving, always curious about the world, and always finding heartfelt ways to share her love and quiet strength with the people around her.
Even with such a busy life she engaged in many other activities, hobbies and travels. She was an accomplished knitter, crocheter, hardanger, sewer, and gardener (winning awards for her beautiful work). She was also a sailor, swimmer (out swimming folks that were half her age), baker, reader, and traveler. Reena and Alfred enjoyed traveling to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, China, the Panama Canal, Canada, Alaska, Hawaii, and many other US destinations. They sailed the NC coast in their own sailboat for years. Despite slowing slightly toward the end of her life she could still out run many of the staff at the assisted living where she lived.
She is sorely missed by her three children (Reena, Karin & Ingrid) and their husbands (Derek, Henry & Gregory), her brother Folkart, sister-in-law Olga, six grandchildren (Kristof, Nickolas, Katherine, Marika, Daniel, and Eric), 2 grandchildren-in-law (Alicia and Jackie), and one great-grandchild (little Carter). While this time she was the one who was late reaching the platform, her family is comforted knowing that she is now with her husband, parents and brothers on the train together.
The family welcomes donations to www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org as an expression of sympathy instead of flowers