Born Elwanda Jean O’Keefe on March 8, 1933 in Post, Texas, she was the doted-upon only child of Chris V. O’Keefe and Pauline Stewart O’Keefe. She grew up on her parents’ Kent County ranch, attending school at Girard. It was there that she met Norman Earl Hahn. Daughters recall he often bragged that he had “picked the prettiest girl in school,” to which their mother replied that she had “chosen the smartest boy.”
Lifelong sweethearts, Elwanda was barely 17, though already a junior at North Texas State, when she & Norman married in 1950. They lived in Connecticut & Louisiana while he served in The U.S. Coast Guard. Upon returning, having started their family, they took over the Texas ranch operation and attended Texas Tech. Elwanda earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English.
Busy as a mother of four first, Elwanda waited to begin her teaching career. Mrs. Hahn taught English and later art, coached UIL literary & dramatic events, and took many students to State competition. In summers at East Texas State, Elwanda earned her Master’s Degree in Library Science, becoming librarian for Jayton Public Schools. As an English teacher/librarian, she did not silently endure improper grammar. Still, beloved by her students, perhaps especially the ones she took pains to correct, she received countless thanks for the lessons she taught.
Her gift as an artist emerged after her children were grown. Adept at watercolor, pastels, & oil painting, her compositions ranged from landscapes to still lifes and portraits. She depicted cowboys, Native Americans, and grandchildren. Among the most prized by family are paintings of her favorite subject, Norman, in faded blue jeans at the ranch they loved.
Outside the classroom, Elwanda was a faithful member of First Baptist Church and Spur Art Guild. She was a gracious hostess, caring friend, and community supporter. She was a lover of books, all kinds. After books, she loved movies, especially musicals.
Tired of camping, but still desiring a place for children & grandchildren, she designed a home in Colorado, sketching it, then crafting a model. She didn’t care when or where Christmas was celebrated, so long as the whole family could gather. That was the present she wanted.
Elwanda, 87, was predeceased by her parents and her husband, the latter having died in March. Elwanda was a committed wife and partner in a 70-year marriage.
She is survived by four daughters: Holly Hahn Sorrells, Dana Hahn Brinkman, Janine Hahn Spiller (Russ), & Erin Hahn Edwards (Ricky).
Eight grandchildren are Michael (Brenna) Muscatell, Megan Muscatell Butler (Austin), Kelsey Brinkman Smith (Derek); Alyssa Spiller Sajovich (David) & Steven Kent Spiller; and Allison Ballard Kierman (Alan), Tony Harvey, & Ashley Harvey. Her great-grandchildren continue to grow in number.
Slowed by Parkinson’s and a series of mini strokes, Elwanda trouped on. She spent only her final weeks in a nursing home or hospital, but there, also, continued to correct nurses’ grammar.
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Elwanda’s family welcomes all who would like to attend the service, but for everyone’s health and safety, asks that social distancing be practiced. The family thanks you for your support and understanding.
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