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Lutheran Church of Honolulu, 1730 Punahou St., Honolulu, HI 96822; ELCA; 808-941-2566

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LCH Honors Hörmann Family

Hawaii-born Irmgard Hörmann has seen it all. She can tell you about the morning Pearl Harbor was bombed, or the Statehood Celebration, and all the changes since then. But there has been one constant in her life—her connection with the Lutheran Church of Honolulu on Punahou Street in Makiki.

Ask Irmgard about the church—or LCH as they all say—and she will tell you, “I was baptized here, went to Sunday School here, was confirmed here, and am still on my journey.” Her indomitable spirit has been a constant for generations of church members.

Irmgard Hörmann will celebrate her ninetieth birthday at the end of July, and the folks at LCH will mark the occasion by honoring Irmgard and the Hörmann family for their contributions to the Lutheran Church of Honolulu and the whole community.

Irmgard’s parents, the Reverend Dr. Arthur Hörmann and his wife Maria, arrived in Honolulu in July 1916 on the Matsonia to serve the fledgling, largely German-speaking congregation of the Lutheran Church of Honolulu. The congregation had been founded by the Isenberg and Hackfeld families in 1900, and until then the pastors had come from the Prussian State Church in Germany.

But with World War I going on, the new pastor had to be an American. One member of the church board (and brewmaster at the Primo Beer Brewery) had a brother-in-law in Wisconsin, a Lutheran pastor who had studied in Berlin. Pastor Hörmann was soon on his way to Hawaii. Irmgard was born a year later in Honolulu, at a time when the mail was delivered by horse and buggy and open streetcars crossed the duck ponds towards Waikiki.

Pastor Hörmann saw LCH through the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, and World War II. By the time he retired in 1946, the congregation had gone through the process of Americanization and was firmly rooted in the Honolulu community.

Ms. Hörmann has given a lifetime of service to her church and the Hawaii community. After graduating from library school at Columbia University, she began her career with the Hawaii State Library in 1939 with an initial assignment on Kauai and eventually worked at the main library in downtown Honolulu. Irmgard continues to foster her love of books with 25 years of volunteer service to the Friends of the Library and the annual book sale.

In 1979, Irmgard helped establish Hawaii Meals on Wheels to provide for home meal delivery to disabled, frail, and elderly clients in their homes. She also served for years as cook for the monthly dinners the church serves at the Institute for Human Services. And, in her 90 years Irmgard has served her church in numerous other capacities.

Other members of the Hörmann family have also been active in Hawaii. Irmgard’s mother, Maria Hörmann, helped to begin the German Department and was professor of German at the University of Hawaii. The Hörmann’s eldest child, Bernhard, was a professor of sociology at U.H. for 35 years. Second son, Helmuth, taught theatre for years at the Pasadena Playhouse before returning to Honolulu to teach at Chaminade University and Leeward Community College. Irmgard’s nieces and nephews include pastors, teachers, social workers, artists, and actors.

The congregation of LCH will be observing Irmgard’s birthday with a full day of celebration on Sunday, July 29. The morning begins with worship at 9:15 a.m.. A birthday brunch follows in the church’s central courtyard, which was originally named the Hörmann Cloister Walk in tribute to Pastor Hörmann and his wife. The area will be rededicated as the Hörmann Courtyard in honor of the entire Hörmann family. Renovations will soon make the Hörmann Courtyard, the heart of the LCH campus, a more hospitable place for all.

Irmgard’s friends from the community are invited to join the congregation as they honor this daughter of Hawaii.

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