Louise Ann Harbach Grant

The Louise Ann Harbach Grant for support of students studying abroad has been awarded to Samuel Frizell '12, who is studying this semester in Berlin. In fall 2011, Sam studied in Morocco, thus combining two very distinct study abroad experiences. They are united by Sam’s interest in the history of the Middle East, German-speaking Jewry, and multicultural Berlin. Befittingly, Sam lives in Kreuzberg, one of Berlin’s most diverse neighborhoods, at the home of a German couple who are both historians at Humboldt University.

The Harbach award, which supports deserving German majors' study in Germany, was established by the family and friends of Louise Harbach (1948-2006), to honor the mother of Bowdoin alumna and German and Women's Studies major Kirsten S. H. Partenheimer '01. Kirsten served as a departmental Teaching Assistant with the Bowdoin German Department, was awarded departmental honors, and received a Fulbright Teaching Grant for the year after her graduation. Inspired in large part by the excellent, forward-looking city-planning in Freiburg, Kirsten went on to complete a master's degree in urban and regional planning at the University of Minnesota. Previous grantees are Rendon Sabina ‘11, Catherine Jager '09 and Theresa Weaver '09.

In Chartres, France, October 2006

Louise Harbach was born in the historic town of Gettysburg, PA on November 28, 1948, the daughter of local family doctor Harrison F. (“Skip”) Harbach and Suzanne Heiges Harbach. At Gettysburg High School, Louise was editor of the school paper and the yearbook, and at Wilson College in Chambersburg, she was photo editor and wrote a column for the school paper. In 1967, the fall of her sophomore year, one of her columns caught the eye of the sports editor of the Gettysburg College paper, senior Wayne Partenheimer. Two years later, on December 27, 1969, Wayne and Louise were married at the United Church of Christ in Gettysburg. In 1972, Louise graduated with a Master’s Degree from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

After teaching, Louise became an award-winning reporter at the Bucks County Courier-Times in Levittown and eventually became travel editor and an editorial writer there. She also worked for a small weekly in New Jersey and since 1984, at the Philadelphia Inquirer, her employer when she died. She spent her entire Inquirer career in the South Jersey Bureau, most recently covering Gloucester County.

For the next 20+ years Louise was involved in school activities, youth sports, and eventually college visits and trips to Brunswick, Maine, where Kirsten graduated from Bowdoin in 2001 and Lewiston, Maine, where Scott was a student at Bates, Class of ’03.

Louise was known for making elaborate quilts, sewn by hand, for friends and family for special occasions. Eventually, Professors Cafferty, Cerf, and Hodge also became happy recipients of beautiful red, black and gold quilts, which they continue to treasure and enjoy. Louise had a fondness for dogs and participated in the Seeing Eye/4-H Puppy Raising Program.

Louise’s love of travel makes this award to Bowdoin students studying abroad most appropriate. She had traveled in the U.S. with her parents as a child and the desire to see the country and the world lasted her entire life. In 1968 she sailed to Europe on the S.S. United States. She and Wayne made more than 10 trips to Europe, including many to Germany, and they also visited the Caribbean, Canada, Hong Kong and Thailand. She had been in all 50 states and most provinces of Canada (missing only Manitoba and Saskatchewan). In Germany, she pursued another interest—family history. In January, 2004 she visited the Harbach ancestral home of Meisenheim, the Heiges’ town of Derrwangen in Bayern, and the source of the Partenheimer name, Partenheim in Rheinland-Pfalz. Louise’s last trip abroad, in October 2006, was with Wayne to Paris and Stockholm.

Spurred by her love of travel and the desire to give her children the opportunity to experience another culture in a way she never had as a student, Louise encouraged her two children to become exchange students during their senior year of high school. Kirsten spent a year in Switzerland as a Rotary Youth Exchange student and Scott participated in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program. Both studied in Germany as college students.

Louise died unexpectedly December 11, 2006, while visiting her cousin Mark Replogle at the Replogle family summer home on the shore of Lake Michigan near Sturgeon Bay in Door County, Wisconsin.