Werner K. Stavenhagen Sr. was a man of inspiring faith and integrity. On March 5, 2023, he went to be with his Lord at the age of 94, leaving behind a legacy of wisdom and appreciation for the goodness of God.
As the beloved husband of Brunhild (Bonnie) Stavenhagen for 60 years, Werner was a devoted father of five, grandfather of twelve, great-grandfather of twelve, and great-great-grandfather of one. He treasured his ever-growing family and led family gatherings with banter and quirky games that brought them together. He was the patriarch of his family, a wise and intentional guide who instilled in them a sense that life holds deep purpose.
Born on August 23, 1928, in Bogen, Germany, Werner's life was marked by perseverance and resilience. He grew up in Goettingen, survived near-death experiences during WWII, and emigrated to the United States at the age of 21. He earned a BA and MA and dedicated his life to serving others as a guide interpreter, teacher, and minister.
For thirty-three years, Werner taught German at secondary schools and at SUNY-Cortland, and served as an administrator of foreign languages at Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park, NY. He also served as an elder and minister for various churches, as a chaplain at Cornell University, and as a volunteer chaplain at Cortland Regional Hospital. He saw the Bible as a revelation of God's love for himself and others, and drew inspiration from it, having read it over fifty times. Werner's ministry extended beyond the walls of the church, as he often shared a spontaneous encouraging word or prayer for townsfolk while making his daily rounds. Werner's passion for goodness was also evident in his hobbies as a beekeeper and avid birdwatcher. His joy in the pleasures of nature was infectious, and his face often lit up with childlike wonder upon sighting birds as he led bird walks at Lime Hollow Nature Center or walked with friends and family.
His legacy extends through the lives he's touched, and in the way he sought and appreciated such moments.
Werner is survived by his wife Brunhild (Bonnie), his children Linda (Dan) Dowell, Martin (Annie) Stavenhagen, Ruth (Elcio) Stavenhagen, Christina (John) Stavenhagen-Helgren, and Kurt (Wendy) Stavenhagen, his grandchildren Sandra Putman, Susan Holt, Rick, and Will Hicks, Chris Stassburg, Lucia Flowers, Johannes Helgren, Katja Williams, Maya March, Gabriel and Micah Stavenhagen, and great-grandchildren Charlie and Annabella Putman, Megan Williams, Brycen Holt, Seth Lefebvre, Morgan, Miles and Connor Hicks, Kaleb and Derek Strassburg, Eden Williams, and one great-great grandchild, Luzmila Williams. He is predeceased by his parents Dr. Herbert and Olga Stavenhagen, his sister Sieglinde Barke, and his granddaughter, Ruth Hicks.
A celebration of his life will be held on Sunday March 19, 2023 at 2:30 pm at the Grace Christian Fellowship Church, 1250 Fisher Ave., Cortland, NY. Pastor Steve Thompson will be officiating.
To offer online condolences please visit www.wright-beard.com and his memorial page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/971384540496085/