(Memorial Service at Faith UCC – New Braunfels on April 13th at 2pm)
Benny was a long time member of Faith UCC and and before that First Protestant, when it was a UCC church. He came to the U.S., via the Netherlands, from Indonesia as part of the Church World Service Refugee program after WWII. Benny was very active in the church both locally and in the conference. He did much to help make Eden Hill Communities what it is today. He led a fascinating life. We recently celebrated his 95th birthday in Baese Hall. His memorial service will be held at Faith UCC on Saturday, April 13th at 2 p.m. There will be a reception in the fellowship hall after the service.
Benny will be greatly missed. We will miss his stories and his smile and we remember his great service to this community and the United Church of Christ.
Grace and Peace, Pastor Scott
Below is From the New Braunfels Herald Zeitung
(Bennie) Harst, 95, died peacefully at home, surrounded by his large
extended family. He is survived by his partner, Dawn Horten; six sons,
Bart, Rudi, John, Tom, Arnold and Paul and their families; a sister,
Desiree Lewis Harst, of The Hague, Netherlands and a host of nieces,
nephews and friends throughout the Netherlands, England, Germany and
He was born in Jakarta, on the island of Java in what is
now Indonesia on January 28, 1924. He was raised in the pre-WWII
colonial Dutch culture, as was his late wife of 54 years, Nell Velt
Harst (Nelly) who preceded him in death in 2002. They lived on the
islands until the family moved to the Netherlands in 1951 after the
Indonesian Revolution changed his life in many ways. In 1957 the family
emigrated to their adopted hometown of New Braunfels, sponsored by the
late Rev. Carl and Della Burkle of First Protestant United Church of
Bennie Harst lived a large life that touched the
lives of many with his wisdom, curiosity, love and countless acts of
kindness. He was a man of deep faith that translated into a life of
service and good works; Bennie was committed to improving his community
with simple and direct actions.
arrival in New Braunfels, Bennie accepted the only employment available
at the time as a floor sweeper in the local textile mill and
simultaneously as the part time janitor at the church. Within a year he
was promoted at the mill to operate two weaving loom alleys, at a time
when most weavers were only responsible for one alley of looms.
1964, because of his Dutch health care administration office
experience, the late Elmo Fischer employed him to assist with the
increasing bookkeeping demands at the Eden Home for the Aged. Later he
became the Texas state licensed assistant administrator for Kenneth
Triesh at Eden, a position he held until his retirement in 1989. As
assistant administrator at the Eden Home, he oversaw the evolution of
the institution into the region’s first skilled nursing care facility,
and later added the first Medicare certified rehabilitation center, Bihl
Rehab Center. He took particular pride in building the independent
living cottages at Eden Home; fittingly, he would live his final years
in independence and dignity in these cottages.
He worked for many
years with River Garden, a life skills school for special needs adults.
Bennie’s volunteer service included work at the New Braunfels Food Bank
and the Comal County Senior Citizens Thrift Store. During the youth of
his six sons, Bennie led inspiring Sunday School classes at First
Protestant UCC. In any setting, Bennie was an irrepressible
story-teller; his circular narratives, twisting from humor to pathos,
crisscrossed Texas, Northern Europe, South East Asia in tales that wound
through his unique experience of the twentieth century.
with visits to children and grandchildren around the US, his love of
travel took him to Mexico exploring the people and the culture as well
as return visits to Indonesia and the Netherlands.
He will be
missed by the many who knew and loved him, including his faith
community, fellow residents of Eden Hill, and his Thursday morning taco
group at Nopalitos cafe.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00pm
on Saturday, April 13, 2019, at Faith United Church of Christ in New
Braunfels. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to
the Faith United Church.