Herbert Willi Seeland, 99, of Winston-Salem passed away Monday August 9, 2021. Herbert lived courageously, with dignity and grace. He died just days after his last glimpse at the vast sea from his balcony at Sunset Beach, where he held hands with his beloved wife, Gerda, of 32 years and was surrounded by most of his stateside family. Herbert lived all 99 years of his life to the fullest, defying gravity as he skied black diamonds in Vail at age 85. He was passionate about good food, wine, symphony, opera, art, tennis, and golf, and traveled far & wide. He especially enjoyed his weekly lunches with his friends, the Romeo Group, as well as gatherings with the Triad German Club. Herbert always had wise words to impart, poetry to spout, and gratitude to offer to those who delighted him. His memory was impeccable.Herbert grew up in Hamburg, Germany and was raised by his parents, Luise and Rudolf Seeland, with his brother Rudolf. There he learned to swim, ice skate outdoors, pick wild blueberries, raspberries & cherries, play with building materials, eat herring salad, rule the streets with his gang of mates, and observe ships at the port. In 1933, he met Gerd Bosse in Oberrealschule, and they remained lifelong friends. Together, they played handball, volleyball, tennis, ice hockey, went alpine skiing, chased girls, and studied English, French, Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Wagner, and Bach. They were required to join the Hitler Youth at age 14 and cleverly figured out how to defect. Herbert refused to say Heil Hitler even though he could have been punished for it. Herbert was never a supporter of Hitler or the Nazi party. He further showed his defiance by joining The Swing Kids, who enjoyed dancing to forbidden American Jazz. In 1940 after completing Oberrealschule, and in order to avoid the draft, Herbert applied to the administrative branch of the German Navy. He was accepted and eventually became an officer, working in administration. In 1943, he was sent to navigation training and learned to command a ship. At this time, his beloved Hamburg was under attack by British & American bombers. Just one month before the war ended, Herbert was returning to his sea post and was assigned to lead an army group on the front, not what he was trained for. He very wisely surrendered to the Americans, who kept him on even after the war, as he was skilled at mechanics. When he got word that his father had died, his commander allowed him to return home. “You helped us, so I will help you,” as quoted in Herbert Seeland: From Hamburg to America, a biography by George Little.After his father’s death in 1946, his brother Rudolf, an accomplished engineer, took over the family construction business. Herbert joined him in partnership as he studied engineering, and together the two transformed the company from home building to industrial and commercial building – a very successful firm that helped in reconstructing postwar Hamburg.Herbert’s first wife, Hildegard Jaeger, was very active civically and brought two children into the world, Kirsten in 1954, and Gunnar in 1956. Herbert was very proud of his children - Kirsten, who had a career in Elder Care and was in charge of the care for 70 people, and Gunnar who is now a psychiatrist and naturopathic doctor.After 24 years of marriage, Herbert and Hilde went their separate ways, and Herbert met Anne Marie Bauer. They enjoyed a life together until her untimely death due to cancer.Which brings us to Herbert’s move to the US. Herbert met our mother, Gerda Jarmon, several years later. Gerda was widowed 5 years prior and had gotten involved with Friendship Force, where she and Herbert met. They married a couple of years later in 1988 and decided to live in Winston-Salem, where they have made a beautiful home together which both Herbert’s and Gerda’s children have enjoyed visiting. Gerda’s children comprise Barbara Jarmon Holloway, Michael Jarmon, and Michelle Jarmon Mackin. Their 6 grandchildren are the joy of their lives. Gerda and Herbert have had a most remarkable relationship over the last 32 years. They have traveled extensively, developed deep friendships, and inspired their children and grandchildren.Herbert’s life is to be celebrated, and we miss him deeply. We will find him in the sunsets, in the flight of bluebirds, in the vibrant flowers he loved in the garden that our mother created and still tends, in the glistening pool, and in the vast sea, all of which he enjoyed immensely. Please join us at Centenary United Methodist Church on August 21st at 2:00 PM to honor and celebrate Herbert. Memorials may be made to Centenary United Methodist Church or to Trellis Supportive Care (101 Hospice Lane, Winston-Salem, NC 27103).
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