Elisabeth Wulczyn ’81

The campus community mourns the passing of Elisabeth Wulczyn ’81, who died on Sunday, July 16 at age 87.  Elisabeth was employed in the Registrar’s office at Bucknell, retiring in 2000 after 26 years of service. Her son, Hans Wylczyn ’92 and daughter-in-law, Susan Wulczyn ’78, were also graduates of Bucknell.

Included below is the complete text of the obituary, as provided by the family this week. A memorial service will be held on campus in Bucknell Hall at 3:30 pm, Sunday, September 24.

You are encouraged to visit our In Memoriam Site at bucknell.edu/InMemoriam and share personal notes of sympathy and remembrance with others.

On behalf of our entire University community, I extend our deepest sympathies to Elisabeth’s family, as well as to all who knew her at Bucknell.

John C. Bravman


It is with profound sadness that the family of Elisabeth Hagena Wulczyn announces that she passed away on July 16, 2017, while at her home in Lewisburg.

Born in Kijunja, Tanzania, Elisabeth was the eldest of Otto and Heidi Hagena’s five children. She is survived by her siblings, Ruth Koehne, Hermann Hagena, Otfried Hagena, and Mechtild Horstkotte. With her husband of 57 years, Gregory Wulczyn, she raised four children: Friedhelm H. Wulczyn, F. Gregory Wulczyn, Hans R. Wulczyn, and Heidi A. Wulczyn. She was blessed with six grandchildren: Kirstin Wulczyn Refine, Ingrid Wulczyn Leach, Hannah Wulczyn, Kendra Wulczyn, Ellery Wulczyn, and Armistead T. Brundage. In recent years, she was able to enjoy the company of her four great-grandchildren: Elsie Wulczyn Leach, Matilda Wulczyn Leach, Bastian Refine and Emie Refine. She will be deeply missed by her entire family.

Over the course of her long life, Elisabeth was a witness to history and culture few could understand, let alone integrate. Born to Lutheran missionaries, she spent her earliest years in east Africa. Her early adolescence was shaped by a war that engulfed her homeland.  As a young woman, she immigrated to America, with a young son and little else other than a small trunk for their possessions. Though she would live in America for the next 60 years, she held the family she left behind close to her heart. She returned to Germany frequently and she always opened her home in Lewisburg to her brothers, her sisters and their children whenever she was asked, for whatever reason. In the midst of it all, she proudly earned her undergraduate degree from Bucknell in 1981. She went on to serve her alma mater in the Registrar’s Office for 28 years.

To her friends, she was a woman of strength, integrity, and compassion. She had an eye for the small things in life that would touch those around her. To her family, she was loving, stern, generous, and unyielding, traits that she passed onto her children. An avid gardener, she had a deep love of nature and a capacity to make the world a more beautiful place.

As she prepared to return to Germany to live, she had the opportunity to reflect on the past. Seeing the long arc of her life through the eyes of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, one had the sense that she found the inner peace we all seek.

At the end of her memoir, she wrote: I will always be your Omi, your Mother, and your Sister — Elisabeth. Indeed she will… forever… in our hearts, in our thoughts, and in our deeds.

Memorial services will be held in Bethel, Germany on Sept. 19, 2017. A memorial service will be held at Bucknell Hall on the campus of Bucknell University in Lewisburg at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 24, 2017.

Elisabeth’s family suggests that in lieu of flowers, contributions in her honor would be most appreciated.

Arrangements are by Jerre Wirt Blank Funeral Home, 309 Water St., Northumberland.

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