Lothar and Margarete Scharna
Irmi's aunt and uncle
Gerlingen, Germany  (1961)
Left:  Margarete (Staiger) Scharna  (1931)
Right:  Lothar Siegfried Scharna  (1925-2015)
During World War II, Lothar served in France and became a prisoner of war there from August, 1944, through April, 1949.
During his interment, the geographic landscape of his native Germany had changed drastically.  His home of Forsthausen
and the whole of East Prussia had been transferred to Polish control; and Gera, where his family had fled, now fell under
control of a communist East German regime.  Neither location appealed to Lothar; so, once French authorities released
him, he traveled to West Germany.  Soon after his arrival, however, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and spent a year
recuperating in a hospital in Fürth, near Nürnberg.  Once his health returned, Lothar applied to several universities, hoping
to become a teacher like his father; unfortunately, due to his history with a contagious disease, the bureaucracy forbade
it.  So, from 1952 through 1955, Lothar studied at a small college in Dortmund and became a social worker.  His first job
in that field brought him to the city of Stuttgart, in Baden Württemberg, where a colleague, Margarete Staiger, located a
room for him in the house next door to her parents' home in nearby Gerlingen.  Lothar and Margarete, trained as a social
worker herself, spent each day together at the office and shared most evenings, as well.  Gradually, their relationship took
a romantic turn, and they married in April, 1961.  Settling into a new life, they raised two children: Ulrike (1962-2004) and
Hans-Joachim (1963).  Margarete gave up her job to remain at home with the children, but Lothar continued to work as a
social worker for the city of Stuttgart until his retirement in 1990.  In the spring of 1992, Lothar finally achieved, albeit on
a modest scale, his dream of becoming a teacher.  From his father, a country schoolmaster, Lothar had gained a deep
respect and clear understanding of the complex structure and often convoluted rules associated with German grammar;
and this he generously shared with his niece Irmhild's American husband each and every Wednesday afternoon for a full
year-and-a-half, as the bewildered younger man struggled mightily to comprehend the vagaries of the Teutonic tongue.

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