West Sparta's Elsie Hartmann celebrating 100th birthday Jan. 9

For her community involvement, military service, and strong sense of family, the Town of West Sparta proclaimed January 2022 as “Elsie Hartmann Month.”

From news reports
West Sparta resident Elsie Finch Hartmann will be celebrating her 100th birthday on Jan. 9. She is the oldest and longest serving member and choir member of the Dansville Presbyterian Church.

West Sparta resident Elsie Finch Hartmann will be celebrating her 100th birthday on Jan. 9, 2022.

She already received one big birthday present from her hometown.

For her community involvement, military service, and strong sense of family, the Town of West Sparta proudly proclaimed January 2022 as “Elsie Hartmann Month.”

She still lives at the Hartmann Homestead in West Sparta, which has been in the family for over 170 years. Elsie is the oldest and longest serving member and choir member of the Dansville Presbyterian Church. She is also a long time member of the West Sparta Historical Society.

Elsie was born in Dansville on Jan. 9, 1922 to Ray and Ruth Finch.

She attended Dansville High School, Class of 1939, and was the Senior Class Treasurer. She met her future husband Austin “Mush” Hartmann at school; he was President of the 1939 Senior Class.

After high school, Elsie attended Cortland Normal School for one year as a Physical Education major. Unfortunately, she was not able to continue with her studies there because of a previous leg injury that had not healed properly. Elsie then enrolled at Rochester Business Institute and graduated with a certificate in Secretarial Science. After graduating, Elsie accepted a job as a clerk in the Methods and Tool Design department at Gleason Works, a machine shop in Rochester, NY.

In 1943, Elsie left Gleason Works and enlisted with the United States Marines. She was one of only the second group of women to do so. Elsie joined the Marines to become a mechanic but because of her secretarial background, she was sent to Arlington, Virginia to work at Marine Headquarters.

Elsie Finch Hartmann serving in the Marines during World War II.

Elsie was discharged with the rank of Sergeant at the end of WWII, and in 1946 married her high school sweetheart, Mush Hartmann.

In 2004, Elsie and Mush were chosen as Livingston County Senior Citizens of the Year representing the Town of West Sparta.

Elsie has six children, thirteen grandchildren and eight great-great grandchildren and is happiest when her house is filled with family.

She is very talented both artistically and musically. She still sings in her church choir and plays the hand bells. At various times in her life Elsie played the violin, piano, flute, tap-danced, was involved in various singing groups, and participated in community theatre.

In 2014, Elsie had the honor of participating in Rochester Honor Flight mission No. 35 and that same year, was chosen as the honorary Grand Marshall of West Sparta's Old-Fashioned Day celebration.