MILLEDGEVILLE – After an extended illness, Kurt J. Hartje, 42, was received into God’s loving kingdom on July 16, 2014.
Kurt was born April 25, 1972, the son of Gary and Judy (Daw) Hartje. He was a member of Milledgeville United Methodist Church. He graduated from Milledgeville High School in 1990 and completed his bachelor’s degree in English at Northern Illinois University. While at NIU, he received the Orville Baker Top Junior English Writer Award, was in the honors program, and participated in many Habitat for Humanity trips. He completed a year of internship at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan, with degrees in English, history, and Japanese.
Kurt began his teaching career with the AEON Corp. in Japan. He later was hired by Osaka Shoin Women’s University and was a part-time lecturer for the city of Ibaraki’s Chamber of Commerce/City Officials at the Ibaraki Life Long Learning Center. Kurt especially was proud to have earned his Level 4 CELTA certificate from the University of Cambridge and to have completed certification from the School for International Training. He was a member of JALT, serving as the Osaka Chapter treasurer from 2007 to 2012. Kurt established his own private school, “Kurt’s Place,” where he used his Japanese speaking skills instructing multiple ages of students in speaking English. Kurt married Tomoko Okada in the summer of 2001. They lived together in Japan for 11 years.
Kurt enjoyed traveling by train and biking in the mountains. He loved fishing, sitting around a campfire, and reminiscing with good friends. He cherished spending time with his niece and nephews – swimming, playing ball, and swapping stories. Kurt was a prankster, but always showed his wit and wisdom through his humble and soft-spoken nature. He was a proud member of the “Smurfs.” His magnetic personality enraptured everyone he met.
Kurt is remembered by his mom and dad; brother, Brady Hartje, and his son, Jacob; sister and brother-in-law, Talisa and Jeremy Pauley, and their children, Sydney, Zachary, and Gabriel; and grandmother, Dorothea Daw, all of Milledgeville. He also is held in the hearts of numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Kurt is preceded in death by his maternal grandpa, Harland Daw; paternal grandpa, Al, and grandma, Ethel Hartje; and one cousin, Alexander DawTyne.
Family services will be private. A campfire memorial celebration of Kurt’s life for family and friends will be at 3 p.m. July 26 at the home of Judy Hartje. McDonald Funeral Home in Milledgeville is handling arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, the family has established a memorial scholarship in Kurt’s name.