Maunreen Hartmann was born on July 19, 1941 in Woodland California, the second of five children. She died on January 7, 2019 in her apartment in Oakland. 

Hartmann smiles for a photo while serving food to the homeless in People's Park.
Maureen serves breakfast at People’s Park (JC Orton)

Maureen grew up in a small town called Spreckels, Monterey County, as well as in San Rafael. She was a creative child, often transforming flowers into dancing people using toothpicks and her imagination. She was also a voracious reader, always carrying a book in hand. 

Maureen attended parochial school and graduated from Dominican University. She earned three Masters Degrees: One from, Duquesne University in Philosophy, one from San Jose State University in Library Science, and the one from Graduate Theological Union in Theology. 

She loved to write, and had many articles in Street Spirit. Notably, she wrote a column called “Where to Eat When You’re On the Street,” which was a guide to the meals for the homeless in Berkeley. Maureen was always happy to see her work in print, and would often send out copies of her published work to friends and family members. She published her writing and poetry in various journals and collections. 

Throughout her life, Maureen kept busy. She was employed as an instructor at Marywood College in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and later with the United Farm Workers in Delano, California, as well as by the City of Oakland. She was an active member of the Hesed Community, and a Franciscan and Julian associate. Tasting her way through Berkeley as research for her Street Spirit column, she also became a frequent volunteer at meals for the homeless as well. 

Maureen also had a deep sense of social responsibility. She was very proud of having been arrested several times for civil disobedience. For years She was a faithful attendee at the Circle of Concern, publicly protesting against nuclear power every single week. 

Besides figuring out ways to be helpful, spending time with friends, and lobbying for social justice, fun for Maureen was reading dense and religious texts, listening to KDFC, and watching Nature or Frontline on TV. She was also an avid walker. Friends will remember that if you offered to give her a ride in your car, she would likely say no. Being a congregant, reader, and altar guild member at St. Paul’s church in Oakland were all important parts of her later years. 

Beth Hartmann is Maureen Hartmann’s sister. Emma Estrada is a writer who lives in Los Angeles and a UC Berkeley graduate.