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Official Obituary of

Wolfgang Klaus Halfpap

February 21, 1936 ~ March 6, 2024 (age 88) 88 Years Old

Wolfgang Halfpap Obituary

Wolfgang Klaus Wilhelm Halfpap was born on February 21, 1936 in Glowitz, Pommern,  a province of Prussia, which later became part of Germany. He was born to a baker, Wilhelm Halfpap and his wife Erna Prochnow Halfpap. The family emigrated to Cottbus Madlow, which later became East Germany when Wolfgang was a small child so that his father could open a bakery. Wolfgang was very musically inclined and studied piano and later the accordion; he could play by ear. His parents went on to divorce and Wolgang’s stepfather Walter Masch was a very influential person in his life, especially seeing to it that he could study music.

As an only child, his lifelong love of animals developed due to the loving companionship of the German Shepherds they had when he was growing up.

​Wolfgang experienced WWII as a young child, and it left its scars. After the war, he refused to participate in any of the Communist Party “Jugend Vereine” activities for young people. He chose the path of a tailor, so that he would not have to join the party in order to pursue higher education. As a younger man, he was very intrigued with American Western movies and the democratic government in the U.S. and decided he wanted to emigrate to the United States.

​Before the Wall between East and West Germany was completed, he was able to “escape” to the West on a train with his good friend Fritz under the ploy of having to attend a wedding ceremony. The two young men had to live in a refugee camp in West Germany for two years before being allowed to emigrate. Fritz remained in Germany but Wolfgang was able to realize his dream and emigrate to America. He was proud of the fact that when he took a ship to New Jersey at the age of 18, he did not have to be processed through Ellis Island in NYC.

​Wolfgang was very lucky to be sponsored by his cousin Ursula Johnson and her husband Bill Johnson in Chicago, where he pursued trade school in Tool and Die. Wolfgang was  fortunate to be surrounded by aunts, uncles and cousins in the Chicagoland area; he felt indebted to them his whole life. His Tante Elizabeth and Onkel Alfred Neubieser were also instrumental in helping him start his new life in America, along with his Tante Traute and Onkel Leo Schroeder. His cousins Gary and Alfred Neubieser, Karin Schroeder, Ursula Johnson, and Loerchen Briedes were very special to him along with their children: Grant, Eric, Leslie, Mark, Christine, Michael, Marci, Shep and Peter.

Back in Germany as a young man, Wolfgang had learned to dance. This led him to frequent the German Dance Halls in Chicago on weekends with other German immigrants, which is where he eventually met and then married Elizabeth Pfeifer. They had two daughters, Sandy and Gina, along with three grandchildren: Adam, Elizabeth and Ashley. He eventually divorced. Sometime afterwards, he met his life partner of 35 years, Katherine Hughes.

​Wolfgang had a passion for reading and history, spending much of his free time devouring newspapers, magazines and history books. He shared that passion for books with his partner Katherine, a retired librarian. Wolfgang carried his love of animals into old age; he and Katherine adopted a number of cats over the years. He always enjoyed a good meal, you could easily find him hunting down restaurants with tasty desserts to feed his “sweet tooth,” which more often than not, ended up being ice cream. 

​Wolfgang had many lifelong friends over the years from Germany, like the Schroschk’s and through his work with self- help groups; he dedicated his time to these groups for 30+ years. Wolfgang lived to the ripe old age of 88, and we know he would appreciate you remembering him today.  Family and friends to meet at the office of Concordia Cemetery on April 2, 2024 at 10:45 am where a graveside service will be held.  Info. 708-366-2200 or  Arrangements entrusted to Zimmerman-Harnett Funeral Home.

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Graveside Service
April 2, 2024

11:00 AM
Concordia Cemetery
7900 W. Madison Street
Forest Park, IL 60130

Please note
Family and friends of Wolfgang to meet at the cemetery office at 10:45am on Tuesday, April 2, 2024.


Nourish for Caregivers
900 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook IL 60062


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