BLANCHE HARFFEY HIGHER EDUCATION FUND
BLANCHE S. HARFFEY
January 15, 1911 – May 19, 2005
Branche Shainline was born on January 15, 1911, near Norristown, Pennsylvania of German descent. She became a Registered Nurse serving in the Army Nursing Corps during World War II, retiring as a Captain. She eventually moved to the South Jersey area and became an instructor in the Atlantic City Hospital Nursing School located on Pacific Ave. During this time, while in her forties, she married Charles Harffey and they eventually made their home in Northfield. Blanche and Charles never had children of their own, but the kids of Epiphany Lutheran Church, the children of her friends, and the kids in the neighborhood became her children. She loved them all, and taught many of them this prayer which she said every morning,
“Good morning God, you have ushered in another day, untouched and freshly new, so here I come to ask you God if you'll renew me to forgive the many wrongs I made yesterday and let me again, dear God to walk closer to your ways, but Father I'm well aware that I cannot do it on my own, so take my hand, hold it tight, I cannot walk alone.”
We believe that one of Blanche’s life sorrows was never being a mom, but for that sorrow God compensated her by making her a mother to many. Soldiers buzzed by bombs, blinded by shrapnel, wounded by bullets, or one that died as she held his hand, she called him “her guys”. If you were one of her students in nursing school or mentored in your first year on the ward or floor, you were one of “her girls”. If you were an intern, you were one of “her Docs”, but if you needed a quick lesson in bedside manner, she would take you down a peg or two. Dearest to her heart were the children of Epiphany, her neighborhood children, or grandchildren of friends.
Blanche had no family and in the early nineties she spoke to Pastor Neil Jaggie about creating a lasting legal legacy. She wanted “her kids” to be alive, to be faithful, to be servants, and to have the opportunities for growth and education easier than she experienced during her youth. She donated a sum of money that would provide the principle for seeing that “her church kids” could better see their dreams and opportunities that she envisioned for them come to fruition. Her desire was to establish a Higher Education Scholarship Fund. Today this fund, which bears her name, through her initiative and the ongoing support of both herself and other donors who shared her vision. The Blanche Harffey Higher Education Scholarship Fund was established on November 19, 1999, and since that time on a yearly basis has helped many Christian youth with their educational costs.
Upon her death in May 2005, at the age of 94, her estate set up a trust fund that puts interest or dividends into the principal of the fund four times every year. The Blanche Harffey Higher Education Scholarship Fund has grown quite large and has helped many of “her kids”. Applications for the scholarship are available in January each year from Reformation Lutheran Church and must be returned by March 31st of each year. Five church members and the Pastor serve as the Scholarship Committee. We had ten applicants for the school year 2022-2023 and each one will be receiving nearly $6000.
And we always say: “Thank God for Blanche Harffey”
Contributors to this biography: Phyllis “Mimi” Phelps, Rev. Neil Jaggie, Clare Brick, and Curtis Hinmon.
Photo credits: Rev. Neil Jaggie & Nancy Tranovich.