Hildegard Maria Rose Flinchbaugh

Hildegard Maria Rose Flinchbaugh, known to her family and friends as “Heidi,” died on Wednesday, March 13, 2024. Her memory will live in the hearts of many people as a beautiful, inspiring, caring gift of God. Her spirit of friendship, peace, encouragement, hope and love changed many lives.

Heidi was a considerate, generous and loving wife, caregiver, and mother. She was the kind of person who was liked and respected by everyone who met her. She inspired feelings of wisdom, trust and compassion. She encouraged friends and family to be loving and compassionate, too–hugs and kisses were standard greetings! From the moment you saw her beautiful smile, you felt a degree of comfort and peacefulness that few people ever give. Heidi was truly “one of a kind.”

Heidi was born and raised in New Jersey, the daughter of Professor Ernst and Hildegard Rose. She met her future husband David on an Outing Club activity between Vassar and Union Colleges. She earned a degree at Vassar in plant physiology, learning how plants thrive to provide food and life for the world. She was offered an appointment to teach and earn a Master of Science degree at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

When Heidi met David, it was love at first sight! They married in the beautiful Vassar College Shakespeare Gardens on Saturday, June 15, 1957. The following Sunday they drove to the President Chester Allen Arthur gardens on the Union College campus for David’s graduation. They spent their honeymoon camping in their 1957 Chevrolet station wagon in the Genessee River Valley, the “Grand Canyon of the East.” Heidi made curtains and David installed electrical power in their “home on wheels.”
Heidi and David were dedicated to each other for more than 67 years. With the help of the Heavenly Father, they created a loving family of two sons and two daughters.

Heidi finished her Master’s Thesis Defense at Cornell that summer while David worked at IBM. Then they moved to Cleveland, Ohio where Heidi worked at Silver Cross Hospital while David continued to earn advanced degrees in atomic and nuclear physics. Heidi and David both loved music. They sang in the Messiah Choir in Cleveland as well as other groups. They also worked together, inventing medical tools and methodologies to prevent death from deadly infections.

Heidi and David saw their work as a way to use their blessings and God-given talents to contribute to society. It was in honor of their savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. In following him, they prayed together for encouragement in this lifelong mission. Day and night, they dedicated their talents and resources to help others in every way that they could. They have always been devoted to the Christian way as giving real meaning for the gift of life. They had the assurance that God loves them and that they should always be positive.

Heidi and David raised their family first in Andover, Connecticut, and then in Orlando, Florida. They chose a beautiful house on Big Oaks Lane on Lake Conway in 1968. Heidi loved to swim and earned the Presidential Sports Award for swimming over fifty miles a year many times. Heidi always made friends wherever they lived, worked or studied, making for a wonderful life that was more meaningful and fulfilling.

Heidi suffered through three potentially fatal cancers and endured multiple operations. She is now at peace and not suffering from earthly maladies or pain. For that, we give thanks to God.

Heidi is survived by her loving husband David; their children William, Laura, Karen and Karl; three grandchildren; one great-granddaughter, and a niece, Claire. We loved Heidi and always will.

A celebration of life will be held on March 28, at 6 p.m. at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, located at 1655 Peel Ave. in Orlando.

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