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Henry Trapp Jr.


Henry Trapp Jr. of Solebury Township, Pa., passed away April 9, 2019, at Neshaminy Manor longterm care facility, Warrington, Pa.

Born in Lakewood, Ohio, he was the beloved son of Eva Wiener Trapp and Henry Trapp Sr., and brother of Barbara Trapp Walker, who preceded him in death.

He was the loving and supportive husband of Erika Lydia Koerber Trapp, proud father of Barbara Lydia Trapp and Henry Joseph Trapp, delighted grandfather of April Elizabeth Ross, loved older brother of Evelyn Trapp Goodrick and brother-in-law Richard Goodrick and admired brother-in-law of Dorit Koerber Herman, and husband Thomas Herman.

Henry’s parents sold a cow to add funds to his summer earnings and scholarship at Wooster College, Ohio. World War II interrupted his education there, but a shoulder injury after a year, three months and 14 days in the Navy (as he would recount on request) earned him an honorable discharge, and he was able to graduate at Wooster with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. With a Master in Geology from Washington University in St. Louis, he began his career as oil scout for the State of Missouri and continued as geologist for the Atlantic Refining Company (later ARCO) in Wyoming and Montana, where he enjoyed elk, deer and duck hunting in his spare time and sometimes hunted mice in a trailer he called home while “sitting on an oil well” in the middle of nowhere.

He met Erika during rehearsals for Kurt Weill’s “Down in the Valley,” staged by the Billings, Montana Symphony. They married a year later, Henry accepted a permanent position as a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey a year after that, and Erika with baby daughter Barbara followed him to Asheville, N.C., where their son Henry Joseph was born. The Survey later transferred Henry and family to Grand Forks and Bismarck, N.D.; Tallahassee, Fla., and finally Trenton, N.J. They set up house near New Hope. Henry’s last project for the USGS was a Regional Aquifer System Analysis of the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain in parts of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and New York. He was gone a lot, while Erika “kept the home fires burning.”

In retirement, Henry studied science, religion, the arts and memoir writing at Delaware Valley University. He wrote a detailed story of his life, including his ancestors, his immigrant parents’ beginnings in the United States and his growing-up years in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. He studied microfilms at the Doylestown Public Library and the Latter-Day Saints Library in Salt Lake City and sent copies of his memoir to extended family, who responded with additions. Henry was a volunteer helping seniors with income tax preparation and briefly served on a groundwater committee in Solebury. He was a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Geological Society of America and contributed to many civic causes.

Henry was an avid reader. He also enjoyed travel, gardening and photography and liked classical and semi-classical music, singing in choirs wherever possible.

Henry and Erika joined Thompson Memorial Presbyterian Church, Solebury, where he served as elder and both were active members, serving on various committees. They sang in the choir on Sundays and in seasonal concerts, madrigals, productions of “Amahl” and the “Night Visitors” and the musical “Lazarus,” in which Henry played the part of Abraham.

Travel included almost all the states of the union while he, Erika and the children visited grandparents and extended family, former colleagues and neighbors. Travel in Europe included Berlin, where Erika got to introduce her husband to relatives and friends.

When he was no longer able to work in the garden behind his home and had to let someone else trim the fruit trees he had planted at Sunset Drive, Henry was still able to enjoy the view from a dining room window, until caring for him, even with help, became too difficult at home. [“I guess I’m not welcome here anymore,” he said, making Erika cry, but seeing how she hated to see him go,] he agreed to move to the friendly surroundings of Neshaminy Manor, with its caring, often smiling staff and a nurse who always remembered that he liked ginger ale. There were interesting programs, even prayer with Bible study once a week, and worship, with singing on Sundays, sometimes Communion if he woke up early enough, and wheelchair group exercise with Doug, who knew how to cheer up everyone. And Henry looked forward to almost daily visits from Erika and calls or visits from distant loved ones.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 8, at Thompson Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1680 Aquetong Road, Solebury. According to his wishes, Henry’s earthly body was donated to benefit medical science through the Humanity Gifts Registry.

Contributions in Henry’s memory may be made to the church (mailing address New Hope, not Solebury), to Neshaminy Manor, or to the Udall Parkinson’s Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

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