Joe Hahn played many roles. He was a yoga instructor, environmentalist, church activist, husband and father.
“He followed a more Eastern philosophy, and thought…our environment, our Earth, and our spirit were all part of who we are, and we not only have to take care of our fellow man, but the Earth,” said LuAnn Day, a Reisterstown resident and chairperson. She knew Hahn from their Finksburg church, Cedarhurst Unitarian Universalists.
The 51-year-old died Tuesday morning at his Eldersburg home after a four-month battle with cancer.
Many in Reisterstown, like owner Lauretta Nagel, knew Hahn from his time teaching yoga at the purple barn on Main Street, which is now home to .
“He was working with me, trying to get rid of my carpel tunnel syndrome,” she said. “He took time outside of class to help me.”
Hahn shared his passion with in January, when he was teaching donation-based classes at his church.
“Yoga is very open to ideas, exploration--new ideas that may come from other traditions by its very nature,” he said.
When he wasn’t perfecting yoga poses, he was helping his church in its charitable activities. Every 4th of July, Hahn would rally volunteers to help feed needy Carroll County residents at in Westminster. He’d always help out with the church’s Angel Tree project at Christmas and coordinate his church's efforts to help Reisterstown's Community Crisis Center. He also served as the church’s social justice trustee and kept environmental issues a priority.
“He was very much into the environment and pushing for the church to become greener and members of the church to care more about the environment,” Day said.
She remembers him as a peaceful force in church matters.
“He was always the calm of the storm,” she said. “I never heard him raise his voice.”
His enlightened sense of self led him to write a book called “The Five Gifts: Experiencing the Divine in Everyday Life.” He was planning to do a book signing at Constellation Books in September, but his illness prevented it. Nagel said the book is about seeing life as a gift and how to have a greater sense of well-being. She may hold a memorial signing with his family in the future.
owner Alice Reid, for whom Hahn was client and a friend, remembers him as a gentle man and a deep thinker who saw yoga as his life’s calling. As a licensed minister in the New Thought Center for Spiritual Living, she has been counseling Hanh’s family--his wife, Cathy, and 14-year-old daughter, Rose--through the process.
Reid said Hahn remained present throughout the process, and while he didn’t welcome death, he handled it with “a presence of mind that was amazing to witness,” she said.
“I think the thing Joe taught through his death was to be present and really embrace anything life has to offer you, even death.”
Hahn focused on facing death in his blog in August, writing about how he did not want to dwell on death but be fully engaged in life for whatever time he had left.
“Only by living in this world can I make things better, can I have a positive impact, can I express and fulfill the mission that brought me here,” he wrote. “So, I choose to live.”
The family will receive friends a viewing tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Jeffrey N. Zumbrun Funeral Home at 6028 Sykesville Road in Eldersburg. Church services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Cedarhurst Unitarian Universalist church in Finksburg. Sympathies may be expressed in the form of contributions to the Westminster or the Community Crisis Center of Reisterstown. Online condolences may be made to www.jnzumbrunfuneralhome.com, which provided this information.
Editor’s note: Staff writer Melissa French contributed to this story.