Hans Albert Albertson, DVM On Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008, Dr. Hans Albertson passed away quietly in his sleep at Westwind Gardens, in Fairfield, CA. He was preceded in death by Irmgard Renner, his beautiful bride of 57 years. He was born Hans Albert Smolinksi in Bilderweitschen Germany to Elizabeth Steinbacher and Albert Smolinski, on July 27, 1919. Hans was drafted into the German Army in 1940. He began his service as a spotter for anti-aircraft gunners. When the Paratrooper Division was created later that year, he eagerly volunteered. In 1941, Hans joined his fellow paratroopers in the first major airborne attack in history during the invasion of Crete. In the fall of that year, Hans was wounded, fighting on the Russian front. Following lengthy treatment of his wounds, he was sent in Nov. 1942 to the War Academy in Berlin where he studied and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. He and his troops were sent to North Africa to help cover Rommel's retreat and stop the invasion from the west. Leading his men on an attack on a British occupied hill, he was severely wounded when he was shot in the left side of his head. One of his young soldiers dragged him to an area where he would be found by the British. Now a prisoner of war, he received treatment for his wounds, after which he was transferred by the British to the Americans. He was brought to the prisoner of war camp in Crossville, TN where he was housed with fellow officers and well cared for until the end of WWII. Later in his life, he wrote of his experiences in the camp and in 1993 donated the unpublished manuscript My Memories of the Prisoner of War Camp in Crossville to the Special Collections Library at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, see excerpts at www.traces.org. After being returned to Europe, Hans was held as a prisoner of war in Attichy by the French in life threatening conditions. He was finally allowed to return to Germany where he was formally discharged in January 1946. After a lengthy search he located his parents who were themselves now refugees. He pursued his doctorate degree in veterinary medicine at the Univ. of Munich. While a student, he and Irmgard were married on Sept. 10, 1949. Following his graduation, Hans and Irmgard decided to emigrate and make their life in America. Hans arrived in March of 1952, on the SS Constitution following his bride who had come the year before. They made their new home in San Francisco, California. While studying for his State Board Exams, Hans worked at Pets Unlimited and changed his name to Albertson, honoring his father's first name, to better assimilate into American culture. Hans later went on to purchase and operate two very successful small animal veterinary clinics in San Francisco. It was during this time that Hans and Irmgard joyfully welcomed the birth of their two beautiful daughters, Barbara and Suzi. Hans moved his family to Cotati, where he and Irmgard purchased and renovated an old home and chicken feed factory in 1963. They created a beautiful private home and natural gardens filled with wildlife and beautiful trees which he particularly loved. They also established the Alpine Pet Hospital where Hans practiced until his retirement in 1981. Hans was a member of the Cotati Lion's Club and Hermann Sons. Hans and Irmgard relocated to Napa in 2002 to be near Irmgard's sister. Hans truly loved animals and they were a large part of his home throughout his life. From Chihuahuas to Great Danes, and all manner of cats, to horses, he and his family lovingly kept and cared for many animals. He never lost his love of all animals, both tame and wild. He had great respect for the intelligence of crows and the spirit of elephants. As a soldier, Hans was thoughtful and dedicated to his men. As a veterinarian, he was highly thorough, professional and loved by his clients. Though shy, Hans was gracious, charming and generous. He and Irmgard were known for the many festive celebrations at their home. He was a lifelong student of philosophy, world history, politics, and languages. Above all he was very much loved, respected and admired by family and friends, and will be greatly missed. His is survived by two daughters and their partners, Barbara Irene Smolinski and Oscar Perales of Castroville; and Suzi Albertson and Bob Orser of Napa. Also surviving is his sister in Germany, Ursula Nicklaus, widow of Heinz Nicklaus, and their children Sabine Uhlig and Wolfgang Frorman as well as grandnieces and nephews and their children. He is also survived by sister-in-law, Judy Gates of Napa, his nieces Diane Gates, and Sharon Wilson and husband Randy Wilson and their daughters Sarah, and Anna. No service was held. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family online at www.treadwayand wiggerfuneralchapel.com

source: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article/article?f=/c/a/2008/10/05/MNALBERTSO1.DTL