Austrians and Austria in Boston, Massachusetts, New England
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In Memory Of

Tuesday, June 16, 2020
(1932 - 2020)

Wareham-Karl Heinz Muehlmann, 81, of Waltham, passed away at his summer home in Wareham on Wednesday June 17, 2020.
During his career, Dr. Heinz Muehlmann was an economic advisor to Massachusetts Governors Frank Sargent, Ed King, Bill Weld, and Paul Cellucci. In addition, he was the Chief Economist for Jobs for Massachusetts, Inc., and Associated Industries of Massachusetts.
Early in his career, while teaching Economics at Bentley University, Heinz consulted for the Department of Commerce and Development. With assistance from Robert Kenney and Rena Kottcamp, Heinz prepared an analysis of the Massachusetts economy, which became known as “The Muehlmann Report on Economic Strategy.”
Heinz’ signature public accomplishment was creating the economics behind Massachusetts Proposition 2½, which limits property tax assessments and automobile excise tax levies. The late Barbara Anderson, Executive Director of Citizens for Limited Taxation, shepherded Proposition 2½ to a ballot victory. They became life-long friends. Barbara referred to Heinz as her “favorite local Austrian-born economist” tutor, who supported small government, protection of private property, and individualism in general.
Economics was Heinz’ second career. When he arrived in the U.S., he brought with him a nurtured childhood from his home town Zell am See, a solid education from Salzburg, a degree from the Vienna University of Economics and Business, and a growth mindset and self-discipline. Heinz was also a state-certified ski instructor, who had perfected his signature “Follow me” pedagogy. For his students, this was easier said than done, because Heinz negotiated any triple black diamond slope gracefully in blue jeans, his favorite ski pants.
Heinz’ first role in the U.S. was to coach the Northern Michigan University ski team, where he also earned a Master of Arts from the School of Graduate Studies, learned about the regional economy as well as Midwestern values and life. Heinz continued teaching skiing professionally in New England, in the Sugarloaf and Stratton mountain resorts. He abandoned his professional ski instructor career at age 33 and turned to what Richard Cunningham called “an economic mountain top called Jobs.”
Besides skiing, Heinz was a lifelong competitive athlete, who enjoyed playing tennis, sailing, fishing (especially striped bass and bluefish), and lobstering. He liked flying gliders in the Alps in earlier years. Heinz also became an ice hockey referee, which led to a role at the 1964 Olympic Games in Innsbruck. His trophies included the first place in the Vienna Academic Championship slalom competition, mixed doubles at Sippican Tennis Club and Mount Auburn Club, arguably with the help of his infamous drop shot, as well as Senior races at Bourne Cove Yacht Club.
Heinz’ favorite role was, however, being the father of his three children Sonja, Martha, and Carl. A family man, he loved teaching them sports, taking them out water skiing and fishing on Buzzards Bay, going on ski trips and vacations with them, and passing on to them what he knew. One of Carl’s favorite memories is a day, which they started in Wareham catching lobsters in Buzzard’s Bay before driving to Killington, Vermont, for a day of skiing, and returning to Wareham in the evening. In recent years, Heinz awaited his grandchildren with his boat and fishing rods ready for adventure when they visited Wareham in the summer.
Heinz welcomed opportunities to be creative, whether as an economist or in the kitchen, initially cooking and baking for his family, and later also for friends. A signature three-course meal would start with his Manhattan Clam Chowder, followed by a main course of Wiener Schnitzel from turkey tenderloins with parsley fingerling potatoes and cranberry sauce. Heinz’ popular Linzer Torte made from scratch with walnuts and red currant jelly, often prepared on Sunday afternoons during football season, would be served for dessert. His last invention was the Linzer Cupcake, a small Linzer Torte designed to serve one person.
A son of the late Hermann and Martha (Vorderegger) Muehlmann, Heinz will be missed greatly by many. He is survived by Brigitte Wudernitz Muehlmann, his second wife and soul mate, whom he met in Boston after his first marriage had ended in divorce, his children Sonja Fay Muehlmann and her husband Philip Chu of Monrovia, CA, Martha Muehlmann of Mautern, Austria, and Carl Eliot Muehlmann and his wife Amalia Daskalakis of New York, NY, his grandchildren Amelia Mary Chu, Collis Eliot Chu, Maya Juliana Muehlmann and Livio Nikola Muehlmann, brothers Hermann and Hansjoerg Muehlmann, loving nieces and nephews, cousins, and loyal friends near and far.
Heinz was able to spend his final days at home and die in his wife’s arms as he had wished, thanks to the compassionate and open-minded continuous care provided by Community Nurse Home Care of Fairhaven. Gifts to the agency in Heinz’ memory would be appreciated. URL:
Funeral services in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, and in Zell am See, Austria, will be private. A celebration of Heinz’ life will be held at Sippican Tennis Club at a later date to be announced. Heinz’ memoir “Slalom Racer” is in progress. To leave a message of condolence for the family, please visit

Tuesday, June 16, 2020
(1932 - 2020)

Ortrud Koob was born in Altlandsberg, Germany on February 18, 1932.  She and her husband, Hermann, were married in 1954 and came to the USA in 1957, living in Needham. In 1979, they moved to Weston. Together they enjoyed walking, gardening, cross-country skiing, and vacationing to Vermont, Canada, Austria, and Germany. After Hermann passed away in 1988, Ortrud continued with most of these activities including annual trips to Europe.
Ortrud initially worked as a bookkeeper at several local companies including American Cyanamid and Xerox.  She later earned a  Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Bentley University in 1984 and continued to work in the accounting field. After retiring from full-time work, Ortrud transitioned into billing for small medical practices.  She continued working with several long-time clients until recently.
Ortrud was a longtime and active Life Member of the Austro-American Association. She participated in many of their events and enjoyed meeting her friends there, making her a Wahlösterreicherin. Ortrud would always bring delcious cakes and they disappeared quickly.
was also a member of SOLO (Sudbury Opera Lovers Organization) that met once a month and also brought her home made desserts to these events where they were thoroughly enjoyed. In addition, Ortrud attended many other opera lectures that were given in the Boston area and was very enthusiastic about continuing to learn about one of her favorite topics.
Ortrud was also part of a small group of congenial and close friends who attended concerts together and went to dinner afterwards. Occasionally they met in Cambridge for luncheon.  These get-togethers were very much enjoyed by all, so much so that they tended to last all afternoon.
Ortrud’s family and friends are heartbroken and devastated by her sudden passing on June 6th. She was a very Independent, resourceful, positive, and vibrant person and a dear friend to all who knew her. Her godchild, Ellen, loved to have her at their family gathering and Holidays and enjoyed wonderful times together.
Ortrud was a treasure in her lifetime and will continue to be in our memories,  and is survived by many relatives in Germany as well as two cousins and her godchild in New England.

Friday, May 22, 2020
(May 18, 1930 - May 13, 2020)

We very sadly announce the passing of Lita Siagel on the 13th of May 2020, 5 days before her 90th birthday.  She was a long-term active member of the Austro-American Association and a very special friend of Renate Yasigian for over 50 years.  Lita was a frequent and wonderful culinary contributor to many of our events.
She was born in Shanghai, China on May 18, 1930 and in 1949 left and spent the next two years in Hong Kong and Italy before moving to the United States in 1951 where she and her husband raised three children. (Dan, Stephanie, and Errin). Lita was full of passion and love and she had many interests including entertaining, fashion, design, flower arranging, and travel, although family was always her first priority.
Lita was an incredible cook and took great joy in preparing meals for her family and friends. She loved reading and was forever juggling multiple books at a time. Eternally curious, she frequently visited museums, attended lectures, and loved ballet. She was fluent in Russian, French, Italian, and English.
Her floral shop, Tiger Lily in Copley Square, offered a public outlet for Lita's flower arranging and design talents and she was recognized for her impeccable taste and style. It was here that Lita created many masterpieces for several of the best area hotels and special events.
Lita was a loving grandmother to 6 children and great-grandmother to 5 others in her family.
Losing her to complications from COVID-19 reminds us of the difficult time we are living in now. Lita will be greatly missed by those whose lives she touched, and she will always be remembered for her deep appreciation for life and its beauty.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Robert was born on April 2, 1927 in Patchogue, N.Y. His grandfather was a medical doctor who visited his patients with a horse and buggy and received as payment chickens and other goods. His father Earle Z. Sittler was a high school teacher and his mother Hattie Sittler (Homm) taught for a short time in a one room schoolhouse.
Robert played the clarinet in the High School band and after graduating served in the U.S. Navy in 1946. He was a Recipient of a Victory Medal. He then attended MIT from 1948-1951 graduating with B.S. (Bachelor of Science) in Electrical Engineering.
In 1952 S.M (Master of Science) in EE and in 1954 Sc. D. In EE (Doctor of Science) Statistical Communication and Control Theory.
It was said that Robert might have been the smartest student at MIT at that time. His first job after MIT was as an engineer/scientist at Lincoln Laboratories working on the SAGE air defense system (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) from 1954 to 1960. He made track-while-scan contributions and also programmed the largest computer in the world at that time. He worked on the Cold War NORAD tracking Russian bombers from north US and Canada.
On March 1, 1960 he founded ARCON Corporation along with two friends and Colleagues who he had worked with at Lincoln Lab.
The company started out in Lexington, MA, then moved to Wakefield and finally to Waltham.
Robert was the technical wizard who brought in high-level defense and FAA contracts. He solved the hardest technical and mathematical problems these contracts contained.
During his ARCON years, he developed tracking systems, many that are still in use by the FAA today. His Alpha-Beta tracker was incorporated in tracking aircraft as they land and take off from US airports. We all have been safely tracked by Robert's system when we have flown. His reputation in the FAA was legendary. Two senior level FAA people appeared at ARCON just to meet with Robert. They had a big problem that Mitre could not solve. Robert was a great mentor of younger engineers and scientists at ARCON. In fact the current technical director developed his current tracking expertise while working under Robert's tutelage.
Robert had a wide range of technical interests: Chemistry, Computer design and programming in machine language, and Egyptology - he even learned to read ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, after returning from a trip to Egypt in the early 1990s. One of his colleague's spouse introduced Robert to Hana Strobl and they married in a civil ceremony in Cambridge on August 12, 1976. A church wedding followed in Vienna, Austria on August 21.
Robert liked to dance and took lessons in Cambridge, Wayland and on Cape Cod in Harwich Port at the Wychmere Harbor Club with Hana where they vacationed in the summer. He loved nature, especially birds and all other animals. He was a long time member of the Austro-American Association of Boston and enjoyed particularly the Christmas Parties and the Annual Dinners at the Wayside Inn. He was also very fond of the Strauss Ball given at the Boylston Schulverein. He was a quiet man and liked small dinner parties with dear friends and a stimulating conversation. According to him there was only one great composer - Mozart.
Robert as a person, was just a stellar guy. He was honest and sensitive to the people he worked with. He was viewed as the 'Integrity Compass' of ARCON. With customers he was honest and true, making no promises he could not keep. So he has left a real legacy. He is dear to the heart of ARCON and will be missed. Robert passed away on March 30, 2020. His funeral took place on April 2, 2020, That was also his birthday. He was buried at the Wadsworth Cemetery in Sudbury. The Chairman and former president of ARCON gave a beautiful eulogy. Robert was a devoted husband, the soul of a man with a big heart.
He is survived by his beloved wife Hana, cousins, and his treasured pet, a turtle named Goldi. Robert will be missed by ALL but will stay in our hearts forever.

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