When an Army officer came to his home in West Penn Township and told him his daughter, Jennifer, an Army sergeant, was missing in Iraq and presumed dead, David Hartman quickly called her cell phone.
Jennifer Hartman's phone only had 25 minutes of pre-paid time left.
"I was just praying to God to hear her voice: "Pick up, pick up, please pick up,"' said David Hartman.
David Hartman kept calling. "Then, there were no more minutes left," he said.
His daughter, his first-born, his smart, strong-willed, dirt- bike-riding, four-wheeling buddy, the young woman who savored life to its fullest, died on Sept. 14 when a suicide truck bomber attacked her barracks, killing Hartman and two other soldiers and wounding 30 others.
She turned 21 in May.
On Saturday, the Hartman family -- her father, her mother Bernice, brother Brian and sister Katie -- said goodbye with a funeral service that drew hundreds of people and at least 100 bikers -- including the Patriot Guard Riders, the Soldiers' Angels, Wheels of Valor and the Leathernecks -- who held American flags as they stood shoulder to shoulder surrounding Hartman's Funeral Home, on Route 309, a few miles from the family's house.
The funeral home owners are not related to Jennifer Hartman's family.
Inside the funeral home, mourners signed a large poster board covered with photos of Hartman with her friends.
"Jen, you are a hero to us all," Chris Coombe wrote.
Her medals -- a Bronze Star, Purple Heart and a Good Conduct medal -- lay on a table. A large picture of her in uniform was beside the brass urn containing her remains.
Hartman's classmates from Tamaqua Area High School, who said they tried to talk her out of signing up, gathered in small, tearful groups, the thought of never seeing her again too much for them.
"Just to see her smile. Just to see her be goofy," said Kenya Garcia, his voice trailing off.
Heather Hill remembered Hartman as determined to "teach us how not to be girly-girls."
Hartman razzed one classmate who applied makeup before each class.
"What are you doing that for? You don't need makeup. No one needs makeup," Hill recalled her friend saying.
Hartman had a way of "saying something goofy" that would make a downcast friend laugh, Hill said.
"She's probably looking down and yelling at us for getting dressed up and crying," Hill said.
Eyes glistening, she looked down. "This is so hard"
Hundreds bid farewell to 'hero'
Family, friends of Sgt. Jennifer Hartman, who died in Iraq attack, recall a woman who loved life.
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.
Los Angeles Times welcomes civil dialogue about our stories; you must register with the site to participate. We filter comments for language and adherence to our Terms of Service, but not for factual accuracy. By commenting, you agree to these legal terms. Please flag inappropriate comments.
Having technical problems? Check here for guidance.