Amelia Hatrak (née Callas) died peacefully in West Caldwell Care Center on June 16 at the age of 89. She lived the majority of her adult life in Montclair, where she left an enduring legacy in the arts and education.
Ms. Hatrak, who was known as Amy, is survived by her former husband Theodore (Ted) Stevens Hatrak; her children, Christopher Stevens Hatrak and Melissa Decker Hatrak; and her siblings, George Callas of Brielle and Stephen Callas of Washington, D.C.
She was born on July 22, 1927, in Milltown, to Agnes and Stephen Callas. She graduated summa cum laude from The College of New Jersey in 1950 with a bachelor of science degree in education, and minor in fine art.
Ms. Hatrak was one of five education graduates from the state of New Jersey chosen to teach the children of American military stationed in Germany after World War II. In Europe she married her college sweetheart, Ted Hatrak, who served in the American military in Italy. The couple bought a home in Montclair and taught school in Essex Fells and Montclair, and eventually opened The Academy of Musical Arts in Montclair where Ted Hatrak was creative director. They also were active in the Montclair Operetta Club where Ted served as musical director.
Between 1962 and 1965, the couple welcomed two adopted children into their home. The couple divorced amicably in the 1980s.
As a young woman, Ms. Hatrak was a showroom model for Oleg Cassini, who created some of the most famous looks for Jackie Kennedy. Through her work with the Montclair Junior League she became an early director of the Israel Crane House Museum, and was instrumental in creating their docent program. She was a coauthor of “Fanny Pierson Crane: Her Receipts” and “The Thirteen Colonies Cookbook,” and contributed a food column in the now defunct New Jersey Good Life Magazine. She furthered her education at the James Fenimore Cooper Museum and the New York School of Interior Design. She was a guest lecturer at historic homes throughout the country on 18th- and 19th-century American domestic arts and food.
She later became a interior designer and won The Preservation award from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for her work on Burrage House in Boston. She served as president of the Friends of Barnet sister-city organization. She won Woman of the Year in the Arts from the Montclair Women’s Club, The Rosemary Circle Award from the Herb Society of America, and an annual award is given in her name by the Garden Club of Montclair.
A funeral will be held on Saturday, July 8, at 10 a.m., at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 73 South Fullerton Ave., Montclair, with a reception to follow at 191 Alexander Ave., Montclair. All are welcome. Memorial donations may be made to The Amy Hatrak Memorial Fund at gofundme.com/amy-hatrak-memorial-fund.