Ursula Daniel Obituary (1935 - 2018)
December 10, 2018

Ursula Daniel
(1935 – 2019)

Ursula Daniel, ursula blatter
Ursula Daniel in 2015 when she returned to Switzerland, home of her birth (Elfenau Park photo, Bern Switzerland)

Ursula Daniel died December 9, 2018 in Bern, Switzerland.
Ursula was born in Bern, Switzerland in 1935 to Fritz and Heidi (née Egger) Blatter. She studied and worked as an actress until she left Switzerland for an acting job in Vienna in 1956.

Ursula Daniel, ursula blatter
Ursula: stage actress

Soon after arriving in Austria, the Hungarian Revolution erupted in neighboring Hungary. In November 1956, a large Soviet force invaded Budapest. This trigged an exodus of Hungarian refugees that arrived in Austria seeking asylum. Ursula decided that since she was already in Vienna, helping the refuges, not pursuing her acting career, was the new priority.
She contacted the Swiss Red Cross to offer her assistance. For the next months she worked helping process incoming refugees.

In 1958 she resumed her acting career in Bogotá, Colombia. Despite paying her own way as an actress, she was unable to earn a living on the stage. She began to feel as though she was “playing the role of an actress instead of acting.” In 1961, she completed her acting career in Mountview Theater Club in London as Estelle in “In Camera”.

In 1961, Ursula married Michael Daniel and moved to the Bahamas. Michael was an architect and ardent sailor. Ursula shared neither of these passions. To fill her days, she began a radio program that addressed the underserved mental health needs of the island’s poor inhabitants. “No Man is an Island” would grow to be a popular call-in program, a show in which poor residents could reach out anonymously for mental health counseling.

The radio show prospered. Ursula and Michael’s marriage failed. In the early 1970s Ursula moved, alone, to Washington, DC. She was in her 30s.

Ursula attended Catholic University where she received her Master of Arts degree in Social Work. Upon graduation, in what she credits as one of her greatest strokes of luck, she received a position at Georgetown University as a social worker. She would work at Georgetown until the early 1990s when she expanded in to private practice.

At an age when many retire, Ursula began learning Russian, studying eastern textiles and traveling extensively. Her interest in ancient textiles led her to remote regions of India, Russia and China.
Ursula enjoyed gardening at her Palisades (Washington, DC) home. For over 40 years she cultivated her backyard oasis though this passion did not play out without drama. The raccoons that raided her aquatic garden were a source of constant consternation – and a well received BBC documentary.

Ursula continued her private practice until 2014. In 2015 Ursula returned to Switzerland where she died in late 2018. She was preceded in death by her parents and sister, Lislot Harberts. She is survived by her nephews Christian Harberts of Paris, France and Bernie Harberts of Caldwell County, North Carolina.

Her life’s joys were Bach and friends. Her life’s regret was not re-marrying. Irritations included robins and Republicans.

Posted Monday December 10, 2018 by Bernie
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Lost Sea Expedition wins Winnie Award at EQUUS Film Festival
December 6, 2018

Bernie Harberts, Equus film festival, winnie award, horse, adventure, lost sea expedition
The 2018 Winnie Award (EQUUS Film Festival photo).

Man walks across America with mule. Man makes movie. Movie goes to New York City and….wins shiny gold trophy.


Okay. Sorry. I got a little emotional there.

It’s just that I’m excited that the “Lost Sea Expedition”, the account of my mule voyage across America, just won a Winnie award at the EQUUS Film Festival in New York City. It won for best Full Length Equestrian Film Travel Documentary.

Bernie Harberts, Equus film festival, winnie award, horse, adventure, lost sea expedition
The “Lost Sea Expedition” originally premiered on Rocky Mountain PBS as a 4-part series.
Bernie Harberts, Equus film festival, winnie award, horse, adventure, lost sea expedition
It was an honor for the “Lost Sea Expedition” to be accepted by the EQUUS Film Festival. This year, the New York film festival featured equine-themed works ranging from vaqueros to India’s Marwari horses .

What now? Well, mule Polly, star of the series, can’t eat a trophy so I have a better idea.

On our latest jaunt, a 6 week amble from North Carolina to Virginia and back, Polly developed a real love for little red apples. So red apples it is – a whole bag full if that’s what it takes. Heck, I might even plant her a Red Delicious tree.

Bernie Harberts, mule polly, lost sea expedition, horse, adventure, lost sea expedition
Mule Polly served as pack mule on Julia and my trip from western North Carolina to Virginia and back. That’s Julia in the background riding Dusty. You can read more of the journey at my travel site RiverEarth.com and Julia’s blog Saddle Under the Stars.
Bernie Harberts, mule, horse, apple, hat, public tv, adventure, lost sea expedition
A hat full of apples. They came from a road side tree in western North Carolina (Todd, NC).

I also want to thank everyone that helped us get this far up the road.

First, a ten-year wide thanks to Will and Deni McIntyre of Will & Deni Media Inc. whose involvement with this project spanned over a decade. Were it not for artist Charlie Frye who painted 30-plus paintings for the series, the marine art world would have never collided with Appalachian folk art. Also, a huge congrats to Julia Carpenter. Without her encouragement, the “Lost Sea Expedition” would be a box of film footage instead of a beautiful movie.

The money to make the movie? For that I’d like to thank everyone that supported the film with their hard earned dollars. You can find that list here.

Bernie Harberts, mule, horse, apple, hat, public tv, adventure, lost sea expedition
In the neighborhood of 100 individuals and companies stepped forward with contributions to pay for all the the things needed to make a movie – from audio engineering to color timing to insurance. Public Television, while a wonderful distribution platform, does not pay us to air the series. Rather, it was up to us, the film makers, to find the funding. That’s where all these folks stepped in to help. Thanks again guys!

Finally, my gratitude to all the people of the Great Plains who saw mule Polly and me through a land that alternated between achingly beautiful and achingly lonely.

Bernie Harberts, mule, horse, apple, hat, public tv, adventure, lost sea expedition
Colorado rancher and horse breaker Duane Ackley. Duane featured in the “Lost Sea Expedition”. You can hear some audio footage of Duane we didn’t use in the move in this story from the road.

In the meantime, here are 3 ways you can watch the now “award-winning” “Lost Sea Expedition”:
-buy the DVD at the RiverEarth.com General Store store

-stream the series on Amazon

-buy the DVD from Charlie Frye and Susan Frye at their Frye Art Studio in Lenoir, NC.

Posted Thursday December 6, 2018 by Bernie
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