EDUCATOR LUISE LACKEMANN, 87, 'NEVER SPARED HERSELF'
Rocky Mountain News
Saturday, June 4, 2005
Author: Gary Massaro, Rocky Mountain News
Luise Lackemann spent most of her life in school, going or leading.
She was a teacher at Denver's Emerson and University Park elementary schools and a principal at Steck, University Park and Slavens elementary schools.
She died April 16 from complications of Alzheimer's disease. She was 87 and had been a resident of Park Hill for more than 60 years.
A memorial service will be from noon to 2 p.m. today at Johnson & Wales University, East 18th Avenue and Olive Street.
Miss Lackemann was born Aug. 10, 1917, in Yorktown, Iowa. Her mother had tuberculosis, so the family moved to Brighton in 1922. After graduating from Brighton High School , Miss Lackemann went to the University of Denver.
"We were poor as heck," said longtime friend and colleague Dorothy Schutz, also a retired principal. "We got all the scholarships we could. We went to DU so we could live at home and take the streetcar."
After graduating in 1938, Miss Lackemann became a training teacher at University Park - teaching other teachers how to teach. She went back to school to get her master's degree in education and became a principal.
She also raised a nephew, Dr. George Lackemann, a Cincinnati psychiatrist. His mother - Miss Lackemann's sister- in-law - died when he was 4.
"She was my second mother," he said. "She was very bright. She was evenhanded. She had such a wonderful sense of humor."
Miss Lackemann, her nephew, his friend Leo Boyle and Schutz once were on a mountain trip, going through the tunnels in Clear Creek Canyon. Schutz was driving.
"You know how people honk their horns in the tunnels? Everyone was egging Dorothy on to honk her horn," Lackemann said. "She did. And Aunt Luise said, 'I wonder what darn fool is honking that horn.' I think we had to pull over because we were all laughing so hard."
Boyle remembered mountain trips for picnics. He and Miss Lackemann were in charge of carrying coolers and picnic baskets.
"They'd fix these enormous picnic lunches - always several types of relish," Boyle said.
She worked hard and expected others to do likewise. Lackemann said she was strict but not harsh.
Boyle said she'd welcome teachers back on their return to classes with a lavish lunch she'd prepare herself.
"She never spared herself at all," Boyle said.
Miss Lackemann loved to travel. Schutz accompanied her on some trips.
"When her father died," Schutz said, "she moved her family in with her. With all her friends, she was always there."
When her brother, Walter, died, she had a tree planted in his memory.
"Someone commented that he lived his life the way it was meant to be led," Schutz said. "And the same could be said about her."
After Miss Lackemann retired in 1976, she volunteered with the Colorado Historical Society. She hosted music programs for the American Association of University Women's Music Group.
"Some people don't have that many good years in retirement," Schutz said. "We had 25 good years. The important thing is she handled her final illness just like she handled her whole life. She didn't complain. She accepted the reality of her condition."
In addition to her nephew, she is survived by a great-niece, Katharine Lackemann, of Boston.