Thursday, February 19, 2009

Loss of Louise Russert Kraemer will be felt by many environmental and social-justice organizations

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Louise Kraemer on June 30, 2009, after a Ward 4 meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Louise "Weez" Rothmund Russert-Kraemer, 85, professor emeritus of zoology at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, died Friday, Feb. 13, 2009, at Hillcrest Hospital in Cleveland.
She was born Dec. 17, 1923, to John W. and Wilhelmina Rothmund Russert in Milwaukee.
Weezie, as she was known to her friends, attended the Milwaukee University School and began her college education at Wellesley College, finishing a B.S. in biology at Marquette University. She went to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for her graduate studies. On completing her M.S. and graduate course work, she accepted a tenure-track position as assistant professor of zoology at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville in 1948, where she met William S. Kraemer, professor of philosophy. They married in the spring of 1949. Due to a nepotism rule preventing married couples from teaching in the same college, Louise lost her academic position.
While being the devoted mother to her four children, Weez returned to adjunct teaching in the department of zoology at the University of Arkansas in the mid-1950s. With her four, young children in tow, she revived her graduate studies and completed her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1966 with a specialization in malacology, the study of mollusks (clams and snails). She regained a full-time position in the U of A zoology department where, as a dynamic teacher and innovative researcher, she quickly rose to the rank of full professor. Nationally and internationally recognized for pioneering research combining malacology and animal behavior, she was elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and served as president of the American Malacological Union and of the American Microscopical Society. She was a cofounder of the Society for the History and Philosophy of Biology. In the school year 1987-1988, she was a visiting fellow at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge University. Retiring in 1993, she founded Bionomia, a U of A biology department newsletter that highlights activities of faculty and graduates. By the time of her death, she had produced 13 issues.
In her community and on the U of A campus, Weez was a tireless force for social change. As a young mother, she worked through the League of Women Voters for the desegregation of Fayetteville's public schools. At the U of A she was involved in many important causes, but her most lasting contribution was her work to improve the situation for women, fighting sexist regulations, mentoring young faculty and students, and helping to raise the consciousness of the campus on many important issues. In her retirement she still worked on campus to redefine the role of emeritus faculty. She was actively involved in the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, organizing lay services, serving as chairwoman of the Aesthetics Committee for many years and working in numerous ways to improve the organization. Late in life she still energetically engaged in local environmental and political matters, serving as League of Women Voters local chapter president and as chairwoman of the Washington County Democratic Women.
Preceded in death by her beloved husband, William; sisters, Audrey Lowe and Joan Russert-Haber; and brother, Roger Russert-Malakoff, she is survived by her four children, Eric Russert Kraemer and his wife Francine Klein, Robert Russert Kraemer and his wife Ginger, Lisa Russert Kraemer and her husband Richard Lang and Soren Russert Kraemer and his wife Karen; Weez's 12 grandchildren, Jonathan Lang and his wife Deborah, Ryan Kraemer and his wife Marion, Alexander Kraemer and his wife Jennifer, Katherine Lang, Sarah Kraemer, Bradley Kraemer, William Lang, Michael Kraemer, Daniel Lang, Kevin Kraemer, Kyle Kraemer and Anna Kraemer; and a greatgranddaughter, Madeleine Kraemer.
A service will be held at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 901 W. Cleveland St., Fayetteville, which will be followed by a reception.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Louise Russert-Kraemer memorial fund, University of Arkansas Foundation Inc., University House, Fayetteville, AR 72701.

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

not sure whether anyone is still reading this, but her family has put together a memorial site with some interesting bits -