In Memory of Liselotte ("Lisa") Gumpel


In Memory of Liselotte ("Lisa") Gumpel


Obituaries; College teachers; Women--Societies and clubs


Born in Berlin, January 31, 1926, Lisa’s comfortable childhood was disrupted by the Nazis coming to power in Germany. In June, 1939, shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, her mother was able to send her and her two sisters from Nazi-occupied Europe to London, by way of one of the Kindertransport trains organized by Sir Nicholas Winton. Sadly, this was the last time the girls saw their mother, who perished in the Holocaust during deportation to the Lodz Ghetto. Their father had escaped to London and the girls were re-united with him there. Although they were not able to live with him, they remained close until his death in 1946. In England Lisa lived with foster parents and was fortunate to be sent to a good boarding school, Stoatley Rough School in Haslemere, England. As Lisa achieved excellent exam results, she was encouraged to train as an x-ray technician at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Her sister Laura married and settled in London, but Lisa and her other sister, Rosemarie, who was a school teacher, decided to seek a new life in the US in the early 1950s. Lisa found positions as an x-ray technician, first in New York and then in San Francisco, before deciding to attend university in another field. After obtaining a bachelor’s at San Francisco State University, she earned a master’s degree and then earned a doctorate in German at Stanford University. Her chosen focus on German language and linguistics provided the basis for her academic career. Appointed assistant professor of German language and literature at the University of Minnesota, Morris in 1968, Lisa became a full professor in 1980, where she remained until she retired as professor emerita in 1997. During her distinguished career, Lisa published many academic papers and two books, Concrete Poetry from East and West Germany in 1976, and Metaphor re-examined: a non-Aristotelian Perspective in 1984. The latter was nominated for the James Russell Lowell Prize in 1986. Participation in academic conferences and invitations to lecture took her too many places around the world, including South Africa, Australia and various parts of Asia and Europe. During 1977-78 she spent a year at Girton College, University of Cambridge, as the Helen Cam fellow. During her stay she was privileged to meet The Queen Mother. Lisa Gumpel influenced generations of University of Minnesota, Morris students and was never happier than when teaching or writing. A 1987 tribute to her achievements reads: “Professor Gumpel’s students are strongly motivated by her enthusiastic embrace of life and work. They appreciate her interest in their personal fulfilment.” Lisa established a University of Minnesota, Morris scholarship in her name for students interested in foreign languages or classical studies. A reception honoring her career and her donation of six watercolours by the 20th century artist Katerina Wilczynski was held at the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis in 2008. Lisa Gumpel died peacefully after a lingering illness on October 22, 2015 at Parkshore Senior Campus in St. Louis Park. She was preceded in death by her parents, Karl and Margarete (Philipps) Gumpel; brother, Rolf; sister, Hannelore (Walter) “Laura” Selo. She is survived by her sister, Rosemarie Gumpel; her nephew, David (Ruth) Selo; two grandnephews and one grandniece.


Obituary from Hodroff Epstein Memorial Chapels





Julie Klassen


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“In Memory of Liselotte ("Lisa") Gumpel,” Women in German Herstory Project, accessed July 15, 2024,