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John Iles
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Obituary for Antje Lemke

Antje Bultmann Lemke

July 27, 1918 - May 15, 2017

Antje Bultmann Lemke, age 98, passed away peacefully on May 15, 2017 at Van Duyn Nursing Home. She was born in 1918 in Breslau, Germany, the daughter of Helene and Rudolf Bultmann, one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century. Always the ‘great encourager,’ Antje was a teacher, librarian, journalist, activist, feminist, and musician. Through her humanitarianism, she was an inspiration to those who strive to do good in the world.

For over 30 years, Antje was a German-American librarian at Syracuse University. As an authority on the work of Dr. Albert Schweitzer, she was a devoted scholar of his philosophy of reverence for life. She also lectured on the Brothers Grimm on whom she did extensive research as a Guggenheim Fellow. Prior to emigrating in 1949, Antje earned a degree in Library Science from the University of Leipzig and used her position as librarian, during World War II, to offer sanctuary to those escaping Germany. In 1998, the Temple Society of Concord officially named her a Righteous Gentile.

Music was her life-long passion. Antje helped establish the Syracuse Friends of Chamber Music and the Syracuse Symphony where she was principal of the second violin section. She was a positive force in her community and dedicated time and expertise as a volunteer with museums, libraries, and as a director on many boards.

Antje was predeceased by her parents, sisters Gesine Diesselhorst and Heilke Bultmann, and nephew Jan Diesselhorst. She is survived by nieces Viola Diesselhorst and Annette Nádas, grandnieces and a grandnephew, as well as longtime friend and colleague Virginia Denton with whom she shared a home in Fayetteville.

Calling hours will take place on Monday, May 22 at Eaton-Tubbs Fayetteville Chapel (7191 East Genesee Street) from 4 - 7 p.m. with a moment of sharing, reflection, and music starting at 6:30 p.m.  A celebration of Antje's life is being planned for late summer/early fall.  
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