KEENE - Marion Hempel Biesemeyer, 101, of Keene, was born in Berlin, Germany, Feb. 22, 1911. She died peacefully at the Meadowbrook Healthcare facility on May 31, 2012.
The daughter of Joseph and Fanny Hempel, she lived most of her adult life in Keene, at the Mountain House.
Marion completed her medical studies at the University of Freiburg, Germany in 1937, but was unable to practice medicine there in the advent of World War II. When she and her husband Walter came to the United States in 1940, they left behind family in Germany and Switzerland. There are still family ties to relatives in Hamburg, Hannover, and Konstanz, Germany.
Soon after Marion and Walter emigrated to the United States, they found work as caretakers of Putnam Camp in the Adirondacks. In 1946, they acquired property on East Hill in Keene and established the Mountain House business.
Marion returned to New York City to work on licensing as a medical doctor in the United States, but she was unable to do so, with the responsibilities of a growing family and a growing business. The degree was restored, as an honorary medical doctor, by the University of Freiburg in February 2001, in time for her 90th birthday.
When Walter died in 1953, Marion became the sole proprietor of the Mountain House and managed the business through the year 2000. She contributed to the community by serving on the boards of the Neighborhood House, the Keene Valley Library and Keene Central School.
Marion also taught in area schools, beginning with an appointment as a Latin teacher in AuSable Forks in the 1950s. She taught French at Keene Central School for many years. Marion was an active member of the Keene Valley Congregational Church, and Community Easter Sunrise services on the Mountain House lawn, often covered by fresh snow, were a tradition throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
Marion was a talented artist, working mostly in oils, and filling numerous sketch books while on her travels. She was an avid sport, and she enjoyed swimming, hiking and skiing. With her friend Elaine Edmonds, she coordinated a ski program for students at Keene Central and accompanied them to Marble Mountain for Saturday ski outings. The Mountain House was the unofficial headquarters of the Hurricane Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club, with meetings, picnics and trail crews gathering there.
Marion was predeceased by her husband Walter Biesemeyer, her sister Ilse Hempel Lipschutz, and her grandson David C. Bailey.
She is survived by her three children and their spouses: Peter Biesemeyer and his wife Linda of Duane, Anne Bailey and her husband Jim of Plattsburgh, Bob Biesemeyer and his wife Tish of Keene; and by several nieces; a nephew; and her devoted brother-in-law, Lewis Lipschutz. Her grandchildren were the great love of her life: Walter Bailey, Lili Biesemeyer and Tommy Biesemeyer, and she took delight in occasional visits from great-granddaughter Clara of Colorado.
Arrangements are entrusted to the Marvin Funeral home in Elizabethtown. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 16, at the Keene Valley Congregational Church.
Donations may be made to the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the Keene Valley Neighborhood House.
For online condolences please visit www.wmmarvins.com.