To Mutti: We Are Born Amazed


My Mom, Ingeborg Maria Hinderschiedt:  June 18, 1929 – December 7, 2013

Please say it now-click the underlined link >  Love or condolences- in the “Reply” section below 🙂


Some of the great songs she loved-










Ingeborg Maria Hinderschiedt (Aprile)  1929-2013

Mutti 1957


Ingeborg Hinderschiedt

Professor Emerita of German and Classics

Ph D. – University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • June 18 1929
  • December 7th, 2013

Ingeborg Maria Hinderschiedt, was born in Donau Eschingen, Germany and graduated at the top of her class at Heidelberg University.  She moved to the United States in 1956 and received her Ph D from the University of Wisconsin, and then proceeded to a lengthy career as a professor at Purdue University.

Her love for books, animals, purity of theoretical argument, and the root of language as an art, is legendary.  Countless academics that follow her footsteps shall never forget her.

She lived her life on principle, was stubborn to a fault, and embarrassingly funny.  She could laugh at the foibles in life- and yet was a humanist that touched all she encountered.  She had “that something” so many of us want- and so few of us find.

To have had the honor of engaging her in an afternoon or evening of lengthy conversation, will be for many, something they shall always recall with a sense that something special had been in the air.

A truly great woman is lost to us today, as she was in a class of her own.

She is survived by her son, Frank-Diether Aprile, his wife, Kashmir Aprile, her grand daughter Maria Ann Aprile, and she has four adopted grandchildren, A’brehn, Naya, Justin, and Kimberly.

She left life- as she chose to live it…  “Doing it My Way”.


Maria & Me

maria and Me

Click image above to view Maria’s (grand daughter) blog



Let me tell you about my mom…

  • What was she best at?
    • Being brave for others.
    • She was best @ :  Making you pay attention to music.
    • She was best @ : Challenging you.
    • She was best @ : When you were down- Bringing you up.
    • She was best @ : Never allowing you to quit.
    • She was at her best- when things were the worst.

A very funny and insightful story from one of her fellow colleagues 🙂

“Ingeborg was one of a kind. She didn’t suffer fools gladly, which could be annoying if you disagreed with her about who the fools were, especially if you happened to be one of them. But she was also broadminded and bighearted enough to reconsider initial impressions or ones created over the course of a relationship. She was a loyal, if not uncritical, colleague and friend, the best kind. She had a very impressive and varied academic background before coming to the U.S., having studied under some major figures in German philosophy and Germanistik. She brought that and her native intelligence and discipline to bear on her work at Madison, which paid off in a book that received, if memory serves, nine uniformly laudatory reviews, in a discipline in which reviewers frequently proceed according to the principle expressed by one as follows: “Das Gute versteht sich von selbst” (What’s good about the book is self-evident. i.e., needs no commentary). She also brought that background and those qualities to bear on her work in the classroom and in committees. If her demeanor was severe at times, occasionally frightening students and colleagues alike, it concealed great sensitivity, even vulnerability. It’s that Ingeborg that I’ll remember.

Another Ingeborg story, of sorts, at least one that she liked to tell. She had an African grey parrot and a dog named Solomon (!), among many other animals. In a real sense that parrot became Ingeborg, or Ingeborg became the parrot, it amounted to the same thing. The parrot learned to “do” Ingeborg so well that it would give Solomon orders, and Solomon would obey them, whether Ingeborg happened to be in the room or not. I’ve often chuckled, imagining the bird saying, in Ingeborg’s still German accented English, “Solomon, bring me the newspaper,” and the dog obediently fetching it. Or maybe the parrot was bilingual.”




We are not born alone …

We are born amazed.

A completely pristine white page of talent waiting to be uncreased and unfurled  to the end of all that we can see that is that history of ours, yet to be heralded, yet to be written and a  grand suggestion of a future history that has no ink or footprints, unrolling to a canvas as of yet-  unexplored.

It is that book we are to become, that will someday rest on a shelf in a library to be read by others or perhaps to be ignored.


We suggest ourselves to the world, and wait for a response.  We declare our beginning and live a great life.

In the end it really is the end.

All that is left is the last part of the sentence-  “They are gone”.

That really does say it all.  As a metaphor for who inspires your Life …

But it is the way it is said, the way it is remembered that puts the last earmark on the page.

It is the oddest things that people leave behind.  Better said, it is the oddest things that people give to others, things that aren’t carelessly missed or forgotten.  A peculiar way of seeing things, saying things, or hating things.   It is their predictability to situations that arise, the songs they love, the people they inspired that speaks for them now- when they can no longer speak.


People make a difference when they are unlike you- but affect you to become a little more like them.

That isn’t to say that you have been swayed or changed, but the memory of certain things that they were about, affected the way you made a certain decision, or said a certain thing in a certain way.

The imprint was there to be interpreted in your own particular fashion, spontaneous and unanticipated, it becomes you but nevertheless was part of them. So it becomes a part of you.  And so they live on.

Wedding BW

The integrity of their life slips into the body of what you are and what you shall become.  So they live as part of the equation that you send forward to others and your children.

So in a sense you take the very best from the very best of them,

when a long time down the road  you say again what they would have said, remember again what they would have suggested to you, remember a song, a flavor, or a color of what was them.

There is no boat to sink here, the people left behind, live on and will in their own lives bring forward what was spectacular about you that perhaps you could not recognize.  They shall endure and have children, that shall deliver to their own children a portion of what you offered, the best of the best of what was you.


The final sentence of you is not yet written and shall endure because you can never be unwritten.

You have affected more than you can know in a stream of life with so many rivers.  Your children are you, and theirs will be yours, and any bridge that needs to be crossed will be safer because of you and what you brought to them.

So that is you, and you have left but are never lost to us.

The color of the world has not changed, but the shade shall now be slightly different.  The crest of sunlight that sparks the cloud before the storm will have a little bit of you in it, the things that scare us in the night will be a little less scary because of you.

The urgency to live life in a fuller, more gracious manner will become us because of you.

The amazement that was you when you were born, is in us that are your children and the people that you influenced.

We are amazed.

And because of you- we are Amazing.


Daddy Nonna & Me2















FA (2)


FA (3)








Crow 1


Your grand daughter- Maria Ann Aprile (you live on Mutti- you live on … )


59 thoughts on “To Mutti: We Are Born Amazed

  1. dear frank

    i am john kirby. i taught classics at purdue for 20 years before
    moving to the university of miami. i always called your mother
    ‘liebchen,’ which was a bit cheeky, as she was almost my mother’s age;
    but she somehow loved it; hence my salutation in that email. i had
    emailed her, a few years previously, with no response; and i thought i
    would try again, though i had a terrible premonition, even at the
    time, that she was gone. it must have been ingeborg herself who
    prompted me to write in february — precisely so that you would read

    i should tell you a bit about me, so you’ll understand why i tried to
    get in touch with her. when i first got to purdue in 1987 i was just
    two years out of graduate school. ingeborg took a shine to me — lucky
    me, as you know how she could have been, if she hadn’t — and sort of
    took me under her wing. we shared many many hours together over the
    years, talking about the most intimate things. i think the initial
    connection must have been twofold, both with reference to her father,
    whom as i’m sure you know she idolized. because i work with greek and
    latin, as he did, and because i have performed [and conducted] a lot
    of music in my life, as he did, i must have reminded her somehow of
    him. but beginning from there, she and i discovered a deep kinship in
    many many other realms. she truly ‘changed my life’ in a profound
    sense, to an extent that few other people have done. i see from the
    materials on your blog that you discussed the I CHING and astrology
    with her, which makes perfect sense as those were so important to her,
    and which she taught me a great deal about.

    during my last few years in indiana, she did begin to withdraw from
    just about everyone, as you have noted in your memoir of her. that
    made me sad; but i realized even at the time that i must be only dimly
    aware of how the lupus was affecting her quality of life. she was an
    indomitable spirit, and determined to face her destiny without
    burdening anyone else with it — that was clear. i wish i could have
    been more of a support to her in those final years before i moved away
    in 2007; but she just wouldn’t allow it. more and more, she wanted to
    communicate — if at all — solely by phone. but even that would
    invariably turn into hours-long conversations, usually deep into the

    she often spoke of you [and always, always referred to you as
    ‘frank-diether’ when she mentioned you] and how much she loved you and
    cared about you. i worried at the time that she did not succeed in
    conveying all of that adequately to you — but of course i only saw a
    tiny sliver of that relationship, and only from her side; and reading
    the magnificent tributes to her that you have published online, i can
    see now that you did, and do, indeed ‘get it’ at the very deepest

    thank you so much for putting up all those photos and memories on the
    internet. they are a treasure, and no one else could have made the
    sense you have made out of that intricate silent history. your
    eloquence is a very fitting tribute to ingeborg’s memory; and you have
    described her to a T. i am sure she is bursting with pride [and some
    irritation] at how accurately you did that.

    thanks too for taking the trouble to send me this message, along with
    all the others i am sure you are sending out at this point. i lost my
    own mother in 2012, so i know something of the pain that long task can
    bring. i admire your strength and resolve in following up with these
    emails, even in the midst of your grieving. i hope that the process,
    however much sadness it brings you, can also somehow bring closure and

    let me close here with a word of admiration for yourself — your own
    courage and determination along the path life has taken you. i knew
    some of it from ingeborg, and i can see still more of it on your blog.
    you are an inspiration, and your life is itself a tribute to her best
    and noblest qualities. we have a saying in my family, ‘the apple
    doesn’t fall very far from the tree’; and you are living proof of the
    truth of that.

    i wish you the very best. if is an ongoing
    project, to which you will continue adding, i will be sure to check it
    again in the time to come. you have a lot to say, about so many
    things, and all of it as fascinating as ingeborg was. the apple and
    the tree, for sure.


  2. Hi Frank,

    Thank you for telling me about your mother’s passing. I am so sorry for your loss.

    Reading your email took my breath for a moment, even though I had a feeling. I think the last time I spoke to your mom was about 5 or 6 years ago. I’d send periodic emails without expecting a return because she told me she might not answer, but I should still write. 😉

    Your mother was my favorite professor at Purdue as well as a good friend. She took care of my cats when I was away, and she would occasionally “invite” me over with a phone call saying, “You’re coming over for lunch tomorrow.” I remember her dogs (was one named Sampson?) and her cats, and her bird room. She once sent me to Merrillville to pick up a bird and bring it back to her. She was very annoyed that my mother spelled my sister’s name wrong: “Rene’ is the male spelling. Tell your mother she did it wrong and tell your sister to change it.” (My mom thought that was hilarious!)

    Her classes were engaging and memorable, and we all learned a great deal without feeling like it was a chore. Two of my friends were in her classes with me, and we still call her “The Borg” (with great affection). Listening to her childhood stories and putting them into perspective with what we were studying at the time – it stuck with us.

    I clicked on the links you sent – which I shouldn’t have done while at work because the photos made me teary-eyed. I remember that house, and I remember that smile. Thank you for sharing your memories with me.

    Ingeborg Hinderschiedt was a special woman indeed, and I’m so very grateful to have known her for a little while.

    Thank you again, Frank. I wish you peace.

    Brenda Jackson

  3. Wow Frank,
    Sorry to write such a long time later. I have been out of the country. Just read of your loss. Hope you and your family are doing well.
    I remember your mother too. I am not sure you remember it, but she called me at my dorm at Purdue on several occasions 1974-1975 circa. We did have some amazing conversations. As described by others above, her ability to be complimentary and critical was confusing and amusing. She once said she found me unusual because she was quite sure I was not intimidated by her. I found it surprising that she had been trying to intimidate me. I asked her why she would try to intimidate one of your friends. She had no answer. She hesitated and then said it was also unusual that someone asked her something for which she had no answer. She told me once she found her self liking me and that I reminded her of herself…I was not sure how to take that. I remember asking you if I were like her. I do not remember your answer, however reading about her here, I hope I am like her in some ways.
    Your life, philosophy and the directions you have taken, I do think have been greatly influenced by your mother, as you so eloquently hint above. Over the years I have known you, I have always inquired as to Mutti’s health, goings on and thoughts. You have always reported…
    I remember you naming your dog after her. Never sure the affections involved in that choice. You have a love of animals too. Yes, that love carried on in your beautiful daughter, as well.
    Your mother will be missed, my dear. She was indeed a character, intelligent, glamourous(in her way), singular, and in so being-memorable.
    Much aloha to you and your family,

  4. Dear Frank,
    I just learned of your mother’s passing. I had the pleasure of knowing her from St. Anthony’s Healthcare in Lafayette some years ago, and she became a friend to me. My heart goes out to you & your family. She will be missed.
    Warm regards,

  5. Frank – We have been Ingeborg’s neighbor’s for the past 10 years (although, the past few years she’s not actually physically lived in her house next door). I remember my first introduction to her…it was the day after we moved in – boxes and “stuff” were everywhere – and Ingeborg knocked on our door. A friend (who was here helping us unpack) answered and your mom marched right in, walked straight into our living room, settled herself on the couch, and proceeded to introduce herself and give us the history of our home and all the homes on the street! That was the beginning of a beautiful and delightful relationship with her.

    Another favorite memory: That first Christmas, we invited her over for our “tree trimming” party. We ate a dinner of Cornish hen’s together and then she positioned herself in a comfy chair near the tree and delighted in watching us (and our then 2-year-old daughter) decorate the tree. It was a wonderful evening of sharing Christmas stories of years past (and how in Germany the tree was not put up until Christmas Eve…a fact that she reminded us of every year…as we always put ours up the first weekend in December). She could see our tree from her house – we had it in our bay window and it glittered and gleamed all the more from all the reflections. Every year, she loved to look at our tree, and we intentionally kept the curtains up on the side of the house that faced her house so that she could see the tree glimmering.

    For one summer, she actually lived with us! Little did I know it would end up being as long a stay as it was! She asked to come over on a very hot day – her AC was not working. Would it be possible to stay a few days? she asked. We set her up in our downstairs guestroom. The “few days” turned in to a few weeks, which turned into two months! What a summer! She liked to keep both bedroom doors open (“her” room was right off the kitchen). In many ways, she “ruled” our house! She’d talk to me as I cooked (she actually even prepared us an amazing homemade spaghetti dinner one night – I think because mine lacked luster!), she joined in conversations with my husband and me, the children (I had 2 at that point, and one on the way), would gather around her bed and show her their toys or artwork they had done, etc. We will never forget the summer that Ingeborg lived with us!

    Even after she moved, we kept up. For the longest time, we talked on the phone at least once a month. We visited her a few times, she had my husband and me over once for a delightful evening of a meal and lively conversation. Once, while talking to her on the phone, she began to cough because she had swallowed a fly. Later that week, my children and I brought her a homemade version of the book, “There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.” She loved it.

    These past few months I regret to say I’ve had no contact with Ingeborg. She has been on my mind quite a bit, though. I would often wonder how she was doing and think I need to call her. She was so good at calling me, though, I even wondered if all was well since I hadn’t heard from her. Regretfully, I never called her. Just today, I decided I’d call her to wish her a Merry Christmas and to catch up on life. When her phone was “no longer in order” I became worried. I googled her and immediately discovered her obituary and your blog.

    I am deeply saddened at her loss. I knew it was coming, though, because of her health issues. But she was such a determined and feisty individual, I kind of thought (hoped!), this day would never come. We loved Ingeborg! She was like no one else we ever knew. She was brilliant, she was funny, she was opinionated, she was loving, she was thoughtful. She was such a delightful and enjoyable person to know and to be around. She will be missed. I wish I had had one last chance to talk to her. At the same time, I will cherish all the wonderful memories we have with her and of her. What a gift it was to be her neighbor and to have known her these past ten years!

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your daughter, Maria (whom she talked about quite a bit!). I am so sorry for your loss.

    Kim Wood

  6. I came to know Ingeborg by serving her at Von’s Books in West Lafayette. To say that she left an impression is an understatement! She began every transaction with, “Do you know me?” If you answered, “No”, then she would say, “Then find me someone who does!” She came to trust me, and we spent many hours talking about the books she wanted and liked to read.

    Imagine my surprise when, 20 years later as a nurse I came to find Ingeborg as a patient on my hall! On our first meeting, she’d asked if I knew her–and I told her that yes, I’d known her from Von’s. This began another relationship with her–and one which I came to enjoy. I’m just sorry that we never got to have our “Cognac and Conversation” at the gazebo!

    Frank–I’m sorry I didn’t get to meet you in person, but I am glad that we got to speak and I’m glad we were able to care for her at the end of her days. She was/is truly one of a kind, and the world’s a little poorer now that she is no longer with us.

    • Jennifer- thank you for all you did for Mutti.

      I too enjoyed our conversation- from one medical professional to another.

      You are very solid and grounded, and after realizing you were taking care of my mother I was very relieved.

      Thank you 🙂


  7. Hi! It was so fun to know your Mom, Frank. I ktook a course from her and leaned alotof German!! And we had lots of get-togethers before she got ill. She was quite a character – so intelligent, so interested in so many subjects, etc. And I loved talking with her about my trips to Germany every year. Sorry I didn’t get to see her before she passed away.
    All the best, Frank. Ginny Tyler

  8. Sorry for the loss of your mom, Frank Aprile. She was my dad’s colleague for so many years at Purdue, and she was also my German professor for Advanced Conversational German 565 which was a graduate level class that I took during my Senior year at WLHS after returning from a year Germany. She was an excellent teacher and I really enjoyed her class. Six years ago when I returned from Africa and lived temporarily in an apartment in WL, she recognized me (after not seeing me for at least 30 years) in the lobby and, despite her frail condition, insisted on making a date for Koffee und Kuchen at her place. I think I was the only visitor she had had for a long, long time and she really went out of her way to prepare for my visit, despite the fact that it was clearly difficult for her. We had a wonderful visit, talking about all kinds of things and I was always very grateful to have shared this special time with her. May her memory be for a blessing. Elizabeth

    • Wow- Liz- thanks for that story- I talked to your mom right after I found out- to let your family know. She was very kind. Didn’t talk to your dad- it was pretty early in the morning. But your mom was able to give me some good advise on how to conduct her passing-


  9. December 11, 2013
    Ingeborg taught me Old Saxon, Medieval Latin, Gothic, and how to be a female academic without going crazy. She was tremendously important to me, and I will always be grateful for her influence in my life.
    Alison Baker,
    Diamond Bar, California

  10. Frank, I’m so sorry about your mom passing. What a beautiful tribute you’ve written to her. She does live on, in your daughter. And what a beautiful thing that is. {{{{{ hugs }}}}}

  11. December 10, 2013
    I got to spend a lot of time with Ingeborg at Rosewalk. She was a special person and I will never forget my time with her.
    Kayce Weaver,
    Twentynine Palms, California

  12. After reading the many memories of Ingeborg, I feel as though I’ve known her longer and perhaps more intimately than most. It was 1967, an older undergrad returning to PU from the Peace Corps, pursuing a degree in French, minoring in Spanish, but required to take a third language- Gutentag Frau Aprile- what an awakening! Just getting by in this “foreign” language wasn’t an option; pulling me into her inner circle was an option for her, and it changed my life forever, although it was difficult for me to realize at the time. Never had I been so challenged on so many fronts – academically, politically, musically, spiritually, socially, whatever! It took a while to realize that she challenged me so heavily because she believed in me and my potential, wanting me to become more than I thought I could be. What a testament to her dedication and effectiveness as a teacher. Undoubtedly I wasn’t the only one who received this “dedication”.
    When I returned from a year studying in France to pursue a Masters in French as a T.A., I thought it might be different, and it was…..sort of….she expected more! Oh how often I rebelled against her critics (criticisms), only to return for more, knowing the underlying love and respect with which it was dispensed. In the halls of Stanley Coulter I felt honored to be a part of her inner circle, not only with the other profs, but at her home with her greatest achievement, her son Frank-Diether – a terrific kid then, and an accomplished adult and loving father now. What great times we had Frank-Dietherlein – all thanks to Frau Aprile’s belief in me.
    It’s all very humbling and my only regret is that I wasn’t more aware of her diminishing health. I would love to have had the opportunity to tell her once again how much I loved her and what an amazing influence she had on my life.
    Gute reise Frau….Ich leibe dich.

    • Linda 🙂

      That was a really nice post you left here. I re-lived your relationship with Mutti- as I read it. I am glad you are in my life we shall forever be family!


  13. My fondest memories of Ingeborg will always be the birthday dinners that we shared while I was still living in the Lafayette area. Once we realized that our birthdays were directly opposite each other, we established a tradition of celebrating together every June 18 and Dec. 18. Even after I moved away in 1998, we kept our custom alive by exchanging cards, flowers, and (of course) books.

    Ingeborg: I wish you much joy on your new journey!

  14. Ingeborg was born in Donaueschingen, the origin of the river Donau or Danube. There is a debate until today about which of the two tributaries, the Brigach or the Breg, which come together in Donaueschingen, is actually the main source of the Danube. She identified with this interesting river of her home region which eventually makes its way across Europe to the Black Sea, more than thousands of kilometers away. Ingeborg loved space and she had more than one garden in Indiana. The Danube’s tributaries disappear and at times go underground, then may reappear unexpectedly and make their whereabouts somehow on the map. She was drawn to the Brigach or the Breg at times and she identified with each and their tendency to go invisible and to complicate imagining linearity. Ingeborg was Chair of German when I was hired as a new tenure track faculty at Purdue in fall 1991 and I owe her much support and encouragement from the start. Although she was primarily a scholar of the Middle Ages she was much interested in other centuries and fields of scholarship. Although she was a rational and exacting thinker, teacher, and colleague, she had a weak spot for mysticism but always mixed with a good amount of humor and tremendous intellectual curiosity. She had a liking for what the expressionist painter and poet George Grosz called “exactly exaggerated figures.” She enjoyed his and other caricatures and believed in fables and fairy tales. Often Ingeborg played the grandmother who would turn out to be the wolf. But in the end she probably loved her “sieben Geislein,” or whoever belonged to her peer group at the time. Although she had a streak of the irrational and the Dionysian, she meant well after all and was very generous. I am not surprised that she died the morning after her horoscope in the Exponent apparently said that those in her sign should go where the music is. She took things literally, or metaphorically, as it pleased her. I often admired her for her film star-like glamour, her artful and precarious existence in the world of the mind, and her absolute insistence on privacy, even to the point that she rejected friendly visits when she felt less glamorous, or old, especially later in her life. In that vein I shall remember her as a devoted Germanist, a gourmet, an enthusiast for literature and the arts, a tremendous scholar and engaging colleague who—despite ambivalences and complexities—kept reading, remained cheerful and independent, surrounded by animals, plants, and music. May she continue to sing with Roswitha von Gandersheim.

    Beate Allert

  15. As a child it seemed another walk, but this time it was different. To get there we took an automobile as opposed to a bus. It was just me, alone as a child, isolated from the herd of my combat inmates at the Kinderheim.

    If you can imagine Marilyn Monroe a little thinner, but more statuesque, so very tall and in a red polka dotted dress, that would be my mom in sun glasses, the one that took me. I call her Mutti, German for mother.

    • Someone in our department once referred to her as “recht üppig”. It was astonishing how well put together she always was. And even at retirement age, she had a figure to stop traffic. Always in high heels, always. Ihre Mutti war ja schon ein Prachtweib.

  16. December 09, 2013
    I got to sit and talk to her I visited her and she became my friend I will miss her she was a good lady
    debbie young,
    lafayette, Indiana

  17. I have never met a woman of such a blend of female style and perfection in all regards, with a poetic voice, a subtle expressive language, with artistic gifts and also ultimately a scholarly performance.and, not to forget, a loving understanding of animals.

    All that together, to be sure, had a backside that could pull her at the fringe of disaster and made herself and others suffer. You certainly know much of that, but we cover it today with love and silence.

  18. My condolences to the family of Prof. Hinderschiedt. She was a unique and exceptional teacher and will be missed by many.

  19. December 09, 2013
    We will miss you! You were a very exceptional woman and I am happy that I had the pleasure of knowing you.
    Debbie Barnard,
    Lafayette, Indiana

  20. Ingeborg will truly be missed. She was a very intelligent person. She taught me so much in the few short years I knew her. I learned how to be bold and more understanding of people. So many stories, she would tell, that she experienced while she was here. She definitely will not be forgotten! She loved her books, her bird, and so many things about life. She deifintely made a difference in my life.


  21. I would add my surprise and sad feelings to those expressed by colleagues concerning the passing of Ingeborg. I knew her well and share many of the comments previously made. Her office was just across the hall from mine on the second floor so I saw her almost every day. I recall she had a small refrigerator and a microwave oven and I could smell her lunch wafting through the halls. I can’t recall ever having a discussion with here that was not frank and right to the point. Small talk wasn’t her thing. Here’s another short story about Ingeborg. She invited me to dinner one time and I said, “Ingeborg, sorry but I can’t accept invitations that do not include my wife.” Well, she insisted saying she wanted to discuss my FLEA-BAR program. Fortunately, my wife was very understanding and I went. Ingeborg served a traditional German meal and for a couple of hours we talked about FLEA-BAR. Regrettably, I have not seen her since her retirement but I will always remember her.

    Bill Hatfield

  22. My goodness, the stories I could tell about Ingeborg. I would be on this computer all day and then some. And most readers, especially those who knew her, would be sobbing with laughter. That mind of hers! And to listen to her reading aloud. It didn’t matter if it was an 800-year-old Vaterunser or the local phone book, there was little in this life that offered less dramatic interpretation. The grad students in the 90s used to do impersonations of all the professors in the department; Ingeborg fell to me. And I relished it. Like Ingeborg, I could lock onto a minor point and spin it into a short (or not so short) lesson in etymology and Lautverschiebung. It was so fun.
    She loved Star Trek, and envied me that I had met Patrick Stewart. I made her howl when I named her “Locutus of IngeBORG”. Watching her totally dress down a colleague who dismissed Trek as “Trivialkultur” was a real highlight. That man never knew what hit him.
    She was insightful and honest, which explains a lot about why she loved animals and they her. Obsequiousness is lost on both. She wrote the most exacting letter of recommendation for me once, and I still keep a copy of it, not only because she was kind in her praise, but exacting in her assessment. A rare thing in an age of rampant grade inflation.
    She was hardest on those she valued most, and I was on the receiving end of that as well. She practically hunted me down and roasted me on a spit after a presentation she found to be lacking. Very hard to take, but I did learn from it, and I continued to learn from her. Over my many years of teaching, I have had some amazing evaluations from students, and I have been quick over the years to point out how much of that I owed to her.
    Zungensuppe… ’nuff said. She could cook. Amazing what she brought out of that kitchen.
    How about the departmental parties with minute-by-minute schedules?
    Her description of Nashville Indiana? She created a word for it: “edelkitsch”.
    Shuttle diplomacy missions on behalf of overwhelmed graduate students, late-night calls of encouragement before dissertation defenses…I could go on and on.
    Ruhe sanft, meine Freundin.

    • I meant, that offered “more” dramatic interpretation than Ingeborg reading aloud. Das war ja jedes Mal ein Erlebnis.

  23. Ingeborg was one of a kind. She didn’t suffer fools gladly, which could be annoying if you disagreed with her about who the fools were, especially if you happened to be one of them. But she was also broadminded and bighearted enough to reconsider initial impressions or ones created over the course of a relationship. She was a loyal, if not uncritical, colleague and friend, the best kind. She had a very impressive and varied academic background before coming to the U.S., having studied under some major figures in German philosophy and Germanistik. She brought that and her native intelligence and discipline to bear on her work at Madison, which paid off in a book that received, if memory serves, nine uniformly laudatory reviews, in a discipline in which reviewers frequently proceed according to the principle expressed by one as follows: “Das Gute versteht sich von selbst” (What’s good about the book is self-evident. i.e., needs no commentary). She also brought that background and those qualities to bear on her work in the classroom and in committees. If her demeanor was severe at times, occasionally frightening students and colleagues alike, it concealed great sensitivity, even vulnerability. It’s that Ingeborg that I’ll remember.

    Another Ingeborg story, of sorts, at least one that she liked to tell. She had an African grey parrot and a dog named Solomon (!), among many other animals. In a real sense that parrot became Ingeborg, or Ingeborg became the parrot, it amounted to the same thing. The parrot learned to “do” Ingeborg so well that it would give Solomon orders, and Solomon would obey them, whether Ingeborg happened to be in the room or not. I’ve often chuckled, imagining the bird saying, in Ingeborg’s still German accented English, “Solomon, bring me the newspaper,” and the dog obediently fetching it. Or maybe the parrot was bilingual.


  24. I worked with Ingeborg when I first came here, doing her book on Heliandmetrik. On the old composer, it required quite a few hand adjustments to make the required non-standard characters and some drawing (using a template) as well for the diagrams. I recall her with great fondness.

  25. I was one of the fortunate ones to have had conversations with Ingeborg. She was indeed an interesting person to know. Gracious and humble. Bonnie Shoaf

  26. I was privileged to know Ingeborg as a colleague and friend. My condolences to the family. She will be greatly missed.
    Channing Blickenstaff,
    West Lafayette, Indiana

  27. Ingeborg, you influenced my life a great deal. I told you, but you minimized it — that was you. Having you for German 201 was very lucky because you planted a linguistic seed … then having you for graduate classes when I reached them was even better. Your stories enriched every student’s life. You enriched people’s lives. Thank you for always being you. May you rest comfortably now.
    Georgia Olsen

  28. On behalf of all you touched — sternly or with the kindest and most exquisite humor — you’ll be missed, Ingeborg. Gute Reise.
    Keith Dickson

  29. Ingeborg was truly a unique individual and I shall always
    treasure my relationship with her. She was one of the few
    people who could sustain a brilliant conversation on any
    subject. Rest Easy, Old Friend.

  30. I want to say, as have all of you so well, what a truly dedicated and wonderful teacher and colleague Ingeborg was. I too have many fond memories of her and will miss her greatly. Allen

  31. Hello all,

    Even though most of you didn’t know Ingeborg Hinderschiedt, I want to say a few words of appreciation. I think we all want to be remembered!

    I have many good memories of Ingeborg Hinderschiedt from my first days at Purdue. Back then, I was very interested in German, and we were often at a Stammtisch or Kaffeestunde, and, once or twice, I believe, at the German House.

    We served on the Executive Committee together under Head, Christiane Keck, and she was tenacious in defending the German program. I don’t know that it would be as strong as it is today without her commitment in those days.

    I audited German 202 from her right before she retired, and it was a wonderful experience. She was so knowledgeable, and had such high standards in here teaching! Students were in awe of her, and she was tireless in helping them understand the material and gain understanding of and appreciation for culture in the German-speaking world. I don’t know how many of us today on the faculty can take the time and effort she did with her students outside of class! She was a truly dedicated teacher, of a model that no longer exists. Yes, it was a different paradigm, but she was at the top of it. After she retired, I saw her off and on, because she lived next door to a friend. Ingeborg was a valuable, devoted teacher and colleague, and she has been missed.

  32. Thanks, Marianne.

    Speaking of Ingeborg stories, the first time I met her she told me she had read something I had just published. I was brand new at PU—probably my first year there—and so I, being full of myself as all newbies are, was expecting her to say something ‘nice’ particularly since it was a piece that had been rather well received. “Your style is not good,” she said. “You repeat the same words too often.” That was it. I still try to avoid using the same words too often J

    I am sure I was not the only person she intimidated and inspired(?). JJ



  33. This is a “goodbye” to Ingeborg Maria Hinderschiedt, Professor Emerita of German and Classics, who died, yesterday, in Lafayette, Indiana.

    Ingeborg served the Department of Modern Languages/Foreign Languages and Literatures for many years with intelligence, dedication, and the highest academic standards. She was no background character; everyone who knew her has an Ingeborg story to tell.

    She wanted neither fanfare nor ritual, but I think her name needs to echo in the halls of Stanley Coulter one last time, and this is the only way I could think to accomplish that.


  34. Dear Frank,
    Erika and I extend our heartfelt condolences to you and your family. We remember with fondness the many occasions we sat together with Ingeborg, sharing our common love of, and interest in music. We will cherish her in our memory.
    With kind regard, Walter Gautschi

  35. I was lucky enough to visit your mother at Rosewalk as well (through the Serenity Hospice program). We spent a few hours together each week for the past three months or so. What you have written above really says it all, but I just wanted to also let you know how much I enjoyed my time with her. She was a brilliant woman, who taught up until the end–I would always have something to think about and read up on after our visits. She also had a great sense of humor and a sharp wit, as any one who spent five minutes with her would soon find out. Finally, her complete honesty and wonderful observations endeared her to everyone she met. I never walked into her room without seeing flowers and chocolate brought in from her many visitors.

    Ingeborg was truly “one of a kind” and is already sorely missed in Lafayette and West Lafayette.

    All the best to you and your family,

  36. I had the pleasures taking care of your mother at Rosewalk. It was a great and interesting time. Learning everything she had accomplished in her life. Thank you giving us the chance to meet and take care of such wonderful woman.

  37. Dear Frank,
    I am very sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. On behalf of the German program at Purdue, I must say that your mother will be missed. I arrived at Purdue shortly after her retirement, but I had the pleasure of meeting her and chatting with her on numerous occasions. She was an inspiration to her colleagues, and I know that she was well respected in her field. We will watch closely for information regarding the funeral arrangements so that we might pay our respects. Again, I am so very sorry for your loss.

    Warm regards,
    Prof. John Sundquist

    John D. Sundquist, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor of German and Linguistics
    Chair of the Department of German & Russian
    Purdue University | School of Languages & Cultures
    640 Oval Dr., West Lafayette, IN 47907

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