Ursula Kolmstetter

Counters temporarily disabled

(Mon. 21 April 1952 Friday – 05 June 2009)

Obituary at Bell Mortuary: "Born and raised in Germany, she was proud to hold dual German and American citizenship. With her high-spirit, grace and drive, she was beloved by everyone fortunate enough to know her; she had a special gift for bringing people together and celebrating life. A great lover of art, Ursula had a distinguished career as head librarian for many years at the Indianapolis Museum of Art where she worked with vision, energy, good judgment and aplomb. She was also an active member of ARLIS, the art librarian professional society. An accomplished gardener, Ursula also loved to travel, especially to her Berlin apartment and to visit family and friends in Europe. Ursula will be deeply and profoundly missed. Ursula and her loving husband, Laurence Lampert, celebrated a beautiful moment shortly before her death when they remarried. She is also survived by her sister, Pia Gray, and many other dear family members in Germany. Her family invites donations for endometrial cancer research, Gynecologic Cancer Foundation, 1-800-444-4441, www.thegcf.org."

Ursula's warmth and caring for others was immediately apparent when I first contacted her over the phone. The young daughter of a German friend interning at my Indy company was lonely. An intern at the IMA Library suggested that I contact Ursula on their behalf. She unhesitatingly offered to entertain them together with another German family at her home. More to my amazement, she conversed with me, a perfect stranger, as if we were old friends and expressed a desire to meet me. I was charmed by her sweetness even before I got to meet her at the Queen of Sheba [Ethiopian] restaurant for one of her German-language group meetings. Such was her hospitality, grace, and receptivity that we typically entertained our friends (some of whom she thereby got to know well) in her garden. She also drew my wife Elizabeth and me into her wider circle, and through her we also met and discovered the rich philosophical writings of Laurence. I always looked forward to her visits and stay-overs in Chicago. Exposed to our deep involvement with Indian studies, she expressed, time and again, her desire to visit India with us. From the other reminiscences here, we realize that she had that rare knack of making all her friends feel always welcome and special. We treasure our varied collection of photos of our many get-togethers over the last 12 years. Ursula made me happy with her mere presence: I will never forget her.  [- Sunthar Visuvalingam]

I had the privilege of getting to know Ursula while I was in Indianapolis. She was very helpful, kind, warm, and gracious. I am a French woman, partially of Jewish ancestry, and my friendship with Ursula has wholly transformed my appreciation of the German character. After my husband Sunthar and I moved to Chicago, we really looked forward to her staying over during her visits from Indianapolis to the Art Institute, other museums and art fairs. Ursula came to stay with us all too briefly in Paris, while my husband Sunthar and I we were residing there in 2002-2003. Showing Ursula the sights of Paris was something very special. Ursula, for me, was and will remain an artist, and the word hospitality will be linked to her name forever. Thank you Ursula. [- Elizabeth Chalier-Visuvalingam]

Snapshots of Ursula enjoying the company of friends (top left frame)

Cursor / Photo Left Right Bottom
Initial Babette in her garden at Sunthar's birthday party (30 June 2002) Reposing beneath the shadow of the Thinker at Rodin museum in Paris  (17 Nov 2002) With Laurence, Elizabeth, Sunthar at a French restaurant beside Sorbonne (19 Nov 2002), discussing Nietzsche's and Abhinavagupta's esotericism (see Sunthar on "Hindu Aesthetics"
Left With Elizabeth at same garden party (30 June 2002) Before the pond at Rodin museum (17 Nov 2002) Babette's party for Sunthar's  sister visiting from UK in 1998
Right with Elizabeth at Chicago Art Fair in Navy Pier (12 May 2001) Yummy Chinese restaurant in Indianapolis (19 May 2001) dinner at Ursula's home  (Last Supper - (25 Dec 2003)
Bottom Babette toasting Sunthar's health at his birthday party (30 June 2002) lighting candle at her home (03 June 2001) Babette serving pizza (?)  for Xmas dinner at her home
Ursula K. with Elizabeth at our Paris apt (16 Nov 2002) listening with Sunthar to a guest in Paris (16 Nov 2002) before pond at back of Rodin museum  (17 Nov 2002)
Reminiscences on sofa with Sunthar at Paris apt (16 Nov 2002) Reza Persian restaurant in Chicago (04 July 2004) Babette awaiting guests with Elizabeth in Paris  (16 Nov 2002)
Discussion Clown (from Germany) at the Luxemburg Gardens Babette sipping on her wine glass during reunion at home Clown expressing gratitude for Ursula's spontaneous charity