Margaret Lee Lemle DeWolf, 1929-2016
Margaret Lee Lemle DeWolf, 87, of Aspen died suddenly but peacefully April 23 at the Aspen Valley Hospital with loving caregivers at her side. Maggie was born in New Orleans on February 16, 1929, to Amelia Loeb Lemle and Louis George Lemle.
Maggie was preceded in death by her husband of 48 years, Nick DeWolf (1928-2006). Nick was a charismatic figure both locally and in the tech world, and together they were a dynamic couple full of vitality and community engagement. They had six children in seven years in Boston. Nick and Maggie had many caregivers and community support raising their tribe. The family and 10 cats and two dogs arrived in Aspen in 1975. Maggie and her family would make Aspen their home for the rest of her life, over 40 years.
Anyone who has meandered in the West End of Aspen will remember the green Victorian surrounded by an astonishing garden, which had been featured in a number of lifestyle magazines. Maggie was a consummate homemaker, delighting in filling every niche in her home and garden for over four decades with a complex tableau of diverse arts and antiques, as well as lavishing her friends and family with unimaginable food delights from everywhere on the planet. And as anyone who visited could vouch she was an animal lover, reveling in her menagerie of pets, at one time a dozen cats and four dogs. She loved the exotic as well as the rough-hewn, and enjoyed forays into Asia and South America chasing after Nick with his camera bag.
After earning her degree in journalism, Maggie was a writer and had short stories published in The Atlantic Monthly. She took pleasure writing, whether it was in poems or outspoken letters to the editors of the local papers throughout her life. She possessed a lively and curious mind, qualities she passed on to all six of her children. A voracious reader, her library and interests were rich and varied. Any visitor to 233 West Bleeker could take a book or two home; especially if they showed an interest in string theory or Asian history.
Maggie was passionate about fostering the character of Aspen. Along with a few others, she and Nick developed the Aspen Area Community Plan in the 1990s which culminated in the concept of “Messy Vitality,” a concept the group hoped would summarize and inspire Aspen’s unique character and spirit. Maggie and Nick also had many physicist friends at the Aspen Center for Physics. Their legacy in the Physics community continues with the Winter Physics Lectures open and free to the public in the Wheeler Opera House. Among other local concerns, Maggie was dedicated to supporting science education in the valley while she was at the helm of the Nick DeWolf Foundation. Recipients have included ACES, Grassroots, the Aspen Science Center, the Mining Museum, Aspen Journalism, WeCycle, Bruce Gabow’s Science in Schools, Wilderness Workshop, CRMS, Best Friends, Aspen Film, and the Aspen Historical Society.
The DeWolf household was a bustling place, which her children might characterize as an “idea hive.” Maggie and Nick both enjoyed seeing potential in people and helped them flourish. There was a large cast of people who worked to support the DeWolf home, many for decades at a time. Maggie was generous and demanding, fostering strengths in people even when they had difficulty finding them in themselves. Kerri Genung was her right hand woman and caregiver for her last decade, becoming skilled as Maggie’s housekeeper, personal assistant, dog hiker, accountant, advisor and friend.
She is survived by her six children: Alexander, Nicole, Quentin, Vanessa, Thalia and Ivan; eight grandchildren; and her sister Elizabeth Morrison.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations may be sent to “Best Friends” (bestfriends.org) in Maggie DeWolf’s name.
A Celebration of Maggie’s life planned for summer 2016, details will be announced.
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