University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

Remembering Esther Leser

Esther H. Leser, professor emerita of Languages and former director of the German Graduate Program,  passed away peacefully on March 9, 2013 in Altru Hospital.  She was 87.

As the child of a diplomat's family, she grew up speaking several languages.  During the war, she served the Swedish Red Cross as a nurse and interpreter.  From European universities of Vienna, Budapest, Sorbonne and Uppsula, she holds degrees which she later complted at the University of Oregon with an MA. And Ph.D.

In 1958 she emigrated from Sweden with her two daughters and her husband, Professor Bernhardt Leser.  They came to the University of North Dakota in 1969. She taught French, German and Swedish, and held the position of  thesis advisor at the graduate level.  Before the suspension of the German graduate program, she mainly taught German graduate courses in literature, intellectual history, and methodology.  She also taught French and Scandinavian literatures.

She retired as professor emerita after a 30-plus year academic career.

Dr. Leser never lost interest in her students and continued her literary writings until the last days of her busy life.

She is survived by her daughters, Kristina von Hlatky and Karla Vettorazzo; grandchildren, Michele Vettorazzo, Monica Vettorazzo and Stefanie von Hlatky, her husband, Philippe Lacoursiere; great grand children, Ian and Zac Lacoursiere; niece, Krisztina Simonffy Andahazy.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Bernhardt, in 1982.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to: Bernhardt and Esther Leser Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Department of Modern Languages, University of North Dakota, 276 Centennial Drive Stop 8198, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58202-8198.