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Lucian L. Niemeyer


1937 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Lucian L. Niemeyer Obituary
Niemeyer, Lucian L.



Lucian Lenzner Niemeyer, an award winning photographer and author died on March 31, 2016 at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico of congestive heart failure. He was 78.

Born on May 12, 1937 in Essen, Germany to Lucie Lenzner Niemeyer and Dr. Gerhart Niemeyer, a noted scholar of political philosophy, Mr. Niemeyer immigrated to the United States in 1937 with his family fleeing the tyranny of Nazi Germany. Mr. Niemeyer grew up in communities surrounding Princeton, Oglethorpe, Yale, Columbia, and University of Notre Dame, where his father served as a professor. Mr. Niemeyer, the second of five children, was educated at Indiana University, University of Notre Dame, and graduated from the Famous Photographers School in Westport, CT. After enlisting in the United States Army in 1961, he separated as an officer in 1963 after serving at Fort Benning, Georgia. From 1963 through 1982, he worked for Volkswagen, starting in the mailroom and rising to the position of National Sales Manager of Volkswagen of America within ten years. He then owned and operated a Volkswagen dealership outside Philadelphia, PA.

Over the years, Mr. Niemeyer managed businesses in the photographic field, a passionate hobby that began when his father gave him his first Leica camera. In 1987, at the suggestion of his wife, Joan, he decided to engage in photography professionally. His first photographic essay book was Chesapeake Country, (Abbeville Press 1990) and it recently completed its sixth printing. That success led to the publication of fifteen more books studying specific geographic areas, peoples, native cultures, and wildlife including, New Mexico: Images of a Land and Its People (University of New Mexico Press 2004). Pursuing a humanitarian concern, he traveled to Africa, at substantial personal risk, to document and raise awareness of peoples in crisis there, writing two acclaimed books based on his trips: Africa, The Holocausts of Rwanda and Sudan, (University of New Mexico Press, 2006), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and Darfur (University of New Mexico Press, 2009). His latest completed work The People, Pueblo Portraits is currently in publishing at the University of New Mexico Press and due to be released later this year. The book reflects his deep respect and care for Native American culture.

Mr. Niemeyer was an active member of St. Bede's Episcopal Church in Santa Fe, and had served on the Discernment Committee, as a photographer of the Episcopal Dioceses of the Rio Grande, and collaborated on a series of services called the Bridge of Faith, bringing together religious leaders of all faiths to worship for peace and understanding. He was also very proud of his work as the 'old man' on the team building homes for humanity in Juarez, Mexico.

Mr. Niemeyer is survived by his wife of thirty years, Joan; a son, Lucian, of Gainesville VAP and two daughters, Michelle Crivella of Charleston, SC, and Heather Van Luchene of Santa Fe, NM; two stepchildren, Kelly Novotny of Newark, DE and Bill Church of Bear, DE; and nine grandchildren. He is also survived by four siblings, A. Herman Niemeyer of West Chester, PA, Judge Paul V. Niemeyer of Baltimore, MD, Lisa M. Silver of Greenwich, CT, and Dr. Christian B. Niemeyer of Nashville, TN.

A memorial service to celebrate the amazing life and loving heart of Mr. Niemeyer will be held on Friday, April 29, 2016 at 10:00 AM at St. Bede's, Episcopal Church, 1601 S. St. Francis Dr. in Santa Fe with reception to follow. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions may be offered to the St. Bede's Renovation Fund. Per his request, his ashes will be interred at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.
Published in Albuquerque Journal on Apr. 10, 2016
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