Australian academic and former ABC chair, Dame Leonie Kramer has died on April 21, Wednesday morning in Sydney at the age of 91.
Kramer passed away peacefully residing at Lulworth House nursing home in Elizabeth Bay after suffering from Alzheimer from several years.
Kramer was married to a South African pathologist, Harry Kramer in 1952 in England. After a year of marriage, the couple moved to Australia. Her husband died in 1988 after 36 years of marriage. Kramer and her husband have two daughters Jocelyn, and Hilary.
Her daughters had published a book in 2012 based on Kramer’s personal reflections as their mother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and subsequent progression of dementia.
Kramer had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for a few years. Following her worsening health due to her disease, Kramer’s daughters had admitted her to Lulworth House for full-time residential care in 2011.
Many notable Australians like former NSW premier Neville Wran have spent their final years at Lulworth House.
In addition to her severe condition, she had fractured her hip at residential care in 2012. This accident had significantly impacted her mobility.
On behalf of her family, St Luke’s Care has released a statement on her demise and her private funeral.
“In due course an announcement will be made regarding a celebration of Dame Leonie’s life which the broader community will be welcome to attend,” the statement said.
Being the first female professor of English in Australia, she was honored with the Inaugural Britannica Award in 1986 for the ‘dissemination of learning for the benefit of mankind’.
She had earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Melbourne in 1945 and later graduated Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford University in 1953.
During her successful career as an educator and board member, Kramer served on numerous public organizations. She is well-known for her bold decisions in broadcasting and education and arousing antagonism among various communities.
She was appointed as a Professor of Australian Literature in 1968 and served as the first female chair of the ABC from 1982 to 1983. She also was a one time director of Western Mining.
For a decade, Dame Leonie served as the chancellor of the University of Sydney. She was the first woman to be appointed chancellor. However, she decided to quit her authority as the chancellor in 2001.
It has been said that due to her alleged authoritarian style, the Senate was about to dismiss her.
Vice-chancellor Dr. Michael Spence of the University of Sydney issued a statement that the university community was saddened to hear her passing. He said that public life had lost a significant figure and a valued member of the university community.
“The University expresses its condolences to Dame Leonie's family and her large community of friends,” he said.