A biography of Manfred from Ingelore, followed by remembrances of Ingelore
March 22, 1938 – February 18, 2021
Manfred Guido Maier was born on March 22, 1938, in Hamburg, Germany. He was the first-born child of Ludwig and Hermine. Manfred’s one sister, Monika Prem, lives in Munich. Both parents were professional photographers. At the time of Manfred’s birth, they operated a popular portrait studio in Hamburg, located in the same building in which the young family resided.
Ludwig was compelled to enlist in the German Army in 1939 and was killed in April 1942. Initially, the family remained in Hamburg but just prior to his death Ludwig instructed Hermine to take the children, abandon the studio, and seek refuge in the Austrian Alps, which she did. They lived there in a small mountain village for the duration of the war. One day, while living in the Alps, young Manfred fell while hiking, suffering a serious eye injury that resulted in the complete loss of his right eye. This unfortunate event, however, did nothing to deter Manfred from his lifelong love of hiking, nature, and the outdoors. The love of the wilderness is an enduring theme throughout Manfred’s life.
After the war, the family moved to Munich. Hermine was already well acquainted with anthroposophy and sent both children to the Waldorf school in that city. Manfred was also confirmed in the Christian community church. When Manfred graduated from the Waldorf school, a large party was given for the entire class. Through an acquaintance, Ingelore was invited to the same party, and the two met for the first time. At least one of the two immediately recognized the other as their lifelong partner. Qualities that Manfred exemplified throughout his life, such as exuberant enthusiasm, high energy liveliness, and inspired intensity, were all apparent that night as he danced the jitterbug and stayed up late with his erstwhile classmates excitedly discussing the education they had received and plans for the future. This was the first time Ingelore had heard of anthroposophy and she was deeply impressed with the way these young people spoke about their education and the reverence they had for the teacher.
Instead of the University, Manfred enrolled in a technical school and trained in the practical aspects of chemistry and lab work. After his training, he found work as a lab technician while Ingelore pursued her studies in curative education in Switzerland.
From an early age, Manfred knew that he wanted to come to America. He was drawn particularly to the wilderness of the Canadian and American west. A major inspiration for this was a man called Grey Owl (1888-1938). Grey Owl was a fur trapper, born Archibald Belaney in England, who had immigrated to the Canadian wilderness as a young man. Later, after awakening to a dire situation of the beaver in the natural world in general, due to overhunting and man’s exploitation of natural resources, he became an influential conservationist and writer whose words were translated into several languages, including German.
Now married, Manfred and Ingelore themselves immigrated to Canada in the mid-1960s, settling in Toronto. They joined the Sierra Club, were trained in proper backcountry techniques and etiquette, and began to make extended excursions into the wilderness whenever they had the chance. Manfred once again worked as a technician, this time in the hospital, and the two were warmly embraced by the small anthroposophical community of Toronto. It wasn’t long before friends told them about a new educational initiative in Pennsylvania called Beaver Run. With Ingelore’s training and Manfred’s adventuresome enthusiasm, they were a perfect fit for helping to pioneer and establish this fledgling community. They loved the work and the life there from the start and stayed there for over 40 years. Manfred threw himself into building the first gardens at Beaver Run and eventually discovered the great gifts he possessed as a teacher. He later became a much-loved chemistry teacher at the nearby Kimberton Waldorf school, in addition to his work at Beaver Run.
Manfred was both an adventurer and a scientist. His work with colored light therapy and his sense of wonder at observing the phenomena of light and color were enduring. Rainbows were sacred events for Manfred. This was well known at Beaver Run, and since the Maier home was situated on a slope facing toward the late day sun, providing no aspect for rainbow observation, when a rainbow did appear in the village, a large bell was rung to alert Manfred, who would always hurry out to where he could see it.
Holidays away from Beaver Run, especially in the early years, were inevitably spent in the western North American wilderness. The Maiers trekked the Sierras from east to west and came to know the land of Grey Owl as intimately as they could. A year’s sabbatical once provided Manfred with the opportunity to explore much of the world that he hadn’t yet seen, as he traveled through India, New Zealand, and Africa, eventually living for a time at a wildlife refuge in Africa and making friends wherever he went. In later years, when trekking and rucksack days were passed, the Maiers tended to spend their holidays in Europe, especially seeking out places connected to the spiritual history of the Middle Ages.
In the second decade of the twenty-first century, Manfred showed signs of change. Seemingly at once, he was no longer able to teach. These were the signs of dementia that far too soon and rather quickly, made it all but impossible for Manfred’s lively spirit to express itself through his body, although at times the sparkling gaze of his eye still revealed the depths of his knowing and the presence of an ever-watchful eternal human spirit. Manfred and Ingelore moved to Camphill Ghent just before Christmas 2015 and, through their presence, once again made lasting and important contributions to a young community. Just over two years later, on January 1, 2018, Manfred moved to the Whittier Rehab (now Ghent Rehab), where he has remained, visited by Ingelore and others on an almost daily basis.
As told to John-Scott Legg by Ingelore on July 24, 2019
November 14, 1936 ~ January 1, 2021
It is with tremendous sadness I heard the news of her passing on the new year’s day. Ingelore was a teacher of mine (together with Rudiger Janisch) for the Face-to-Face Seminar (seminar on curative education and social therapy/course on soul care). She was a wonderful teacher, conveying much knowledge of Anthroposophy and curative education with so much warmth of heart. I think many people felt comfortable around her because of her warmth. I will miss Ingelore very much, so will be the case for many others. Thank you very much for all you gave for others.
Triform Camphill Community
I was 19, fresh off a flight that took me from Belgium via Iceland to JFK airport in fall of 1970. Barefoot, I had started my trek in Thornbury, UK, made my way via London to Dover from whence I took a ferry to Ostend and then a train to the airport! A hippie, you would have called me! A day later in NY I was met by a spry, black bearded gentleman by the name of Manfred Maier, who immediately asked if I had shoes, warning me that many places would not admit me inside unless I had footwear on!
We drove some 3 hours south to Pennsylvania with me gaping in wonder at the size and expanse of this huge country! Finally driving into Camphill Beaver Run, I felt a certain familiarity, a comforting feeling as we drove to the Chantry where I was dropped off and met by Ursel Pietzner, wife of my godfather Carlo. The next day I met ‘Ingo’ as she was known then, because a couple of weeks later I moved into the recently completed new house called Trillium where she and Manfred were ‘house parents.’ Ingo kept a very organized and aesthetic house and some of her cooking reminded me of meals at my European grandparents’ houses! I was advised and supported by Ingo who had high expectations for me, especially as I came from a Camphill family! Being the free spirit I was, all primed to spread my wings, I did not necessarily fully appreciate her sobering, sensible advice, but always respected her.
Years, years later, when already trained as a Eurythmist, returned to the States, and married with young children, Ingelore would be my ‘questor’ for joining the Camphill Community! Her recognition of the uniqueness of the path towards community specifically for a former staff child was beautifully and powerfully articulated in her deeply felt words. I will hold these close for the rest of my life. Finally, Ingelore was a skilled master teacher and I learned so much from her!
I know Ingelore will work tirelessly from the other side!
warm greetings, Raymonde Fried
Ingelore was my personal mentor during my time at Beaver Run (around 2007-2012). I remember fondly our talks over tea in Treehouse… She helped guide my final seminar project and opened my eyes to so much in her gentle way. She also was part of some of the retreats I went on and I will never forget the grace, reverence and enthusiasm with which she taught the content of the retreat. I left Beaver Run a few years before she and Manfred did and then would visit when they lived in Ghent. We also wrote each other a few times a year and I attached a photo of some of the cards she has sent me through all these years. The last time I visited Ingelore was in late March of 2019. At the end of her visit she took my hands and asked that we say this verse together:
To wonder at Beauty
Stand guard over Truth
Look up to the Noble
Resolve on the Good
This leads us truly
To purpose in living
To right in our doing
To peace in our feeling
To light in our thinking
And teaches us trust
In the workings of God
And all that exists
In the widths of the world
And the depths of the soul.
We wept and said goodbye.
She is the warm, gentle, rosy peach glow of sunset now.
Here are a few remembrances of Ingelore: it’s impossible to talk about Ingelore however without Manfred, as they were such a loving, dynamic couple.
In the Fall of 1969, after I had been in Beaver Run for a year and was starting second year of the Camphill Seminar, Manfred and Ingo (as she was called then) arrived from Canada, after an extended vacation on the beach at Acapulco, while waiting for their visas to come through.
They were a slender, handsome couple. We lived together in the Little House, now the office, together with an eccentric elderly lady named Mame Davis. (Although she was surely much younger than I am now!) We became good friends, and I remember many philosophical talks with Manfred and discussions with Ingo about Anthroposophy. Manfred immediately took up land work (as well as his favorite hobby, jogging), while Ingo took a class, in those days in the craft house. I was her class helper, and remember her gentle admonishments as I seemed to always fall asleep (little wonder, we got so little sleep back then!)
The next year they became houseparents in Trillium, with Raymonde living in the house as seminarist, while Manfred started the garden in what had been a forest of locust trees. Manfred developed a wonderful relationship with Ursli Schwabe, then 4, who loved to ride with him on the tractor.
Over the years we worked together in so many different capacities, as co-seminar faculty, community members, folk dance teachers, and in very intimate Doctor-Patient relationships, as each of them confronted multiple serious health crises. It was truly awe-inspiring to experience how both Manfred and Ingelore faced their numerous health issues with equanimity and great courage.
I visited them once a few years back, in Ghent. They were still living together. In spite of his dementia, Manfred recognized me immediately. As we spoke, I could still experience how fiercely the love of Camphill and Anthroposophia burned in Ingelore’s heart, while Manfred, so eager to participate, would begin sentences which he was unable to finish.
Both Manfred and Ingelore made enormous contributions to Beaver Run which live on in the life and destiny of the community, as well as in the hearts of hundreds of people whose lives have been enriched for having lived and worked with them.