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Madonna Letzring

Madonna Letzring, 80, of Cavalier, ND passed away Sunday, May 10, 2015, at Wedgewood Manor, Cavalier. A vigil service will be held Monday, May 18, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. at the Askew Funeral Home, Cavalier.

Madonna was born on February 1, 1935 to Ernest and Elsie (Connor) Letzring in Grafton, ND. She grew up in Cavalier and graduated from Cavalier High School in 1953. In 1957 she graduated from St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN and then received her Master’s and Doctorate degrees from the University of Maryland.

A longtime resident of the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia, Dr. Letzring joined Temple’s faculty in 1967. Her field was 18th century British literature. She served at the University for 37 years, during which time she was elected chair of her department and appointed as dean and director of several Temple University programs abroad. After teaching English for three years in Rome, Italy, she was asked to lead the campus there and did so from 1989 to 1991. Before that, she served as director of the University’s London program and shortly before her retirement in 2002, travelled to Japan to teach at the Temple campus in Tokyo.

While teaching in Philadelphia, she was a faculty advisor to Jim MacNair, a doctoral student in sociology who was writing a dissertation on community gardens. “I was grateful to Madonna for guiding me in my research,” he said. He and Dr. Letzring were both asked to serve as Horticultural Society judges for community gardens in Philadelphia.

Letzring was an active Board member for over ten years of Historic RittenhouseTown, an early industrial community where the first paper mill in British North America was built by William Rittenhouse. Paper produced at the Rittenhouse mill was sold to printers in Germantown, Philadelphia and New York. For six years she chaired the History Committee and from the years 2004 to 2006 she edited the organization’s Journal of History, Volumes 1-3.

An avid gardener, Dr. Letzring is remembered by RittenhouseTown director Chris Owens as a “dedicated and energetic volunteer who loved working in the village gardens. “ A woman who always gave great attention to details, Letzring was determined to help clear the RittenhouseTown gardens of weeds. According to Dr. Owens, her motto was “it isn’t worth the effort to weed, if you don’t get the root out, too!” Some years after Dr. Letzring’s retirement, she moved back to North Dakota.

She is survived by her siblings: Richard (Phoebe) Letzring and Geraldine (Howard) Kaercher, all of Cavalier, ND and Joyce Bliderman, St. Paul, MN and many nieces and nephews. Preceeding her in death were her parents.

Preceding her in death were her parents; brother, Jerome and sister, Rita.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Madonna Letzring, please visit our flower store.


Monica and I met serving on the board of Historic Rittenhousetown. We enjoyed walking, gardening, dining and traveling together. She had a wonderful sense of humor and wit. Always modest, she had many talents which she generously shared. We all will miss her.

Coxey Toogood May 18 2015 12:00 AM

Rick & Phoebe, Geraldine & Howard & Families, Our deepest sympathy to all of you at this sad and difficult time. You gave Madonna so much of your time, love and I am sure laughter. Hold those time close to your heart and let them provide you with comfort and strength to know that she is now resting in the arms of our LORD and Savior. God bless all of you and God bless her memory! Don & Michelle Murray

Don & Michelle Murray May 14 2015 12:00 AM