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Constanze Flindt Lemke, 75, dies of cancer

Plastics News, Bill Bregar, -- April 21, 2003 -- About 60 people attended a memorial service April 11 in Atlanta for Constanze Flindt Lemke, a woman from Czechoslovakia who spoke four languages fluently, had a flair for interior decorating and gourmet cooking - and established Battenfeld of America in 1964. She ran the U.S. operation of the German injection press maker until the early 1980s, before leaving to join her husband, Bob Lemkeat at his machinery sales firm, ABC Lemke Inc. of Spartanburg, S.C. She died April 3 from cancer at age 75.

“In order to enjoy the color of a rainbow, you have rain and you have light,” her husband said. “And this is life.” Her life was full of light. Lemke broke new ground as a woman running a plastics machinery operation - still a rarity nearly 40 years after she became Battenfeld of America's first president. Born in Czechoslovakia, she studied in Germany, Switzerland and England. She had a master's degree in fashion design. She studied literature. Her language skills, especially her expertise in translating from English into German, helped her make contacts in the machinery world.

Known to business associates as Mrs. Flindt, she earned a reputation as a dynamic leader. “She was intelligent, she was tough, realistic and fair. They could call her the iron plastic lady,” her husband said. “She had a big heart when it came to people, but when it came to business and finances, she was outstanding. She put a lot of men in a corner.” In addition to running Battenfeld of America, she became the first woman, and first foreigner, elected to the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.'s national board of directors. She also served on the board of the Plastics Institute of America.


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