BORN: 1901 - Port Washington, Wisconsin
DIED: 1981 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Born La Vera Ann Kempfer in Port Washington, Wisconsin, on January 20, 1901.
She first went to school at Holy Trinity Notre Dame Academy School in Milwaukee, where, she wrote, the nuns sparked her interest in music and art. Her family moved to Beloit when La Vera was 12; she attended high school there. At about this time-whether before the move of after is not clear-her mother divorced her father. The experience was apparently traumatic for her; at least that was how she described it to friends years later. Although raised Catholic, she seemed to have little interest in religion after the divorce; in the vitae of her dissertation, she states her religious affiliation as "konfessionslos"-undenominational.
Throughout her childhood, she demonstrated artistic talent, and her artwork had already appeared in regional exhibitions when she was a teenager. In 1918, she came to Milwaukee to study art. The leading teachers in the city at the time were Alexander Mueller (1872-1935) and Gustave Moeller (1881-1931)-both Wisconsin natives who had studied in Germany. She took classes with both of them at the Wisconsin School of Art, an organization that soon after merged with the Milwaukee State Teachers' College (now University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee). According to her own account, she studied privately with George Oberteuffer and a