Ava Molnar Heinrichsdorff

6 entries | 1 photo
  • "A shining light for arts and culture in our community."
    - John Armstrong
  • "Ava was a pure delight. She enriched my life (first as a..."
    - Robin Root
  • "Ava was a continual spark of inspiration for Poetry West,..."
    - Loring Wirbel
  • "What an amazing human being."
    - Tim Carpenter
  • "Thank you Ava, for your sparkle, your intelligence, and..."
    - Laurie (Davis) Waalkes
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Ava Heinrichsdorff died peacefully with family at her side on January 24th. She is survived by her son Othman Llewellyn, his wife Aishah, granddaughter Hanaan, son Mark Llewellyn, and his wife Debbe.
Born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1931, Ava was the daughter of concert violist Ferenc Molnar and author Maria Molnar. Her parents immigrated with her to the United States when she was seven. At 17 she married David Llewellyn and entered Stanford as the youngest freshman, majored in Humanities and later got her Masters in Humanities at Colorado College. Ava married landscape architect and sculptor Gernot Heinrichsdorff in 1961; their marriage lasted 55 years until Gernot's death in 2016.
For 30 years she taught at The Colorado Springs School, 25 years as head of the English Department; there she taught literature, creative writing, ecology, history, philosophy, dance and interdisciplinary courses. Her pleasure in this variety kept her from accepting a university or administrative position. Her students often won regional prizes for their writings. For her creative teaching she was awarded state, national and international honors: the Colorado Language Arts Society's Outstanding Teacher Award, 1990; Leader of American Secondary Education, 1971; and The Association for Experiential Education's Practitioner of the Year award, 1988. She was a popular guest instructor for colleges, schools and professional groups. Her students remember her for her contagious enthusiasm and for bringing out strengths they didn't know they had.
Ava's professional life also included four other careers: writer, dancer, editor and photographer. She co-authored a novel, The Fire Goddess, and wrote dozens of articles for publications ranging from The San Francisco Chronicle and Western Horseman to The Independent School Bulletin. She performed and taught international folk dance (including belly dance, with the Sheikhani Middle Eastern Dance Troupe) and dance meditation, and she donated dance workshops and entertainments to charitable promotions. She founded the Second Horizon International Folk Dancers for senior citizens. Ava edited two books of short fiction by Arabian writers, several novels, and articles for non-profit organizations. As a photographer she specialized in livestock and horse photography for breeders and for shows. She also presented seminars in these professions at schools, colleges, universities, and organizations such as the Association of Experiential Education, the Outward Bound Schools, the National Wildlife Federation, the Colorado Outdoor Education Center, the Association of Colorado Independent Schools, PILLAR, and the Society of Children's Book Writers, and also for people in custody.
Her leisure activities spanned the arts, photography, training and showing horses, leading wilderness pack trips, archery, designing and sewing clothing and costumes, making jewelry, river rafting, and travel. Her longest camping trip was 6 months long. She and Gernot hiked, rafted rivers and explored on every continent except Antarctica. Her political activities involved environmental and civil rights issues. She enjoyed animals; besides dogs, cats and horses she sometimes took care of injured or orphaned wild animals - an owl, a porcupine, a raven, skunks and others.
She took immense pleasure in learning. Until she died, she continuously took courses at PILLAR and other campuses, as well as courses she bought from The Teaching Company. Every year she resolutely learned to do something new to her.
Ava's regular activities in her last decade included a philosophical discussion group, aerobic dance class, two book clubs, gym workouts, two writing groups, international folk-dance club, teaching dance workshops, leading nature walks in the Garden of the Gods for the Parks Department, mountain trips, concerts and theatre. Most of all she enjoyed the love of her family and friends.
A Celebration of Life for both Ava and Gernot Heinrichsdorff will be held on Sunday March 10th, 4:00 PM at
The Colorado Springs School Maytag (Building #5)
21 Broadmoor Ave.
Colorado Springs, CO 80906
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to The Colorado Springs School or a conservation organization of your choosing.

Published in The Gazette on Feb. 3, 2019
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