University Libraries benefactor dies

Harvey Lemmen
Harvey Lemmen
Image Credit: Courtesy Ionia Sentinel-Standard
Harvey E. Lemmen Library is located in the Seidman House on GVSU's Allendale campus
Harvey E. Lemmen Library is located in the Seidman House on GVSU's Allendale campus
Image Credit: Valerie Wojciechowski
Former GVSU president Mark Murray, Harvey Lemmen and GVSU President Emeritus A. Don Lubbers
Former GVSU president Mark Murray, Harvey Lemmen and GVSU President Emeritus A. Don Lubbers
Image Credit: University Archives

Harvey Lemmen, a longtime benefactor to University Libraries, died July 25 at age 96. 

Lemmen donated nearly 30,000 volumes of books, printed memorabilia, and other materials to Grand Valley that included pieces about President Lincoln, the Civil War, slavery, Michigan and the Great Lakes and Lewis Carroll.

The Harvey E. Lemmen Library is located in Grand Valley’s Seidman House on the Allendale Campus. Lemmen donated funds for the expansion of Seidman House in 2000, which included state-of-the-art environmental, security and anti-fire systems, and compact shelving.

"Mr. Lemmen’s eclectic and wide-ranging interests are evident in the varied subject fields he collected," said Robert Beasecker, curator of Grand Valley’s Rare Books and Distinguished Collections. “His library was put together with a discerning eye and is remarkable for both its breadth and depth."

Beasecker said Lemmen enjoyed visiting the collections and seeing new acquisitions in his areas of interest. "Harvey was generous, kind, unassuming, and a gentleman," he said. 

Lemmen worked for Meijer, Inc. for 38 years. He started as an office manager in 1949, and rose to the positions of deputy chairman and chief operating officer. He helped establish the Meijer Credit Union and served on the board after his retirement in 1986.