Sasseville, Katherine (Kati) Eriksson of Fergus Falls, MN, passed away in her home on May 16, 2013, with family by her side. Kati was born in Fergus Falls on August 18, 1934 to James S. and Lucille Rosalie (Laramie) Eriksson. She was the eldest of seven children. Kati graduated from Washburn High School in Minneapolis in 1952, and attended Rockford College in Illinois until she married John Sasseville in January of 1954. They had six children, raising them in Bloomington, MN. When their youngest child started kindergarten, Kati returned to college at the University of Minnesota. She graduated in 1970 and went on to the University of Minnesota Law School where she became the first school's first female Law School Student President. In 1973 she graduated and moved to Northern Virginia where she was a trial attorney in the Office of General Counsel for the US Navy. In 1975, Governor Wendell Anderson appointed her as the first woman to serve on the Minnesota Public Service Commission (n/k/a the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission); she later became the first female Commission Chair. She left the Commission in 1981 and opened a law firm in Fargo, ND specializing in utility and transportation law. In 1982 Kati returned to Fergus Falls and became the General Counsel for Otter Tail Power Company. She retired in 1997. Throughout her life, Kati was involved in myriad volunteer and community organizations, including the Bloomington Civic Theatre, Welcome Wagon, and the Ripon Society. In Fergus Falls, Kati became involved in activities and organizations such as Rotary, BPW, AAUW, Kilo Club, and the Otter Tail County DFL. She ran for Congress in the 7th Congressional District in 1990. Kati also ran for both the State House and Senate at different times in her life. Kati was a founding member of All The Good Old Girls, with former MN Secretary of State Joan Growe, Justice Rosalie Wahl, and many other great women of MN history. In 1980 Kati was awarded the Diamond Super Woman Award from Harper's Bazaar Magazine and DeBeers Diamonds. Kati is survived by five of her six children: Laramie Sasseville, Minneapolis; David (Mary) Sasseville, Bloomington; Melanie (Jim) Lesh, Gustavus, AK; Jon Erik (Tina) Sasseville, Bloomington; and Rea (Fred) Sasseville, Fergus Falls; eight of her nine grandchildren: Elise Epperson (Tom) Crow, daughter of Jolie, Santa Monica, CA; Natalie Sasseville, Bloomington, Madeleine (Jimmy) Adkins, Philadelphia, and Julia Sasseville, Bloomington, daughters of David and Mary; John and Carter Lesh, sons of Melanie and Jim; and Erika and Gaby Sasseville, daughters of Jon and Tina; all six of her siblings: Liz (Don) Sweder, Fergus Falls; Jim (Diana) Eriksson, Maryville, TN; John Eriksson, Houston, TX; Maggie Eriksson, Fergus Falls; Mark (Christina) Eriksson, Hopkins; Steven (Jane) Eriksson, Fergus Falls; six nieces and nephews; and fifteen great nieces and nephews. Kati was preceded in death by her parents, her former husband John Sasseville, her daughter Jolie Sasseville (Jim Alzheimer), granddaughter Chelsea K. Sasseville- Melvin, and nephew Mark L. Eriksson. A celebration of Kati's life will be held in Fergus Falls, MN on July 16, at the Center for the Arts, 124 W. Lincoln, at 10:30 a.m. Memorials are preferred to the Center for the Arts.
This obituary was originally published in the Star Tribune.