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Anne Desmond

1930 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Anne Desmond Obituary
Anne R. Desmond


Anne Ross (Doak) Desmond, age 83, passed on to the ages on Feb. 19, 2014 surrounded by the love of her children and grandchildren. Anne led by example, constantly showing us how compassion, understanding, and uplift can make this life beautiful. She tirelessly served those less fortunate than her, the frail, the disadvantaged, the distraught, and the needy. Ever the consummate learner and educator, having achieved degrees just shy of her Ph. D. in Education, she perpetually, gently, and by constant example taught that prejudice, intolerance, bigotry, and ignorance are the only forces that defeat us. Anne thrilled in the expansion of her wonderfully multi-cultural family and dearly loved each and every grandchild and great-grandchild of African, Asian, European, Latin American, and Native American descent.

Anne was born to Herbert and Edith Doak in Camden, NJ in 1930. When she was 10, Anne's family moved to an Arizona ranch where she developed a love of horses and country life. Anne migrated as a young adult first to Texas, then California, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. She finally found fertile soil for roots in North Mpls. A proud blue-state liberal cut from the Humphrey-Mondale mold, her first career was that of full-time homemaker and part-time DFL political and civil rights activist. Throughout this time, Anne raised six children while completing her BA, MA, and Specialist degrees in Education at the University of Minnesota. She then built a 25 year second career as a grade school teacher, special education teacher, and professional public relations advocate for the Mpls Public School System.

Retirement from the Mpls schools made way to her third career as Professional Volunteer. Anne gave selflessly, donating both time and unstoppable energy to many nonprofits and causes. They included her Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, the Minnesota League of Women Voters, the Annandale Care Center, St. Benedict's Senior Community, and the American Association of University Women.

Anne traveled extensively, on a frugal budget, as an Elderhostel participant, capping her many "learning adventures" with a dream trip to Scotland, home of her ancestors. Her children cherish their childhood memories of Anne's tent-camping summer vacations.

After meticulous planning, Anne returned to her country roots and built the hilltop home of her dreams, in South Haven, MN. There, she gardened with reckless abandon, planting and nurturing acres and acres of vegetable and flower gardens, trees, and shrubs … with the ever-present romping of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She continued gardening and nourishing family in her final "city home" in St. Cloud.

Anne is survived by her children Allen (Cheri), Andy (Mary), Ginny (Lanny) Linehan, Dan, Betsy, and Kathy Brown; 13 grandchildren, Aaron, Anya, Matthew, Peter, Mark, Alex, Joe, Michael, Jessica, Emily, Charlie, Jennifer, and Rachael; and 14 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by a multitude of friends, past and present colleagues, and close admirers. We miss you, "Anne/Mom/Grandma/etc." as you signed your emails, but we shall never stop learning from the sterling example you set for us all.

A celebration of Anne's life will be held Monday, Feb. 24 at 11 am at the St. Cloud Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 3226 Maine Prairie Road, St. Cloud, MN 56301, 320-252-0020. Lunch will be served after the service. The family asks that memorial donations, in lieu of flowers, be made to Anne's beloved community, the St. Cloud Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Private interment.

Published in the St. Cloud Times on Feb. 23, 2014
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