The Camden Community has lost a real treasure. Ann Kaari passed away on February 9 after a long battle with illness. She was born Ann Marie Nelson on September 6, 1942 and was raised in Camden. She went to Jenny Lind Elementary School and Patrick Henry High School, graduating in 1960. She married Warren Kaari and they settled down back here in Camden where they raised their sons, Tim and Steve.
Ann was always involved in schools. For many years, Ann was a leader on the Loring School PTA, always working to get others involved and making sure the school was working for all children. When the school district decided to close a number of Northside schools in 1982, Ann spoke out against it. When the schools closed and the remaining schools, like Loring, became unbearably over crowded, Ann set up meetings between parents and district administrators. Then when it became apparent that the school district was giving all Northside schools the run around about their over-crowding issues, Ann helped form the Northside Schools Coalition so parents from all our schools could speak with one voice and the district would have to listen.
In 1988, members of the Coalition convinced Ann to run for the Minneapolis Board of Education. She won that election and went on to be re-elected two more times. For years Ann was a volunteer tutor at both Loring and at Harry Davis Academy, always letting students know they could succeed. She was also an active member of the Patrick Henry Foundation. In 2001, Ann was inducted into the Patrick Henry Hall of Fame.
It wasn’t just the schools that Ann gave her time to. She was a long time member of Boy Scout Troop 129 where she became one of Minnesota’s first women inducted into the Boy Scout’s prestigious Order of the Arrow. She was one of the founders of Holiday on 44th and remained on the steering committee even after she became ill. She was also very active in the Victory Neighborhood Association and Our Neighborhood Works.
Ann cherished her husband, sons and daughter-in-laws, other family and friends, but probably the biggest joy of her life was her grandson Owen, who Ann absolutely adored.
Ann served this community, and especially its children for decades and her passing leaves a big void in the fabric of our Camden Community.
Services were held on February 11. Memorials can be made in Ann’s name to either the Loring Community School PTA or the Patrick Henry High School Foundation.