In Memoriam

Mental health was her focus 

Marcia Kay Taylor Lovejoy used her lived experience with mental illness to advocate for others, at the local and national levels. Lovejoy died in late 2021, She was 73 and lived in St. Louis Park. 

Lovejoy grew up in the Twin Cities. While in her first year at the College of St. Benedict, she met a priest who encouraged her to travel to Mississippi to work with Head Start. She became involved in the civil rights movement and was part of the march known as Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. 

She returned to college for her sophomore year but was diagnosed with schizophrenia and had to leave school. She spent a decade in hospitals and residential facilities.   

In 1978, through People Incorporated, Lovejoy started speaking to high schools and groups. She became a part of Project Overcome, a mental health advocacy and awareness group. At a conference in Washington, D.C., she met representatives of President Jimmy Carter’s administration and was invited to be a consultant for the National Institute of Mental Health. That led to numerous public speaking engagements to educate others about mental health issues.  

Lovejoy was later appointed by President Ronald Reagan to be on an executive committee focused on employment opportunities for people with disabilities. That led to the chance to attend international conferences on disabilities, and an appearance on the television show Nightline. 

She is survived by cousins and their families. Services have been held. 

Loer was valued employee 

Joel Loer marked 30 years’ employment with Washington County in 2020, in a job he loved. He retired due to health reasons and died in fall 2021. He was 53 and lived in Maplewood. 

Loer had Down syndrome and is believed to be the first person with developmental disabilities to be employed by Washington County. Coworkers remembered him as a sweet man, who worked hard and took his tasks seriously. He sorted papers, stamped envelopes, assembled urinalysis kits and assembled informational packets on adoption, aging, child support, chemical dependency, medical assistance, foster care and other county services. 

He missed a month of work in July 2021 because of heart problems, but insisted on returning to work one month later. 

Loer’s job gave him a chance to form meaningful relationships and share his talents with the community, his mother Joan Loer told the Pioneer Press

He enjoyed shopping, dressing up for work and collecting and wearing funny socks. Loer had many hobbies and very much enjoyed travel. 

Loer is survived by his mother, a sister, a brother and nieces. Services have been held. Memorials preferred to Northeast Residence or Rise Inc. 

Pearson an early ARC leader

Curtis A. “Curt” Pearson championed many causes, including services and supports for people with developmental disabilities. Pearson died in late 2021. He was 94 and lived in Wayzata. 

Pearson grew up in Madison, Minnesota, where he was a star athlete.  

He enlisted in the U.S. Navy upon graduation from high school in 1945, after his older brother had been killed in action. He attended St. Olaf College and then transferred to the University of Minnesota. He later graduated from William Mitchell College of Law. 

Pearson had a long career of civic and government service, serving on the St. Louis Park City Council and in private legal practice that included serving as a suburban city attorney. He represented the Bassett Creek Water Management Commission before Congress, in connection with a $35 million flood control project. 

In the 1960s, Pearson was one of the founders of the Minneapolis Association for Retarded Children, now part of Arc Minnesota. He served as its president for several years. He was a longtime supporter of Mount Olivet Rolling Acres in Excelsior. 

Pearson was preceded in death by his wife Ramona and two sons. He is survived by three children and their families. Services have been held.