In Memoriam: Appleby, Hilgendorf

In Memoriam: Appleby, Hilgendorf

Appleby was award winner

Calvin “Cal” Appleby believed that everyone had the potential to be and do good. He reached out to those often marginalized by society, including people with disabilities.

Appleby died earlier this summer. He was 87 and lived in Minneapolis.

He won the Access Press Charlie Smith Award in 2013 for service to Minnesota’s disability community. At the time, Appleby said, “My life’s purpose has been to work with people who may be marginalized by the rest of society.”

 If people were willing to come forward and take part in his classes and groups, Appleby said he was willing to help them better themselves. He saw himself as a catalyst in the lives of others

Appleby grew up in Ohio, in a small town on Lake Erie. he developed a devotion to New Age thought and meditative practices.

After graduating from Ohio State University, Appleby moved to the Twin Cities to attend graduate school at the University of Minnesota with the goal of becoming a psychology or sociology professor. He taught at the U of M and Augsburg College for many years, but also taught in prisons, nursing homes and in facilities for people with mental illness.

He worked extensively with students with disabilities at Augsburg, led disability awareness classes and advocated for issues including the need for the Augsburg campus to be wheelchair-accessible.

He also worked for years with people with chemical dependency issues, serving as a counselor at recovery centers and implementing yoga and meditation into that work.

Appleby also brought volunteers to teach prison inmates, earning him the Virginia McKnight Binger Award in human services.

He also was an advocate for people with disabilities. He led disability awareness classes and groups at Augsburg. He also helped push the school to be wheelchair-accessible.

He is survived by his life partner Laurie Savran, son Kevin Appleby, Savran’s children Jessica and Deborah, and grandchildren. Services have been held.

Hilgendorf championed many causes

Ralph Hilgendorf
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Blindness caused by an accident didn’t stop Ralph Hilgendorf, who spent much of his career in state government. He and his family also were involved in an array of social justice issues. Hilgendorf, 88, died in June. He was 88 and lived in St. Paul’s Midway area.

His early years were spent on the family farm near Welcome, in southwestern Minnesota. He got his pilot’s license as a teenager and purchased a Piper Cub J-3 airplane. At age 17, he lost his vision in a plane crash.

Hilgendorf moved to Minneapolis and attended the University of Minnesota. The move helped him adjust to being blind. He received his B.A. degree from the U of M and then went on to earn an M.S. in vocational rehabilitation counseling at what is now Minnesota State Mankato.

He worked for a few years in West Virginia and Mankato before moving to St. Paul. Hilgendorf spent decades serving as assistant director for what is now State Services for the Blind of Minnesota. he retired from state government in 1991.

He was a valued mentor and advisor to many people who were adapting to life without sight. “He would advise them in terms of what kind of resources were available, but he also was empathetic — because, of course, he’d already been through the same thing,” said Hilgendorf’s daughter Cherry Flowers.

The family housed deaf foster children, a Salvadoran refugee in need of sanctuary, college students and activists. More than 50 people lived with the family over the years.

The Hilgendorf family frequently took part in protests on social justice issues. He marched on the Lake Street Bridge every week for years to demonstrate his opposition to war and violence and participated for many years in the annual protests at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia. In 2006, he and Kay received the Honorary Award of the Vincent L. Hawkinson Foundation for Peace and Justice in recognition of their lifelong involvement in peace and social justice causes.

Hilgendorf was a longtime member of the Society of Friends meetings and became a leader in the Quaker community. He served on boards for the North American Water Office, Friends for a Nonviolent World, Scattergood Friends School, Minnesota Institute of Sustainable Agriculture and the Minnesota State Rehabilitation Association. He served on committees for Twin Cities Friends Meeting. He served as director of FNVW People Camp for at least one year, was on the camp planning committee and may still be the record-holder for number of years in attendance. He co-founded Whole Grain Milling Company.

Ralph and Kay Hilgendorf were named volunteers of the year at Friends School.

Hilgendorf is survived by his wife Kay, five children and their families including grandchildren and one great-grandchild, and four brothers and their families. Services have been held. Memorials preferred to Scattergood School, Friends School of Minnesota, Friends for a Nonviolent World, or Twin Cities Friends Meeting.