IN MEMORIAM – January 2019

Grundy mentored and helped others Gary Grundy lived his entire life with physical and learning disabilities, so he was committed to […]

Generic Article graphic with Access Press logo

Grundy mentored and helped others

Gary Grundy lived his entire life with physical and learning disabilities, so he was committed to helping everyone reach their full potential. The former Lifeworks board member and honored volunteer died in December. He was 80 years old and lived in Lakeville. 

The South Dakota native was raised and mentored by his grandparents and other family members. He held degrees from North Dakota State University, where he met his wife, Karen, and the University of St. Thomas. He began his career at Unisys, later Lockheed Martin and then transitioned to Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Work colleagues praised him as “a leader, a listener and a good friend to all.” He authored the book The Fifth Breakthrough about empowering management tools and processes. He taught at and mentored staff and volunteers at corporations and nonprofits. Grundy called his approach “the business capability model.”

At age three Grundy began whittling with his grandfather. He eventually became a master woodworker, designing and building furniture and clocks.

He served twice on the Lifeworks board of directors and volunteered more than 300 hours to teach the LifeWorks staff. In 2012, Lifeworks gave him its Advocate of the Year award. He mentored and helped many people in his
volunteer and professional lives.

He is remembered for his passion for helping others and his sense of humor. Grundy is survived by his wife Karen, many friends and his two cats. Services are planned for a later date. Memorials can be given to Lifeworks.



Unni was dedicated to work, family

Dr. Chandra Sheila Unni is remembered for her devotion to family and the psychiatric patients she cared for. Unni, 78, died in November 2018. She owned and operated her own clinic in Rochester for about 20 years and worked closely with the Mayo Clinic.

Unni was from India. She contracted polio at a young age. She and her family moved to the United States in the 1960s. She was a practicing psychiatrist for more than 40 years and continued working into 2018. She was described by family as a “force of nature” despite significantphysical disabilities related to polio. She jet skied, tried snowmobiling, danced, cooked, decorated and enjoyed the arts. She very much enjoyed her extended family around the globe. She was part of the “Aiimsonians” group from her medical school days as at the All India Institute of Medicine.

Unni is survived by her husband Krishnan, three sons and their families, two brothers and other family members and friends. There will be a celebration on January 19 in Minneapolis. Please send inquiries to [email protected]



Johnson was dedicated volunteer

Eva Duncan Johnson was a pioneering volunteer for what is now Opportunity Partners. Johnson died in December. She was 98 and lived in Edina.

Johnson worked hard as a single parent for many years and then spent countless hours volunteering in many organizations. She was a lead volunteer at the first residential services arm of Opportunity Workshop, now Opportunity Partners. She had a special love for the people living there and worked tirelessly to implement programs for those with developmental disabilities. She served on boards and rolled up her sleeves to help.

Johnson was preceded in death by her son Rusty Duncan and husband, Hallick Johnson. She is survived by a son and daughter, stepchildren and their families. Services have been held. Memorials can be made to the Mount Olivet Homes’ Auxiliary, Opportunity Partners or the charity of one’s choice.


The Arc, MCIL were Crowe’s causes 

Mary “Jeanne” Crowe is remembered for her devotion to disability service groups. Crowe, 89, died in December. She lived in Bloomington and was a native of Chicago. She was a graduate of Marian College (now Marian University). 

Crowe taught in Texas and Illinois before her family moved to Ohio and later to Minnetonka. She worked as a substitute teacher in the Minnetonka Public Schools and continued her education at the University of St. Thomas and Loft Literary Center.

Crowe was a longtime advocate and active volunteer for causes related to children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She served on many disability community group non-profit boards and community organizations where she worked to develop and improve legislation, and create community programs to help families. In addition to her volunteer work, she was employed by the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL) for a time. She was well known within the Twin Cities’ disability community, especially with the Arc Greater Twin Cities. She won several awards for her work.

Funeral services were held in January, with burial in Illinois. Crowe was preceded in death by her husband, parents and sisters. She is survived by two daughters, two grandchildren and many niece, nephews and friends. Memorials may be made in her name to The Arc Minnesota, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, or a local library.

  • Work with your care provider to stay healthy. Protect yourself. Vaccines are your best protection against being sick.
  • Wash your hands! Hands that look can still have icky germs!

You are not alone. Minnesota Autism Resource Portal.