Ohlsson was care provider, artist
Elin Ohlsson is remembered as a disability rights advocate and the founder of the Care Planners and Care Planners Medical Supply. Friends recall her sense of fun and fashion, her love of the arts, her concern for animals and most importantly, her willingness to help other people. Ohlsson died in June due to complications from a stroke. She grew up in the Brainerd area, but was a longtime Twin Cities resident.
She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis as a young child. Ohlsson recalled stays at Gillette Children’s Hospital in St. Paul for treatment, including a stay that coincided with when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. She spoke eloquently of what it was like to grow up with a disability, in a time when there were few accommodations.
After college and a long professional career, Ohlsson founded Care Planners and Care Planners Medical Supply in 1994 as a means to better provide services to people with disabilities. She served as company CEO until her retirement in 2013. The company serves clients around the state.
Ohlson was a tireless and dedicated advocate for people with disabilities. She was a fixture at the state capitol. She was involved with various disability community groups and served on the board at Access Press. She enjoyed supporting the banquet silent auction and was proud to be a banquet co-emcee one year.
She had a deep interest in and compassion for the American Indian community and attended many events and ceremonies. She also delivered needed goods and children’s gifts to reservations.
Ohlsson had a deep love for the arts and was a talented painter, specializing in Sum-e brush paintings. She served on the board of a national Sum’e painting group.
Ohlsson is survived by a sister, two brothers and their families. Services have been held.
Tucker helped people reach potential
Catherine Tucker drew on her own health issues to challenge assumptions about people with disabilities and worked to help other reach their full potential. Tucker died in June. She was 59 and lived in Plymouth.
Tucker worked for various disability service agencies in the Twin Cities area for more than 30 years, including Homeward Bound Inc. in the western Twin Cities metropolitan area. She also served as a volunteer and past board member for the ARRM organization.
She is remembered as someone who stood up for her clients, and for what was right for them. Tucker was a strong proponent of the active support person-centered approach to empowering people with disabilities to engage more in their daily lives. She trained staff to let people with disabilities to do as much for themselves as possible. Tucker was at the forefront of the active support movement, which is considered to be standard now.
“She gave her life to people with disabilities,” Jeremy Wendt, executive director of Episcopal Group Homes in Wayzata, told the Star Tribune. “She had humanity and gentleness, and she made an impact on people just by being herself.”
Tucker had previously worked at Episcopal Group Homes and recently was elected president of the board of directors there. She had worked to shift the organization’s focus from disability-centered to people-centered services.
“She was a strong leader in the field and just a champion for people with disabilities,” said Lori Merriam, director of development at Homeward Bound.
“When you’re working with people with severe disabilities, it’s easy to do too much for them,” Merriam said. “Cathy trained staff to see that the long road is sometimes the best road.”
“This philosophy is mandated now, but Cathy was on the forefront of that,” Wendt said.
Tucker is survived by her sister and many other family members and friends. Services have been held.