In Memoriam -- March 2021

Blackstone was skilled mediator

Barbara Blackstone was known as a mediator, especially when it came to matters involving the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Blackstone was director of the Minnesota Office of Dispute Resolution in the late 1990s and early 2000s. For almost two decades she worked on ADA-related disputes through the Key Bridge Foundation.

Blackstone died in January as a result of a fall and subsequent traumatic brain injury. She was 79 and most recently lived in Edina.

A Wisconsin native and 1963 Carleton College graduate, Blackstone lived in the Chicago area for a time. She became deeply involved in the women’s rights movement, worked as a city planner and then came back to Carleton College as alumni director.

She then became involved in the field of conflict and dispute resolution and mediation, as one of the first female mediators in Minnesota. Blackstone developed a statewide peer-mediation program for state government and the state college and university system. She later worked for the Washington, D.C,.-based Key bridge Foundation. the foundation is a non-profit organization providing ADA conflict resolution services, community mediation, and youth services.

She lived in Oregon for a time, returning to Minnesota in 2017. She is survived by two daughters, and two brothers. Services have been held.

Ryg dedicated to Thompson Hall

Josephine M. Ryg was half of a Minnesota couple with a long commitment to the state’s deaf and hard of hearing community. Ryg, 95, died in late 2020. She was 95 and lived in Minneapolis.

Ryg and her husband Louis were married for 63 years before he died in late 2011. He was the founder of the Metro Deaf Bowling League, a board member of the Metro Deaf Council, and president of the Metro Area Deaf Lions International.

Both were active in the Minnesota Deaf Society. She was the cook at Charles Thompson Memorial Hall in St. Paul, the nation’s oldest social gathering place for people who are deaf and hearing-impaired.

She is survived by a sister, three sons, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Services were held earlier this year.