In Memoriam – November 2018

Kyrklund was autism educator A leader in the field of autism education has died. Sarah Jane Kyrklund was 76 and […]

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Kyrklund was autism educator

A leader in the field of autism education has died. Sarah Jane Kyrklund was 76 and lived in Edina.

She was a native of Maryland, and held degrees from American University in Washington, DC, University of Minnesota and the University of Kansas. She held a PhD. and dedicated her career to teaching students with autism, and teaching teachers who worked in her field. She was also very much in demand as a speaker, and was highly regarded for her base of knowledge.

Kyrklund was an accomplished designer in the art of Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging).

She is survived by her sister and many other family members. Services have been held. Memorials can be made to N C Little Hospice, Autism Society of Minnesota or Normandale Lutheran Church.


Pauley championed the rights of others

Barbara Joann Pauley is remembered for championing the rights of vulnerable adults. Pauley, 68, was remembered at a memorial service this fall in her hometown of Mankato.

Pauley grew up in Madelia and attended Abbott Northwestern School of Nursing in Minneapolis. Her career experience included hospital and long term care and with clients in developmental disabilities and chemical dependence programs. She worked for the State of Minnesota for 20 years and inspected a variety of health facilities. She also conducted inspections in the cases of vulnerable adults.

She is survived by a sister, brother-in-law, and many nieces and nephews.


Coal’s artistry, activism burned brightly

Artist and advocate Char Diamond Coal believed strongly in promoting the work of visual art by people who live with mental illness. A celebration of her life was held in October at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, Minneapolis.

A longtime artists and performer, Coal died in November 2017. She had moved back to Marietta, Ga. to be closer to family after she became ill.

Born in Rochester, N.Y., Coal was born Charlene Waters. She developed an interest in fashion as a teenager, organizing fashion shows and training models. She moved to New York City where she was a disc jockey for the Playboy Club, owned a typing business, worked at Price Waterhouse Cooper and was involved in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Program.

Coal moved to the Twin Cities where she studied at the University of Minnesota. She won awards for her photography, painting and writing. She was a singer, was active in her church and did community outreach. She was involved with VSA Minnesota, Vail Place and other nonprofits.

Coal was best known for founding and operating ZagZum, to showcase visual art by persons with mental illness. She often spoke of her personal struggles with mental health, and used that experience in her art and advocacy. One of her best-known annual shows was at Hennepin County Medical Center, during Mental Health Awareness Month in May

She was preceded in death by a brother. Coal is survived by her parents, two sisters and their families, and many other family members and friends. Services were also held last year in Georgia.



Potaczek provided living options

Michael Allen Potaczek’s career led to provide living options and other services for adults with disabilities. He did in September after a long battle with cancer. He was 51 and lived in Plymouth.

The Wisconsin native was a graduate of Metropolitan State University, with a degree in psychology and business management in 1992. He pursued a career helping people with disabilities, establishing Progressive Habilitative Services, Inc. and M.A.P. Investments in 1996. As a successful owner in adult foster care with several facilities, he took great pride in making a difference in the lives of his clients and employees.

He loved travel, the arts and creative endeavors. He is survived by his mother, sisters and many other family members and friends. No services were held at his request.



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