Patrick’s work was ‘not done yet’
Motivational speaker and author Mike Patrick often said that he used his wheelchair as a speaking platform, talking about his life with quadriplegia. Patrick died September 20 after being hospitalized for several months. He was 61 years old.
Patrick most recently lived in Bloomington, where he founded and ran Patrick Communications, Inc. He was a graduate of the University of Minnesota.
As a young man he was a standout, multi-sport athlete at Worthington High School. In September 1971, his neck was broken while making a tackle during a football game. His hometown friends read regular newspaper updates on his treatment, which included spending six weeks on a Stryker frame — which turned his body every two hours — at Sioux Valley Hospital in Sioux Falls. The Worthington community rallied to help his family cover his medical expenses.
Patrick lived in the Twin Cities for many years. But he never lost touch with his Worthington friends. He was an active member of the Worthington High School Class of 1973 and helped organize reunions. He loved basketball and was a longtime University of Minnesota men’s basketball season ticketholder.
He is remembered for his strong speaking skills and his influence on many people. He reached out to young people, to motivate and inspire them. Over time Patrick estimated that he had spoken more than 5,500 times. His book, I Still Believe in Tomorrow, was published in 2011.
During one speech on Minnesota’s Iron Range, he was telling listeners how he had lived for 33 years and not the nine predicted after his injury. When he asked the audience why he was still here, one young man replied, “Because you’re not done yet.” Patrick then adopted that phrase as an ending for his talks and as a title for his blog.
Patrick often used humor to get his points across. He would speak from experience about knowing that one’s hopes and dreams are gone, and that it may not feel like life is worth living.
Patrick is survived by many family members and friends, including his mother Colleen. No services were held, at his request. A memorial fund in Patrick’s honor is being established at Worthington Federal Savings Bank.
Huelster was children’s advocate
Mary Ann Huelster is remembered as a pioneering advocate for children with Down syndrome and other disabilities. Huelster died in August of a stroke at age 91. She lived in St. Paul.
More than 60 years ago, she and her husband, Howard,
helped found what was then known as the Association
for Retarded Citizens in St. Paul. She had stayed
active with what is now Arc Greater Twin Cities and
attended its pioneer lunch and celebration last year.
Huelster grew up in Chaska and was a graduate of Macalester College, where she met her husband. Their son Scott was born with Down syndrome in 1950. The family made the difficult choice of having Scott institutionalized for a time. But the Huelsters and many other parents wanted more for their children. They began meeting and formed the St. Paul ARC chapter in 1950. Mary Ann and Howard Huelster were dedicated ARC volunteers through the 1990s. They lobbied lawmakers, worked with other parents and helped run a Minnesota State Fair booth. Howard Huelster, who died in 2015, served as president of the St. Paul and statewide ARC groups.
Mary Ann Huelster was also active with the League of Women Voters. Family members describe her as someone with local and global social interests, with a lifelong concern for environmental issues and social causes. She was a longtime member of Unity Church of St. Paul.
Her son Scott preceded her in death. Three other sons and other family members and friends survive Huelster. Services have been held.