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Remembering Bob Albee

 Robert Albee 1945 – 2020

 By CARZ NELSON

 

Robert Albee

Bob Albee was a great neighbor. He was a paragon of community involvement; his decades of work in Phillips spanned innumerable issues and organizations. He was generous as a mentor and a role model. He was a champion for social change. His work was fundamental to many neighborhood institutions that will continue well beyond his own life. Bob Albee has died, but his contributions to society will live on. 

the alley Newspaper owes a special debt to him for his work with the newspaper. He was on the Alley Board of Directors from 1996 until late 1999. He was also the creator and first editor of the Ventura Village Neighborhood News feature in the alley

Albee was from Huron, South Dakota. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1969 with a MA in the fields of Political Science and History. He helped start the radio station WOJB in the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation in Wisconsin in 1982. The station continues to bring community radio to the North Country to this day.

In 1991, he became the Assistant Director of the American Indian Community Development Corporation. In this role, he helped to revitalize East Franklin Avenue. He worked on projects like the Many Rivers East and West apartment buildings at 1400 and 1500 East Franklin Avenue.

With his wife Sharon, Bob developed A Partnership Of Diabetics (A-POD), a diabetes education and support program operated by and for people with diabetes initially as one of several other Community Health Action Teams within the Backyard Initiative, a partnership between community residents in seven neighborhoods and Allina Health, facilitated by the Cultural Wellness Center. A-POD eventually formed as its own non-profit organization. Albee received the Bruce Zimmerman Award from the Minnesota Department of Health in 2014 for his work in promoting diabetes self-management and empowering participants in their interactions with health care providers.

Albee served on the boards of numerous nonprofit organizations, including the Green Institute and Phillips Community Energy Co-op. He was an advocate for the Phillips Community Center and the Ventura Village neighborhood.

In 2017, he moved to Lynnwood, Washington to be near family. After a short battle with cancer, Albee died on October 6, 2020. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic is under control, (hopefully this spring,) a celebration of Bob Albee’s life will be held in Minneapolis. 

Bob Albee was passionate about talking with people, embellishing conversations and information through print and radio, and then welcomed and effectively used social media as it has evolved. Bob was the first and creative editor of Ventura Village News published in the alley newspaper beginning six years ago after being an Alley Communications Board member for four years in the late 1990’s. Bob was an amazing, dedicated, and inveterate good neighbor in meetings, yes, but most importantly, in person on the street, in their home, also at their home and backyard as he was always personably reaching out to others. We 

have missed him in the Phillips Community since they moved to the Seattle area, but he left memories and footprints here for us to follow and reminding us as Chief Seattle said, “Take only memories; Leave only footprints.”

– Harvey Winje, the alley Newspaper Editorial Leadership Team 

Bob did a lot of good things in the Native American community in Minneapolis over the decades that he lived there. He also spent a lot of time working in the Phillips neighborhood to improve the lives of people living here. For example, he fought to keep the swimming pool from being cemented in at the Phillips Community Center, believing that inner city kids need a place to learn to swim, and need access to such recreational places. He also ran diabetes meetings there since he suffered from that himself. Personally, for me Bob was a friend and mentor. He was on The Circle board for a long time and he cared deeply about our community and the newspaper. Overall, he led a life of service to other people and he is dearly missed. 

– Cat Whipple, Managing Editor of The Circle. 

Bob was a tireless champion for the Ventura Village and Phillips Neighborhoods and the people in the community. He saw possibilities and wanted to get things done. Almost 20 years ago, shortly after I joined the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, I was serving as center director at Stewart Park and Bob was kind, supportive and a true collaborator. He served as a bridge between the park and the community and he opened a lot of doors for me, which resulted in great connections and opportunities to develop great programming. Later, he was at the center of the transformation of the Phillips Community Center. He knew the importance of, and the need for, programming and services for those in the neighborhood. He really rallied for building renovations and rebuilding the pool. He was part of a group of passionate neighborhood advocates that worked with park staff to make the Phillips Community Center a great destination for youth and families. Bob will be missed by all who knew him and admired him. – Superintendent Al Bangoura, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

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