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# 198 Jack Ferman

# 198 Jack Ferman

Tales from the Cemetery by Susan Hunter Weir November 20, 2021, was a bittersweet day in the history of Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery. It was a sad day because it was the day that his wife and daughters buried Jack Ferman. It was a sweet day because he was buried where he wanted to be—in his family’s plot near the cemetery’s Lake Street gates. Jack’s was our first burial in 22 years and the first in the 21st century. If you attended one of the movies that we’ve shown in the cemetery and bought some snacks, there’s a good chance that you bought them from Jack. He attended every Memorial Day program for at least the past 20 years and possibly before that. He was at all of our fundraising events, always present and always helping out. He was on the Board of Friends of the Cemetery. He wrote about his immigrant grandparents who are buried in the cemetery in an Alley story published in January 2016. He followed politics, both local and national, closely and was a frequent contributor to e-democracy.com. He loved to tell jokes, most of them awful. Jack spent four years in the Navy. He had traced the story of his Norwegian seafaring family back to the 17th century. He had a Ph.D in metallurgy and worked on projects for General Motors and Westinghouse in the University’s Physics Department. Later, he worked for the Pollution Control Agency. One of the questions that we are most often asked is whether it is possible to be buried in the cemetery. The answer is almost always, “maybe, although it’s not very likely.” More than a century ago, in 1918, the City Council voted to close the cemetery to future burials. In 1935, they voted to allow exceptions for people who met certain conditions. Those who want to be buried there have to own a plot purchased before 1918 and to have a family member already buried in the cemetery. And the City has to approve the burial. Jack had the original deed to his family’s plot. It is dated [...]

Raise Your Voice:

Raise Your Voice:

Headstone Markers By PETER MOLENAAR Note: the stone for my own “resting place" has been chosen, hopefully ahead of time. December 30, 2021… Readers of the alley know Sue Hunter Weir is this neighborhood’s “master of cemetery.” It was at the American Swedish Institute’s open house that we chatted while tabling for the paper. She was stunned to learn from me that Lynne Mayo had passed away in September of 2020. I had only just recently come to know this myself… no thanks to COVID. It was via the 17th Avenue Community Garden that Lynne had become a “significant friend” some 20+ years ago. As life went on, geography and our common activism created occasional encounters, the last one taking place at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, a venue that day for a global warming protest. Why had she turned her head away? I realize now that a cancer was developing. Hey, I am grateful for the imperfections within persons whose lives have been so much larger than my own. Consider the life of Clyde Bellecourt. It was 30+ years ago that a misunderstanding occurred between the two of us. Then, a little more than a decade ago, I would balk before entering a discussion circle at the American Indian Center. Clyde was presiding, but he beckoned me to enter. It was always a cordial recognition between us after that.  Final encounters… The COVID cloud had thickened. Clyde had written an article for the alley which upheld our Urban Farm proposal. Ten copies were to be delivered to his house. His prolonged reticence at the door made an impression, after which he received the paper every month without my knocking. In the end, it was the cancer, not COVID, which “brought him home.” Missing from the nomenclature of phobias is a word designating fear of getting dressed up to enter a place of worship. Yet, that barrier was to be overcome in [...]

Giga-Waabamin Nee-Gon-We-Way-We-Dun

Giga-Waabamin Nee-Gon-We-Way-We-Dun

Neegonwewaywedun “Thunder Before the Storm” A.K.A Clyde Bellecourt, Co-Founder of the American Indian Movement Prominent Indigenous elder to local and nation-wide communities Nee-Gon-We-Way-We-Dun (Thunder Before the Storm in Ojibwe), also known as Clyde Bellecourt (White Earth Nation), passed to the spirit world January 11th, 2022. His dedication and steadfast work for the lives and heritage of Indigenous people worldwide -- fighting against police brutality; establishing and keeping Little Earth of United Tribes; initiating programs for health, education, safety, language, legal rights, cultural heritage, and education; advocating against racist sports names, icons, and mascots; and co-founding the American Indian Movement (AIM) --  was obvious locally and has been chronicled, in part, by the alley newspaper since the paper’s beginning in 1975. The alley newspaper is honored to memorialize him with this excerpt from a New Years reflection by Laura Waterman Wittstock, published in the December 1991 issue. - Laura Waterman Wittstock, Heron clan from the Seneca Nation, passed to the spirit world in January 2021. Prologue: THE DAMN TRUTH "YOU CAN PRAY ALL DAY AND NIGHT, but if you don't work damn hard you ain't gonna get what you want. That's the way I believe, you know? You see a tornado coming, know what you do? Put your tobacco out and pray. You know what you do next? Head for the basement. The Creator will help you, but you've got to help yourself. We in the American Indian Movement made a decision when we formed in 1968: if need be, we'd give our lives for what we believed. No longer would we allow our people to be victimized without fighting back."- 2018, The Thunder Before the Storm: The Autobiography of Clyde Bellecourt by Clyde Bellecourt, as told to Jon Lurie

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