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Carol Kratz, who fought to save parkland and homes from condemnation for a new highway in south Minneapolis, died July 16 in Minneapolis.

She was 77 and had been undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Along with Kratz, thousands of area residents and passersby signed petitions opposing the rerouting of the Hiawatha Avenue/Hwy. 55 corridor between E. 46th Street and Crosstown Hwy. 62.

To Kratz, who grew up on a farm in Medford, Minn., it was more about saving urban parkland than her house, said her family.

"She stood up for something that she believed in," said her daughter, Deb Kratz of Mahtomedi.

"Here's this government bureaucracy, coming down to take this away, and she didn't think it was a good enough reason," said her son, Greg of Burnsville.

"It got her dander up," said her son. "She was ready to go as far as she could to delay the inevitable."

For years she kept neighbors motivated and kept herself informed about the issues and laws, said Lynn Ford of Minneapolis, a leader in the Preserve Camp Coldwater Coalition, a successor group to the Park and River Alliance that Kratz helped lead.

"There was a gentle strength about her," said Ford. "She really connected with the land she lived in and on, and she participated in nature."

Indian and EarthFirst activists joined in the fight, camping in teepees on her front lawn.

In 1998 she told the Star Tribune, "I thought, 'Thank you, God. There's somebody here to help me fight the battle.'"

But those opposed to the new road lost. After 43 years in her home, the state bought it, and Kratz moved less than a mile away.

Her first husband, Al, died in 1999.

In addition to her children, she is survived by her second husband, Charles Sargent of Minneapolis; sister Dorolyn Sohner of Chewelah, Wash.; brother Donald Tuttle of Elgin, Ill.; four grandchildren and three step-grandchildren.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. Monday at Henry W. Anderson Mortuary, 3640 23rd Av. S., Minneapolis, with visitation at 1 p.m. at the funeral home.