See more of the story 'Very special' Twin Cities ballet teacher leaves legacy of grace, greatness Ukrainian-American ballet dancer and educator Lirena Grisha Branitski was known for her dry humor, impeccable technique and distinct accent. Longtime civil rights activist Mel Reeves dies of complications from COVID Reeves, 64, was at the forefront of community activism. Itasca County deputy dies from COVID-19 at 41 years old His family thought he was getting better. That changed after he went into surgery. Plymouth tailor Mike Phung, remembered as a meticulous artisan, dies at age 61 Phung, who was not vaccinated, died of COVID-19. Leon 'Lee' Cook, a 'true man of the people' and lifelong advocate for tribal rights, dies at 82 He died Oct. 13 at Sanford Bemidji Medical Center in Bemidji of a breakthrough COVID-19 infection. University of Minnesota Regent Kao Ly Ilean Her dies at 52 She was the U's first Hmong regent. Gordy Johnson, innovative former Minneapolis police chief, dies of COVID-19 at 92 A 33-year career took him through stints as a sex crimes and homicide detective before his childhood friend Mayor Charles Stenvig appointed him chief in 1971. Dan Culhane, Twin Cities radio veteran and onetime co-host of morning show on KQRS, dies at 62 Lois Ireland Zwettler, artist whose paintings captured Wisconsin, dies of COVID at 92 Mary Ann Milton, pioneering real estate broker and entrepreneur, dies of COVID-19 complications Mildred Mae Hill, a teacher and family historian, dies of COVID-19 at 93 Hwei-Hsien Cheng, U soil scientist, dies of COVID-19 at 88 Clara Slayhi, globe-trotter who worked for U.S. embassies, dies of COVID-19 at age 91 LiHong 'Linda' Burdick, businesswoman and painter, dies of COVID-19 complications at 72. Shelly Meixsel, a Navy veteran and police records technician, dies of COVID-19 complications at 61 Violet Rocek, a social worker dedicated to helping Indigenous families, dies of COVID-19 at 85 Sai Shoua Yang, Hmong community leader, died of COVID-19 at 88 He traveled from Laos and refugee camps in Thailand to the fields of Minnesota. Sen. Jerry Relph is first Minnesota lawmaker to die of COVID-19 The first-term GOP senator from St. Cloud received the diagnosis in mid-November after coming in contact with someone in the state Senate chamber who had tested positive. Minnesota farm leader Anne Kanten dies Together in life and death: Couples battle coronavirus As COVID-19 has ravaged the elderly, couples who have spent nearly a lifetime together are dying together — days, sometimes hours apart. For some families, the losses are even more painful because a vaccine was almost within reach. Marianne Anderson, an elementary school teacher who lived an epic love story, dies of COVID-19 at 89 One man's struggle reflects state's loss of 5,000 to COVID Michael Wright's picture captured the state's attention; his death underscores the pandemic threat that has killed more than 5,000 Minnesotans. Lt. Tou-Fu Vang, Lao veteran and Hmong community leader, dies of COVID at 76 A quiet leader, he dedicated his life to public service, both in his native Laos and in the United States. Jon Hersch, hall of fame track coach and educator, dies of COVID-19 complications at 74 One of the highlights of his career was working as an official at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Jon Rondesvedt, Robbinsdale English teacher, dies of COVID-19 complications at 81 Lutheran pastor who combined his loves of ministry and nature dies of COVID-19 complications at age 58 The Rev. Jeff Walther, of Esko, Minn., died Oct. 25 of COVID-19 complications at Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth. Jean-Claude Tindillier, French chef, dies at 87 Carleton Professor Sy Schuster, trailblazer for diversity, dies at 94 The accomplished math professor, mentor and social justice activist died just days after contracting COVID-19. Robert Mennen, farmer and Purple Heart recipient, dies of COVID-19 at 77 Kenneth Meisel, federal air marshal and rancher, dies of COVID-19 at 55 Legendary Chisholm basketball coach McDonald dies after COVID diagnosis Bob McDonald, the winningest coach in Minnesota high school sports history, died Wednesday in Hibbing at age 87. His teams won more than 1,000 games during a 59-year career. Don Regan, founder of Premier Bank, beloved father, dies at 91 Choua Lee Yang, founder of Hmong charter school, dies of COVID at 53 Alden Hendrickson, U.S. Army vet and social services worker, dies of COVID-19 at 91 "Even though he had dementia, it's still sad that something like COVID-19 took his life," his son Tom said. Virginia Louise 'Ginny' Jacobson, retired teacher and community volunteer, dies of COVID-19 at 83 Phillip Radford, avid gardener and cheerful optimist, dies of COVID-19 complications at 77 Legendary Chisholm basketball coach McDonald dies after COVID diagnosis Bob McDonald, the winningest coach in Minnesota high school sports history, died Wednesday in Hibbing at age 87. His teams won more than 1,000 games during a 59-year career. TSA agent at MSP Airport dies of COVID-19 Gerald Girard, 67, is one of eight agents nationwide to succumb to the virus. Eugene Loya, dentist and avid golfer, dies of COVID-19 at 83 Donald Mayer, mechanical engineer and patent holder, dies of COVID-19 complications at 90 He spent much of his career at Thermo King Corp. in Bloomington, where he earned his 12 patents. Lawrence Allen, travel and football enthusiast, dies of COVID-19 complications at 70 Matthew Sean Williams, lawyer and online gamer, dies of COVID-19 at 40 How he contracted COVID-19 is likely to remain a mystery, his mother said. Georgie Herman, a beloved University of Minnesota librarian, dies of COVID-19 at 88 Marty Plombon, diabetes educator, dies of COVID-19 at 85 At North Memorial, she also trained medical student residents and interns and mentored other nurses. Kenneth Lynes, a bighearted handyman and avid bowler, dies of COVID-19 at 81 Janet Spearman, former head operating room nurse at HCMC, dies of COVID-19 at 79 Rachel Vrudny, an educator who battled adversity with optimism, dies of COVID-19 complications at 60 Vrudny, of Brainerd, was adventurous and tough despite a lifetime of health problems, her father said. Longtime Roseville wrestling coach dies of COVID-19 complications at 97 Kenneth Bergstedt started the wrestling program at Roseville's Alexander Ramsey High School in 1953 — the school's first year — and taught at the school for 32 years. Donna Johnson, who led Allina Health's library for decades, dies of COVID-19 at 82 Gerald Snyder, who led Chisholm High band for 30 years, dies at age 81 Gae Pearl, women's clothing designer, dies of COVID-19 complications at 87 Rosemary Stratioti, founder of the West Duluth Memorial Day parade, dies of COVID-19 at 89 DULUTH – Just a handful of family members were able to say goodbye to Rosemary Stratioti at a quiet graveside ceremony on July 2. In… Yussur Barkhad, an Afro Deli cook and Somali refugee, dies of COVID-19 at 63 Punctual and stoic, she was a devout Muslim and a humanitarian, those who knew her said. Cleo Herrera, who worked to protect children, dies of COVID-19 complications at 82 Walter Littman, mathematician and classical music lover, dies of COVID-19 at 90 Rep. Omar's father dies of complications from COVID-19 "It is with tremendous sadness and pain that I share that my father, Nur Omar Mohamed, passed away today due to complications from COVID-19," Rep. Ilhan Omar said. Adwina Jackson Baptiste, educator and poet, dies of COVID-19 complications at 71 Lucille Anderson, social worker who strove to help underprivileged youth, dies of COVID-19 at 94 Her mother stressed that education was the key to social mobility. Virginia Mae 'Ginny' Anderson, a longtime bank teller and editorial librarian, dies of COVID-19 at 91 For almost 40 years with the Second Northwestern Bank of Minneapolis on University Avenue, Virginia Mae “Ginny” Anderson was the smiling face at the teller’s… Marny Xiong, St. Paul school board chair, dies at 31 from COVID-19 Margarita Trautmann, an editor and Spanish language translator, dies of COVID-19 complications at 67 Clark Osojnicki, a financial analyst and champion dog trainer, dies of COVID-19 at 56 At the hospital, staffers had seen signs of improvement, and his wife felt certain he would return to their Stillwater home soon. Judith Bemis, author and mental health champion, dies of COVID-19 at 82 Ex-Armstrong volleyball coach Erickson dead from COVID-19 He led his program to five consecutive Class 2A championships in the 1980s. Patricia Forster, a teacher and lover of the outdoors, dies of complications of COVID-19 at 83 "She was never sitting around except when she was reading," a daughter said. Donald Bridell, a collector who loved auctions and garage sales, dies of COVID-19 at 89 Rich Herman, a gentle giant who worked in aviation, dies of COVID-19 at 66 He died soon after returning to his Rosemount home on April 8. Marion Klein, a leader in Jewish women's groups, dies of COVID-19 at 87 Patrick Petit, a teacher and woodworker, dies of COVID-19 complications at 82 On a phone call with family members in his final moments, he had a simple directive: "Be happy, be kind and keep learning." Minnesota Judge Steven A. Anderson dies of COVID-19 at 65 In the courtroom, he was Judge Steven A. Anderson. On the street, he preferred to be called Steve. Scott Melter, a hardcore Vikings fan and proud grandfather, dies of COVID-19 at 60 As devoted fans on opposite sides of the Vikings-Packers rivalry, Scott Melter and Ken Larson gave each other plenty of ribbing over the years.… Frederick 'Fritz' Koerner, engineer of a famous war spy plane, dies of COVID-19 complications at 86 Conrad 'Connie' Razidlo, ad man and artist, dies of COVID-19 at 85 His legacy spans arts, business and politics. Dr. Joseph Wethington, physician who helped build clinic network, dies of COVID-19 at 93 Even in his last days, he visited with family over Zoom. They stood outside his first-floor room, waving at him through the window. Anita Robinson, a librarian and casino tour bus organizer, dies of COVID-19 at 94 David Goulette, a gifted church organist with a rich bass voice, dies of COVID-19 at 83 Wayne Haskell, North High Class president of 1960, dies at 77 of COVID-19 complications Art dealer John Driscoll, who owned N.Y. gallery but kept Minnesota ties, dies at 70 He died April 10 in Putnam County, New York, due to complications from COVID-19. Arloine Morris, a hunter, angler and quilter, dies of COVID-19 at 89 She was one of the first victims of the novel coronavirus in Minnesota. Larry Windrum, a St. Paul antiques dealer and victim of COVID-19, dies at 81 Customers looked forward to the shop's annual holiday open house, with live music and invitations crafted by Windrum, a graphic designer. AG Keith Ellison's mother dies from COVID-19 complications Minneapolis City Council Member Jeremiah Ellison says positive coronavirus test made it feel like grandmother "was snatched from us." Gloria Lott, 88, was among the first to die in COVID-19 outbreak at Duluth assisted-living facility A Zoom call brought music and her family to her Essentia Health hospital room last week.