2014 Northern Lights

We lost many this year whose generosity of spirit epitomized Minnesotans. Our “Northern Lights” represent them, inspiring us all.

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Star Tribune

Lives of service

Our Northern Lights

Trains once again grind to a stop, picking up passengers at St. Paul’s Union Depot. We loll before a lakeside concert on a summer evening, in the shadow of a fanciful band shell. Descendants of Vietnamese refugees enjoy a place to build community in a new land.

Those are legacies of this year’s Northern Lights, 10 Minnesotans we lost in 2014, but whose imprints on the state are indelible. One was a powerful voice in Congress for the Iron Range; another, a groundbreaking lawmaker from Rochester. A potter’s arts advocacy gave her a national profile rivaling her vice president husband. Singing about peace, a Somali Minnesotan challenged her war-torn country. A civil rights leader never gave up the struggle. In the midst of her illness, a medical student taught about the dangers of skin cancer. For decades, one was the smiling face handing out blue ribbons to winners at the State Fair Horse Show.

They lived lives of passion, hope and service to others, and they leave Minnesota a better place.

Tell us about your Northern Lights

Did you lose someone this year who inspired your life? We’d love for you to share the story of your own “Northern Light.”

Video: Hear from the some of the people who knew this year's Northern Lights.

Video: Hear from the some of the people who knew this year's Northern Lights.

Photos courtesy of family members and Star Tribune staff.