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Access Press - Minnesota's Disability Community Newspaper

In Memoriam – September 2018

by // September 8th, 2018

He founded hockey group

Luke F. Pederson’s lifelong love of sports led to his co-founding of the United States Electric Wheelchair Hockey Association. The 45-year-old Minneapolis resident died in August.

Pederson was born in North Dakota, part of a large family. At age five he was diagnosed with facial scapula humeral muscular dystrophy. He played piano and began playing and following sports. After seventh grade he began to use a wheelchair. He graduated from St. Peter High School and Concordia College in Moorhead, earning a degree in mass communications in 1995.

He developed a love for electric wheelchair hockey, so he and several friends founded the USEWHA – United
States Electric Wheelchair Hockey Association. He organized tournaments in the United States and was statistician for his team. He truly enjoyed playing floor hockey with the Minnesota Stars team and was able to travel and play throughout the United States as well as Germany, Toronto and Calgary, Canada.

He lived in Minneapolis where he could follow the professional sports team he loved. Family was important to him.
Pederson is survived by his mother, seven siblings and their families and many friends. Services have been held.

 

Adaptive sports pioneer dies

Marie Moilanen is remembered for starting the competitive adaptive sports program in the Edina Public Schools. She died this summer after an 18-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

She will be inducted into the Edina Athletic Booster Club Hall of Fame September 20.

“Marie was the teacher of your dreams if you had a special needs kid,” Mary Beth Cavert, a retired Edina teacher and friend and neighbor of Moilanen, told the Star Tribune. Moilanen graduated from Granite Falls High School in 1962, then earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Cloud State University and a master’s degree from Mankato State University. She spent summers at Camp Courage, where she worked with children and adults with physical disabilities.

It was at Camp Courage that she met her husband Mark. Their 1970 wedding reception was at the camp.

She spent most of her teaching career in Edina. She at one time was one of only two adaptive physical education teachers in the Edina school system.

“She was a real visionary in my mind, as well as a compassionate and caring person,” said Marcia Carthaus, director of special education in the Edina school system when the adaptive sports program began. “She got other districts going, too.”

Her retirement from Edina in 2005 lasted one week before she started a second career as a personal trainer at the Marsh, a health and wellness center in Minnetonka, and as an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas.

She is survived by her husband, two children, two grandchildren and other family members and friends. Services have been held.

 

He spent three decades in workforce

Scott Burpee enjoyed pranks as much as he loved his work, spending 33 years at J’s Restaurant in Burnsville. Burpee, who had Down’s syndrome, died this summer from pneumonia at age 57.

Raquel Sidie-Wagner, a manager at Lifeworks, said the nonprofit was about to surprise Burpee with a tour of the Vikings training center in Eagan at the time of his death. She recalled his love of pranks, especially sneaking off with other peoples’ pens, and his dislike of the “good for you” sandwiches and casseroles packed as his lunch.

Burpee was a fixture at J’s Restaurant, where customers and staff alike claimed him as family. Every April, everyone celebrated his birthday, with white cake with white or lemon icing, funny cards and Vikings gifts.

“Burpee was a big part of our life. He was family,” Lora Dilly, co-owner of J’s, said in an interview. Burpee walked the
two blocks to work each day from his group home to run the dish operation. Coworkers loved him and admired his work ethic and high standards. They also provided the structure he needed to do his job.

Burpee is survived by his mother, brother, stepmother, stepsiblings, coworkers and friends. Services have been held.

 

 

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