City of Duluth Proclaims ‘Ann Redelfs Day’ to Honor Late Community Advocate

Redelfs served as an educator at UMD, worked with neighborhoods and police, and more before she died suddenly in April. 

DULUTH, Minn.- A longtime member of the Duluth community, the late Ann Redelfs was honored at Glensheen Sunday for her contributions to the environmental, social, and political landscape of the city.

Throughout her life Redelfs lived Oklahoma, Houston, Ithaca, New York, and San Diego before moving to Duluth in 2004.

She served as an educator at UMD, organized regular meetings between her neighborhood and police to discuss important issues, and made other strides, before she died suddenly in April.

“Therefore I, Emily Larson, Mayor of the City of Duluth, do officially proclaim the 13th of September, 2020 as Ann Redelfs Day in the City of Duluth,” the proclamation read.

The City of Duluth declared September 13th in honor of Redelfs, on what would have been her 63rd birthday.

The proclamation was read by 2nd District City Councilor Joel Sipress on behalf of Mayor Emily Larson. “Having known Ann personally and it’s especially meaningful that we’ve dedicated a tree in Ann’s memory,” he said.

It would seem dedicating a tree is fitting, as Ann was a strong and active force in the 2nd District since Sipress began serving as Councilor.

“I first got to know Ann, it was actually my first year on city council when she was advocating for the Silver Maple on Fourth Street, a street that we both share,” Councilor Sipress.

“And really appreciated the chance to get to know her and everything she did for the neighborhood and for the city,” he said. “We all will miss Ann very much.”

Fighting to save the Silver Maple trees on 4th Street from removal in 2015 during the 4th Street Improvement Project was perhaps what Ann Redelfs is best known for in Duluth.

So honoring her with a maple tree, her friends said, just seemed right.

“It will last longer, it’s not as disruptive, it’s very attractive to wildlife,” one of Ann’s friends, Jocelyn Heid, said.

Redelfs passed away suddenly from a non-coronavirus related illness in April, taking all of her friends completely off-guard.

“One of the big sorrows I think for all of her friends was her death was so sudden,” said Heid. “None of us knew she was that ill. So having something tangible like this here, at least give you a place to be and a place to remember her.”

The new maple at Glensheen will withstand climate change and could last as long as 100 years.

“I know no one is remembered forever. But for us it will last long enough,” said her friend Heid.

Its impact serving Northland nature for decades, just as Ann Redelfs fought to do herself.

“And for the people that don’t know her, the tree will still be there to give them joy,” Heid said.

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