Loring Park activist, Lyon House savior, dies

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October 27, 2003 // UPDATED 11:06 am - April 30, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

When thieves swiped an antique urn from Jacquelyn Hanson-Reid's front porch, she left them a note, kindly offering the swindlers an urn that she didn't much care for, if they agreed to return her other one.

She also left them a plate of Christmas cookies.

The gesture was consistent with what friends and family describe as a generous and loving demeanor.

Hanson-Reid lived in Loring Park's Lyon House -- a formerly run-down property at 419 Oak Grove St. she helped save from demolition 10 years ago. She died of cancer Oct. 12 at the age of 67.

She served on the board of the neighborhood group Citizens for a Loring Park Community (CLPC) and was active in many other community groups, including the Animal Humane Society and the Woman's Club of Minneapolis.

CLPC Board members mourned her loss at a recent meeting, observing a moment of silence in her honor.

Kim Havey, director of the Minneapolis Empowerment Zone, worked on saving the Lyon House with Hanson-Reid.

"I'll miss her eclectic personality. She was so proud of the Lyon House, too. That made me happy that she really appreciated living there," Havey said. "We all have to live life every day the way she did."

In 1993, representatives of the Cathedral Church of St. Mark, 519 Oak Grove St., sought approval from CLPC to tear down the house to make way for a parking lot.

The neighborhood association turned down the request. Real estate developer Glenn Thorpe purchased the property with the aid of $130,000 in Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) money.

Hanson-Reid, an interior designer, lived in the mansion. She filled it with a mix of eclectic antiques and ornate furniture.

She had an eye for beauty, friends say.

City Councilmember Lisa Goodman (7th Ward) called Hanson-Reid a "great neighbor."

"I simply had great respect for her unbelievable passion for historic preservation. She walked the talk -- she bought half of the Lyon House and lived in it and moved from Lake of the Isles to the Loring neighborhood in order to be part of the preservation of the building," she said. "It's a real loss for the community."