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December 28, 2006

In Memory of My Friend Sally


My friend Sally Criticos died on December 21; her funeral was yesterday. The world is poorer for her passing but richer for the many gifts she gave to those who knew her. Sally was one of the most courageous and life-affirming people I have ever met. She battled multiple myeloma for a number of years and did it with determination and conviction. She had a lot to do before she died, especially sharing her life with her grandchildren.

I first met Sally when I joined the St. Marks Cathedral Choir -- it must have been almost 10 years ago. I joined at a time of great ambiguity in the group. The choirmaster, Don Small, had just become seriously ill and it was not clear when he would be returning. Sally was the most welcoming member of the group. She helped me learn the ropes and encouraged me to take my place. I looked forward to talking with her every week. She genuinely cared about her friends -- she remembered everyone's life challenges and served as a one-woman referral board for everything from housing needs to educational or family crises. But most of all, I remember Sally for her warm smile and her laugh. A part of her will always be with me and her many friends. I regret that I was not able to participate in her funeral yesterday, but I am currently out of town spending time with my grandkids. I think ... I know ... Sally would want me to be right here! Sally - thanks and godspeed.

Here is her obituary from the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Criticos, Sally Eve Born October 15, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York. Member of the St. Mark's Cathedral choir in Minneapolis, perpetual artist, and beloved friend of many, died on December 21, 2006. Sally grew up in Brooklyn, New York with summers in Vermont. Graduate of Elmira College, she taught art to elementary school children, was community school coordinator at Kenwood Elementary School, worked at Judy Instructo, National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC), and the Wedge Coop. Sally is survived by her sister, Barbara Troxell of Claremont, CA; daughters, Amy Criticos of Spain and Sarah Dahl (Jon Dahl) of Rosemount; and grandchildren, Galo, Olivia, Luke, and Megan. A service of worship in celebration of her life will be held at St. Mark's Cathedral, 519 Oak Grove Street, Minneapolis, on Wednesday, December 27th at 4:00 PM."

Posted by hgroteva at December 28, 2006 8:37 AM | In Memory / In Honor


I think you're right; Sally would have wanted you with your grandchildren. The service was like a choir reunion of sorts, which was also very fitting. I'm sorry you couldn't be there; her daughters were, I'm sure you're not surprised, amazing, and the music (which Sally picked out personally) was healing to sing.

Found your blog by googling Sally's name.

Posted by: Haddayr at January 2, 2007 10:09 AM

Good to hear from you, Haddayr. I saw your comments in the StarTribune obit guestbook and agree completely with your reflections. We lost a shining star. If you remember the music she chose, I'd love to know what the pieces were. I'm sure they were wonderful.

Posted by: Hal at January 2, 2007 10:53 AM

I met Sally in 1990 at the NSTA Conference in Atlanta. My daughter and I were there to "shop" a
product I had invented, but not yet produced. Sally
gave my then 9 year old a stack of flyers and put her to work while she gave me her undivided attention to hear about my product concept. Today
I was going through old papers in my office and came
across her business card and letter I had written to
her subsequent to our meeting. I decided to "google" her name to see if she had risen to the status of CEO of Judy/Instructo or her own company or just education guru. How strange the timing to
find that just at the moment I was prepared to reconnect, she is gone. I will never forget the
kindness and encouragement she gave me as a naive
inventor and how wonderful she was to my daughter.
For those of you fortunate enough to have had her in your lives on a regular basis, I am sure the loss is huge. For me it is a sad end to a wonderful memory - she was very special that was
obvious even in the hour or so I spent with her.
Jan Rogers
Time Timer LLC

Posted by: Jan Rogers at January 16, 2007 2:44 PM

This is amazing! I heard about this blog today at an open house I had at my mother's home today. Her close friends were amazing! Many folks have her water color paintings and therefore she lives on in memory by sharing her art with others. Thank you for the nice rememberance! I am excited to tell my sister and aunt about this blog! I tried to identify who initiated it but was unable to figure that out! Cheers!

Posted by: sarah at February 10, 2007 9:50 PM

Sorry I didn't respond sooner!

We sang "Eidelweiss," which was very sweet, and "Come Thou Font of Every Blessing," and "Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful." Also, Sue Druck performed "Pie Jesu." There was another hymn, and now I'm forgetting it. Sorry!

Posted by: Haddayr at February 13, 2007 2:46 PM