Being the designated namesake of a two-acre stormwater retention pond might not seem like the most glamorous tribute.
But it’s a fitting tribute to former Minneapolis City Councilman S. Doré Mead, Sen. Scott Dibble said, a testament to Mead’s unwavering fight to help people in his community.
The pond was Mead’s solution to saving residents whose basements continued to flood, sometimes filling to the ceilings with water and sewage. Mead persuaded government officials to buy out residents’ homes and replace them with a stormwater management system that cleans up runoff before it reaches the lakes and the Mississippi River.
“She led the charge,” Dibble said.
Mead died Jan. 18 of lung cancer at her home in Minneapolis. She was 73 years old.
Lakes cannot be named after living people. Dibble began the process to have the pond officially designated Lake Mead.
This project was classic Mead, one of many times she took a stand on behalf of others, finding a way to achieve a win-win, said Dibble, who worked as an assistant for Mead when she was on the board. . Similarly, Mead brokered peace when people who lived near Washburn High School were angry about parking and other issues.
“She was very brave,” Dibble said. “She would just sit there and take all the emotion and absorb it and try to seize the opportunity for creative engagement.”
Perhaps his most memorable achievement was organizing a coalition called the Neighborhood Transportation Network to get the Minnesota Department of Transportation to dramatically cut a billion-dollar plan to expand Interstate 35W, a plan that would have required the demolition of thousands of affordable housing units, Mead said. friend Peggy Jondahl from St. Louis Park.
His approach, Jondahl said, was “Don’t tell me no, tell me how!”
She was born Susan Doré in Melrose Park, Illinois, and raised in New Jersey. She moved back to Chicago after high school and got a job in promotions at a newspaper, but left when she discovered the newspaper was deliberately paying men more than women.
She met Ronald Mead and they married in 1972. After taking his last name, she began using Doré as her first, Jondahl said. She has worked as a paralegal, mortgage banker, entrepreneur and independent consultant specializing in affordable housing.
The couple moved to Minneapolis in 1978 and “she was known almost instantly as a person who is up and moving,” Jondahl said, adding that she had heard many stories “of Doré taking on the establishment and creating change. , for the sake of Minneapolitans.”
Mead became the council member for the 11th Ward in 1994 and served two terms. She was the first woman to chair the Transportation and Public Works Committee.
“She was an original disrupter,” said Ward 7 council member Lisa Goodman. The two met on the council and became lifelong friends. “She was someone who didn’t accept the status quo as acceptable. And that was a very original thing in the time she was serving.”
After Mead left the board in 1992, she and Ron enjoyed riding tandem bikes and traveling the world. Her health began to decline, and she suffered two strokes, one of which left her aphasic, and two aneurysms. Just as she was beginning to regain her speech, she was diagnosed with cancer last fall.
“She never lost her vibrancy, her sparkle, her dignity, her beauty and her grace,” Jondahl said.
In addition to her husband, survivors include sisters Mary Strahl of Downers Grove, Illinois, and Eileen Schulze of Northfield, NH, and brothers Thomas Doré of Crystal Lake, Illinois, and James Doré of Naperville, Illinois. Services took place.