News

Chaska loses a Champion

LaVonne Barac long-time resident of Chaska passed away suddenly on August 14, 2003 at age 66. Lavonne was Chairwomen of the Chaska Human Rights Commission. Barac was very involved in improving the lives… LaVonne Barac long-time resident of Chaska passed away suddenly on August 14, 2003 at age 66. Lavonne was Chairwomen of the Chaska Human Rights Commission. Barac was very involved in improving the lives of Chaska’s minority residents. Some of the projects she initiated or held leadership roles just this past year alone, included: the Chaska Bilingual Children’s Story Hour, Chaska Multicultural Mural Project, City of Chaska Diversity Celebration, Ridgeview Medical Foundation board member and the Chaska Community Land Trust.

Barac really made a difference in the lives of people helping us all to be thoughtful and understanding of people from diverse communities. LaVonne received an award in April at the annual Twin Cities Diversity Round Table Breakfast of Champions for her commitment to diversity. She was always there to help articulate a point of view or advocate on behalf of the needs minority residents. She reminded me that when writing or relaying a message the importance of keeping things simple. Her compassion, integrity and commitment to others have had a significant influence on my work and life here in Carver County.

She was one of the first female community leaders here in Chaska and served as the Editor of the Chaska Herald earlier in her career. She also held leadership roles at the Chaska Rotary Club. Tracy Swanson, former Carver County Commissioner and Chaska Mayor, stated that Lavonne had the courage of her convictions but she was very fair. She was very compassionate.

Mark Olson, Chaska Herald writer and fellow historian mentioned that she understood how the past impacts the future and her connectedness to the past gave her a perspective that made her very valuable locally. Mark mentioned that people in suburban communities often times are not in touch with the importance of history and can have the tendency to be short sighted. LaVonne helped to remind people of importance of local history.

Matt Podheradsky, Assistant Chaska City Administrator and staff person for the Chaska Human Rights Commission noted that she had the unique ability for keeping a level head and realizes the budget other challenges existed in the community. She had the ability to use a strategic planning process and was able to identify what the targets and priorities should be. Barac was also involved in the Christmas in May Program. This is a program that enables low-income residents to have repairs on their homes done at no cost.

LaVonne is survived by her mother Eleanore Jennie and her son Theodore and his fiancée Jari Howlett and step sister, Lucille Lien.

August 14, 2003
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