A letter from Erica Idso-Weisz on the impact of Lisa Coons

Family and friends will get together in tonight to celebrate the life of Lisa Coons (pictured above with her wife Patti Ruskey and daughter Eleanor).

Coons passed away on May 16th from health issues partly stemming from radiation treatment she received for cancer in the 1990s. Today would have been her 51st birthday.

Coons and Ruskey were the original founders of the Coffee Hag in Mankato and Coons later went on to lead the Center for Earth Spirituality and Rural Ministry at the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

Among the family’s close friends is Erica Idso-Weisz, who says Coons had an effervescent presence about her and left a lasting impact on all those she encountered.

Tonight’s “Gratitude Gathering” will be held at 6pm at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Mankato at 937 Charles Avenue, followed by a 7:30pm outdoor drum circle with stories and revelry.


A letter from Erica Idso-Weisz on the impact of Lisa Coons:

Lisa has been so very dear to me for a number of years.  I met her while attending one of the Earth Conferences put on by the Center for Earth Spirituality and Rural Ministry at the School Sisters of Notre Dame.  She had an effervescent presence about her, the kind where you just had to know her.  She had an absolutely contagious smile and laugh.  She inspired my involvement with earth stewardship, and deepened my love for the planet, and working with others in this amazing community.

Her wife, Patti and daughter, Eleanor, are the dearest of friends, that we count as family.  I know that many in the community feel this way.  Patti and Lisa established a locally-loved, community-centered business in the Coffee Hag.  So many people that I have encountered put down roots there and remember fondly the inspiration, guidance, mentoring and love they received there.  Jenn Melby-Kelley, who began her days at the Coffee Hag working side by side Lisa and Patti, carries this on to this day as now owner.

Lisa left a lasting impact on all those she encountered.  I have been so honored to watch the litany of beautiful words come through as people leave notes and donations on the family’s Go Fund Me page.  Lisa would call this her “Go Love Me” page.  I loved everything about her.

Many had the opportunity to learn their canning skills in the beauty of the red barn that stands atop the Good Counsel hill, Lisa was a patient, fun and wonderful teacher.  Many experienced her energy and charisma in the classroom at MSU.  Many experienced her deep listening and desire to understand.  Many had the joy of sharing the garden bounty that she offered up to those around her as the sweetest gifts from the earth, in the form of her famous pickles or dilly beans.

Many appreciated her love for a good Bloody Mary and mischief.  Many knew her wise reflections on being and that she met each and every person she encountered exactly where they were at in that moment.  Many loved her deeply, many will miss her beyond measure.

She and I shared a deep love for the work of poet, Mary Oliver.  One of my favorite in honor of Lisa.

And, I say to my heart: rave on.



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