Rhonda Lundquist, 54, of Falcon Heights, died at home on Oct. 23 from ovarian cancer.
Rhonda and her partner of 16 years, Ann DeGroot, were the first same-sex couple to apply for a Ramsey County marriage license. On Aug. 1, the day hundreds of Minnesota gay couples celebrated their legal marriages, they received news that Rhonda’s cancer had spread to her brain.
On Aug. 4, Rhonda and Ann were married in a private ceremony, surrounded by family and friends.
Originally from St. Cloud, Rhonda took action to address social needs, from affordable housing to domestic violence. She worked at TASKS Unlimited, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, the Minnesota AIDS Project and as an independent grant writer.
She graduated from Hamline University and received a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute and a master of fine arts degree in poetry from Antioch University. Rhonda loved poetry, politics and a good conversation. Her life was full of people and good humor. She knew the value of a good story and, according to her friends, she was the funniest. Rhonda showed how to live a full life with cancer, living for eight years with a disease that was expected to end her life after 18 months. Rhonda is survived by her spouse, Ann, and son, Andy. She was preceded in death by her mother, Mabel Foss, who died Oct. 11; father, Raymond Foss, and brother, Roger. A celebration of Rhonda’s life was held Nov. 3 at Prospect Park United Methodist Church. Memorials preferred to Prospect Park United Methodist Church or the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance.