Groundbreaking. Playful. Inspiring. This year’s “Northern Lights” — a dozen Minnesotans we lost in 2013 — left legacies that move, amuse and amaze. Some were firsts: the first woman to lead an Indian tribe here, the first Somali immigrant elected to public office. Another was the state’s last surviving Tuskegee Airman. One tangled us in a game called “Twister.” They were athletes, inventors and the face of kindness during disasters.

“It is amazing to me how one person’s admission can inspire someone, and you have inspired my son,” the mother of a dyslexic boy wrote on the website of Vince Flynn upon hearing that the bestselling author, who also grappled with dyslexia, had died. From suburban cross-country meets to Twin Cities rock music stages to State Fair mini-doughnut booths, their lives touched many, making and remaking Minnesota.

Tell us about your Northern Lights

Did you lose someone this year who inspired your life? We’d love for you to share the story of your own “Northern Light.”

Video: Hear from the some of the people who knew this year's Northern Lights.

Photos courtesy family members and Star Tribune staff.

  • share