For Cherie Lovelace Price, helping people and the community was both a source of employment and a faith calling. Price, matriarch of an influential extended Twin Cities family, died May 14 in her sleep at home in Minneapolis. She was 83.

“She just went to sleep and didn’t wake up,” said her son, Shane. “No one wants to die, but if you have to go, that’s a beautiful way.”

For more than a decade, Cherie Price worked at the Minneapolis Society for the Blind, where she helped people with disabilities navigate new technologies as they sought to live independently.

She followed that stint with 18 years at the former Control Data, where her duties included aiding injured and disabled workers. Price retired from Control Data in the late 1980s and spent the rest of her life volunteering.

She mentored young men and women who needed help with school assignments or who faced personal or other crises. She was active in campaigns to register voters, especially new voters in historically disenfranchised groups. And she opened up her spacious home in south Minneapolis to meetings and events, often serving lavish meals that she would prepare. Her younger sister, Darrell Cox, said: “I credit my girth to her. She knew her way around a kitchen.”

In all of it, Cherie Price wanted “people to reach their full potential as citizens, as Minnesotans, as human beings,” said cousin Jan Price, a librarian.

“She had distinctive class and style but she was a realist with a compassionate heart,” she continued. “People relied on her and trusted her because she was a compassionate listener. And because she listened without judgment, she became a solid rock for our family and community.”

A welcoming home

Cherie Lovelace Price was born Nov. 2, 1931, in Minneapolis. She graduated from South High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in human services in 1979 at Metro State University. Both of her parents, building engineer Orrin Price and nursing assistant Marguerite Darrell Price, were involved in efforts to make Minnesota more of a welcoming home for African-Americans.

Their eldest daughter followed suit, becoming involved with Sabathani Community Center and St. James AME Church, her home congregation.

Cherie Price, who had a Bible in her home opened to Psalm 23, often pointed to the church as the source of her sense of mission, said Shane Price. And she moved with a willingness, in the spirit of service, to fill needs as she saw them.

About a decade ago, a funeral was held at her home church for a brother who had a disability. Many of the friends of the deceased came to the funeral, but were unable to enter the church because it was not wheelchair accessible. Price decided to change that, contributing funds to make the change.

“She had a big heart for human service that she got from her family and that was passed on to her children,” said Shane Price, whose work involves helping ex-cons transition back into society. “She was a pretty special lady.”

Besides Shane Price, of Robbinsdale and sister, Darrell Cox, of Minneapolis, survivors include a brother, Orrin Price Jr., and Twin Cities-based children Floyd E. Price and Carmelle B. Abrams, and several grandchildren.

A service for Cherie Lovelace Price will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. James AME Church, 3600 Snelling Av., in Minneapolis.

 

Rohan Preston 612-673-4390