Stephanie Marie Zeitz
Age 46, passed away unexpectedly January 28th, 2021.
Stephaine was born in Edina, MN and grew up in Eagan attending Rahn Elementary until her family moved in 9th grade when she started attending Rosemount middle/ high school. Stephanie excelled in high school as she defined herself through her art, strong academic insight, and physical ability in both basketball and softball.
Stephanie shined in high school with local papers noting her strong ability to score and “crash the boards” earning her high distinction at Eagan high school and an opportunity to play multiple collegiate sports at Moorhead State University. What many did not know was how she earned a 33 on her ACT and taught with the D.A.R.E. education program.
Although Stephanie started in the pre-med track while attending Moorhead State, she found a passion in working with young people and education. Through her coursework and experience, Stephanie taught at Loring Nicollet Alternative Learning Center, arguably the place where she felt most at home. There Stephanie blossomed into an adamant social activist, fighting for environmental, homeless, feminist, and Black rights with a fervor that led her to make connections that would serve her throughout her life.
While she taught at many institutions, including Loring Nicollet, Twin Cities Academy, and Upper Mississippi Academy, Stephanie’s need to educate was never fully quenched. She always talked of opening a Charter school like Loring Nicollet where students could balance revolution knowledge development with practical social activism. “Ms. Z” inspired many students to follow their passions and dreams to do good in this world.
In the most recent pandemic she made thousands of masks in her “extra” time, while parenting two children through distance learning, and teaching, and running a successful t-shirt design business ensuring she maintained a strong presence in her children’s school and in other community organizations.
Stephanie’s work influenced many, although her career was not what defined her. Stephanie loved her family. Her best days were when Sky and Jermaine came into her life. She was so proud of them, and proud of her nieces and nephews because they are not afraid to be themselves.. She listened to them, she played with them, she allowed them to be their whole selves. Her ability to be present with people resulted in a feeling of value for all. She loved community as she loved her family, and wanted to fight with and for the vulnerable among us
Stephanie fought for the homeless in Philadelphia and with the People’s Army in Minneapolis. Stephanie fought for her children and siblings when they needed her. And always fought to retain her self-worth.
Stephanie was a person who saw a problem and became a solution.
She is survived in death by her children, Jordyn, Sky, Jermaine; and their dog, Halo; her brother, Mark Zeitz; and brother-in-law, Matthew Anderson; her sister, Wendy Anderson; and sister-in-law, Natalie Zeitz; her parents, Virginia Zeitz and Al Zeitz; along with many family, friends, students, social activists, and community members.
A private memorial service will be held Saturday, February 6th at 10am, with live streaming provided by Simple Traditions by Bradshaw.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, donations can be made to Sky (11) and Jermaine’s (8) childcare and education fund https://gofund.me/fa1fc2e8 and the Stephanie Zeitz-Crushshon Memorial Fund gf.me/u/zhnk9z, which will be used toward supporting various education and social change organizations.
Below, a poem posted by a close friend, Sandy A. Lafleur, in the ‘Honoring Z Legend: Memorial Space for Stephanie’ facebook group:
I cried when you passed away,
I still cry today.
Although I loved you dearly,
I couldn't make you stay.
A golden heart stopped beating,
Hard working hands at rest.
God broke my heart to prove to me
He only takes the best.