Christmas Tradition Continues After Co-Founder’s Passing

Nearly 20 years ago, Noreen Luck and her neighbor, Sue Davis, began hosting a holiday party for people Bethesda supports in Coon Rapids and Blaine, Minn. 

After Noreen’s death five years ago, her husband, Larry, and two of their daughters joined with Davis to continue the holiday event. 

“She was a gracious, outgoing person who took a personal interest in the people who attended the party,” Larry says. “All my daughters and I are doing is trying to help keep it going.” 

As a testament to Noreen’s impact on their lives, people we support who had been regulars at the party went to her memorial service, Larry says. 

This year’s party took place Dec. 2 at the Spring Lake Park City Hall. Guests enjoyed food, crafts, singing, dancing and a visit and photograph with Santa – always a favorite activity, Larry says. 

“They can’t wait to get their turn to see him,” he says. 

The organizers put together goody bags for each person that included snacks, non-food items and a special gift. This year’s gift was a coffee mug designed by one of Larry’s daughters. As they do every year, they also plan to send each person who attended the party a card and a packet of individual Santa photos. 

The volunteers who put together the party keep coming back because of the happiness they witness on the faces of their guests, Larry says. 

“It’s a very rewarding thing for us,” he says. “But it’s not about us.” 

Pamela Lee, a Bethesda direct support professional who has attended the party since 2001, describes the reaction of people we support at the event: “total delight.” 

She pointed to the family nature of the party, with younger and older Luck family members and others all contributing to its success. 

“It’s phenomenal,” Pamela says. 

Like Larry and his family, you can help make a huge difference this holiday season in the lives of the people we support by donating or volunteering. 


Above: Party co-founders Noreen Luck (left) and Sue Davis.

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