Diane Harr and her daughter Kelsey, 29, and son Ricky, 26, are lifelong residents of Edina. As the close-knit family gathers in Diane’s sitting room, taking turns petting Bella, a Shih Tzu/bichon frisé mix, one thing is clear: This family loves this town. From the schools to the community, they adore everything about where they’re from.
And each has given back to the city in his or her own way.
Diane, a lifelong Edina resident, spent 37 years teaching K-12 special education before she retired in 2012. Tried to retire, that is. Retirement would last only two weeks before she was approached by Concordia University in St. Paul to teach online classes in a criminal justice program started by her late husband, J. Scott Harr.
Diane now works full time at CSP as the coordinator for the graduate program for special education teachers. “I don’t know when I’ll retire again,” she says.
Reflecting on the unique character of Edina, Diane says it’s a small enough community that it’s easy to build relationships. Ricky knows this to be true. Ricky’s career began in the local Police Explorers of a local memory care facility. He remembers getting recognized by a family friend during training to become an Edina police officer.
Ricky was inspired to follow in the footsteps of his father, who was an Edina police officer and then director of public safety for Carver County. Ricky was sworn in three years ago. “Every kid wants to be a police officer, astronaut or firefighter,” Ricky says. “I guess I never grew up.”
The Harrs aren’t planning to leave Edina anytime soon. Kelsey and her fiancé Charlie plan to settle here. “There’s a pull here to all the amazing things that exist in this community,” she says.
Ricky agrees. “I plan to stay here and live here ... oh, forever!” he says.
Although Diane remembers a time when only a dog guarded the Southdale Medical Building, she says not much else has dramatically changed. “Edina has always had a community feel. It’s the connection between people that creates community.”