After a 40-year run with multiple sclerosis, cancer invited itself to life’s journey. You sure had a few lousy travel companions Polly. Pauline Zwinger, age 61, passed away May 3, 2023, at Legacy of Brownsdale Assisted Living of sarcomatoid carcinoma of the kidney, an uncommon and particularly aggressive form of cancer.
Pauline was born in St Paul, MN, attended St Joseph’s Catholic School in West St Paul, and graduated from Humboldt High School. Her education at business school was cut short by the sequelae of Multiple Sclerosis which hit her young and hard.
Following high school, Polly lived several years in Minneapolis. Her apartment on West Lake Street showcased her many thrift store “finds” as well as a jungle of plants. After the birth of her daughter, Polly returned to St Paul. How she managed to navigate the stairs at that Ohio Street apartment dumbfounds us still. In 2001, Polly moved to Hayward, MN to be near her daughter. She enjoyed the companionship of her many small pets: a cockatiel, guinea pig, and a series of cats. Feeding the wild birds was a must.
Despite the challenges of MS, Polly continued to experience her love of the outdoors: island parties, the annual pilgrimage to Kilworry with the gang, forestry conferences with Mike. Music was a constant respite for Polly as evidenced by her substantial CD collection. She proved to us that 40-year-old cassette tapes still sound just fine. Ever wonder who was singing a certain song on the radio? Polly always knew.
Throughout life, Polly remained FIERCELY independent. She politely declined many of the services she qualified for. Phone calls had a way of cutting off when people offered suggestions on how to make her life easier. After 21 years in Hayward, Polly moved to Legacy of Brownsdale which proved to be her best move ever. In Polly’s own words, “I finally found my niche.”
Polly is survived by her mother, Judy Zwinger; siblings, Patricia (Abbas Tabatabai), Jim, Jean (Rodney) Buchite, Tom, and Tracy (Richard Gardner); Auntie Annie who is like a sister; longtime friend, Michael Smith; and 5 grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her father, Gregory Zwinger and daughter, Elizabeth.
Polly’s family would like to thank Freeborn County Public Health, Crest services, and the many supportive members of Mayo Hospice. We especially thank the fun, kind, compassionate staff at Legacy of Brownsdale. You are heaven sent, a gem on the prairie.
Family and friends are invited to attend services Wednesday, May 10, 2023 at 11:00 AM at Bonnerup Funeral and Cremation Services in Albert Lea, MN; Father Kurt will officiate. Polly’s family will greet guests at a visitation one hour prior to the service. Interment will be at Graceland Cemetery in Albert Lea, MN with a luncheon to follow at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the MS Achievement Center of St Paul, Mayo Hospice, or an animal shelter of the donor's choice.