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Tuesday memorial set for beloved Somali-born school board director

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A public memorial service is set for Tuesday afternoon to "celebrate the life and work" of Hussein Samatar, the first Somali-American elected to public office in Minnesota.

Samatar, 45, died last week after a fight with leukemia.

He was elected to the Minneapolis school board in 2010, and eventually became the Board of Education Director.

MPR reports Samatar was educated in Somalia but left that country in 1991 amid the war that killed friends and family members.

Once settled in Minneapolis he found success in the business world, eventually founding a non-profit group called the African Development Center to help fellow immigrants start businesses.

In a letter from Minneapolis Superintendent of Schools Bernadeia H. Johnson, the memorial will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Assembly Room in the Davis Center, which located at 1250 W. Broadway Ave. in Minneapolis.

Those wishing to attend are encouraged to RSVP by 10 a.m. Tuesday morning with Cheryl Johnston at or 612.668.0197.

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