HCO Board Member Lynn Theurer has watched Home and Community Options grow from its beginnings in 1975. During those early years, legislation passed which transferred the care of disabled people from institutions to community-based care. Lynn remembers seeing community-based services for the disabled begin to grow in Winona, replacing institutional care that had been the norm up until then.

At the time, Lynn was graduating from Winona State University in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. “My nursing education included having clinicals in these same institutions,” she shared. She went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Nursing at the University of Minnesota before she returned to WSU, where she taught in the nursing department for four years. She then began a career change and was the Winona County Community Health Services Administrator. “During my time at Winona County, this community began its transition to community-based care.”

Lynn’s acquaintance with the advent of community-based care isn’t just professional – it’s also personal. Lynn remembers visiting family members who were living in institutions, and she also has family members who have been served by HCO. “I am pleased that many of these institutions no longer exist,” she shared.

She grew up on a farm in Eyota, Minnesota, that her parents bought from her mother’s uncle after World War II. Her great-great-grandparents on both sides of her family came from Germany in the 1860s and homesteaded in Stewartville and Eyota. Her father’s family spoke German all their lives and even started school speaking German. On her mother’s side, her family founded the church that she attended, which was also a German School at one time. She says, “With this heritage, the family values revolve around faith, service to the community, and education.  Heritage, culture, and the integration of all who live in the USA make our nation rich and vibrant as we live our daily lives.”

Lynn’s husband of 52 years, David, was born and raised in Winona. Theurer Boulevard is named for his late father, William, who served on the Winona City Council for decades. David and Lynn have one daughter, Sarah, who is married and has three teenaged children: Will, Lucy, and Tate. Sarah is a Special Education teacher for children, ages birth to 5 years old. Her husband, Brad, is a financial executive in the Twin Cities.

Since she retired in 2010, Lynn has had a busy schedule volunteering for Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center, Winona Health Volunteers, Winona League of Women Voters, AAUW Winona Branch, Winona County Criminal Justice Outreach and Diversity Committee, Winona County Fair, and Faith Lutheran Church. She also likes reading, gardening, and traveling.

When approached about joining the Board of Directors of HCO, Lynn shared that it was a privilege to be asked. “In my position at Winona County, I was very familiar with the agency, and I remember why it was created. It’s an important role in our community to serve families with individuals who are living with disabilities to maintain their lifestyle to the fullest extent possible.  My personal belief is that each of us can benefit from help from our community in many ways.”

Lynn’s passion is to see all members of our community be active participants and enjoy their daily lives.  “I was raised by parents who faithfully visited family members in institutions that cared for them. Having supported this concept to becoming a reality, it is my privilege to serve on the HCO Board,” she says.