Milla Rasmussen

(1892 - 1980)

Milla Rasmussen was a pioneer and trailblazer in getting the mentally handicapped to remain in the community rather than being institutionalized as was the practice of the day. She was born in Minnesota and trained to be a teacher. Upon graduation, Rasmussen taught school in North Dakota and Minnesota. In 1929, she married Rudolph Rasmussen and moved to Dacotah, Manitoba. She and Rudolf had three children, one of whom was severely mentally handicapped. Upon diagnosis, they considered placing him in the home in Portage la Prairie but decided there had to be a better way so Mel remained at home. In 1944 the family moved to Winnipeg to enhance the opportunities for all of the children including Mel’s education.

Rasmussen was very active in all aspects of improving the lives of the mentally handicapped including recreational, educational, group home living and support right up until her death in 1980 and received dozens of awards for her service. She was one of the founding directors of several organizations including “The Association for Retarded Children in Manitoba”, “The Association for Community Living” and “The Maitland B Steinkopf Residency Incorporation Act”.

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