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In Memory of Joan Drury

JOAN DRURY | Founder, Drury Lane Books

Joan Marie Drury (Joanie) was born on February 2, 1945 and died on November 9, 2020. She was preceded in death by her son Scooter (Todd) Kager in 2017, her parents Edward and Barbara Drury, her sister Gail Fuad, her brother John, and her beloved cat Gertie who died on Thursday November 5, 2020. She is survived by her children Kelly and Kevin Kager, granddaughters Mirranda and Allie Kager, great grand-daughter Brooklynn Erickson, her sister Marta Drury and many other nieces and nephews.

Joan grew up in Richfield, Minnesota and worked in the family business for thirteen years after her high school graduation both for the garbage company All-State Disposal founded by her and her ex-husband, Bud Kager and for the company founded by her father, Woodlake Sanitary Service (later Browning Ferris Industries). She had three children: Kelly, Scooter (Todd), and Kevin. In her thirties, Drury went back to the University of Minnesota and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a major in Women’s Studies and a minor in Minority Studies.

(Left to right: Kelly Kager, Kevin Kager and John Drury.)

Joan worked for the Loft in Minneapolis for many years. Her religion, if any, was feminism and she was an activist for most of her adult life. She owned, was the publisher and chief editor of a feminist publishing company, Spinsters Ink, in Minnesota for eight years. During the period, the company published about 40 books, 26 of which earned awards. She created and ran, with her friend Marilyn Crawford, a women’s foundation, Harmony Women’s Fund, which funded over 100 women’s non-profit organizations in the state of Minnesota and created the National Lesbian Writers Awards which aided lesbian writers financially to focus on their writing. Harmony also created Norcroft: A Writing Retreat for Women; which, over the course of fourteen years, supported over 600 women in residencies to focus, with no interruptions or demands on their time or pocketbooks, on their own writing. Joan had a small library with many, many books written at least in part by Norcroft attendees that were sent to her by their authors.

In 2002, she bought a small building on the shoreline of Lake Superior in Grand Marais and created and developed Drury Lane Books which has thrived into the present day with a devoted and loyal following of customers.

Over the course of her life, Joan also wrote six books of her own, four of which were published and earned a total of 11 awards. She loved books and spent much of her time with words—talking, reading, writing, reading to older folks at the local Care Center in Grand Marais, playing Scrabble, attending book groups. She also loved gardens and had a glorious garden she helped design at her former home in Lutsen where she lived for many years. In addition to Lutsen, Joan resided in Richfield, MN; Fridley, MN; Dalbo, MN; Loretto, MN; Bloomington, MN, Minneapolis, MN, Olathe, KS, San Francisco, CA; and Duluth, MN. She loved everywhere she lived, but always came back to the North Shore of Lake Superior where she spent many summers as a child with her mother, and finally moved there full-time when she was 59.

In her final years in Cook County, she worked at many organizations as a volunteer—the Violence Prevention Center, the Grand Marais Care Center, the grand Marais Playhouse (she had a passion for the theater and was very proud of her youngest son’s work as an actor with this fine community theater). At the Playhouse, she was instrumental in creating the Grand Marais Shakespeare Theatre and Black Iris productions which produced The Vagina Monologues twice as well as other political productions. She also participated in many fundraising efforts for various non-profit organizations in the area, and established Woodland Foothills, an affordable housing project, and contributed funding to many non-profit and for-profit companies/organizations over the years.

She loved her community and thought it was the BEST place to live.

Joan considered her most valuable talent to be that of friendship, the relationship she considered to be the most important. She felt she was rewarded with many loving and supportive friends over the years and attempted to be the same. She was also extraordinarily proud of and devoted to her children, and she felt she was blessed in being able to call them friends.

Many customers have asked how to honor Joan's legacy and the store. If you'd like to make a donation in her name donate to:

Violence Prevention Center in Grand Marais, Minnesota or The Arrowhead Animal Rescue:

Arrowhead Animal Rescue

PO Box 1274

Grand Marais MN


*Written by Joan Drury / Edited by Kelly Kager