Ann Kulenkamp
Ann Kulenkamp
Ann Kulenkamp
Ann Kulenkamp
Ann Kulenkamp

Obituary of Ann Kulenkamp

Ann Kulenkamp passed away at home in St. Paul, MN, on April 29, 2024. Ann’s last days were filled with love and friendship, with her husband, family and friends at her side as her final hours drew near. She was 72.

Born in St. Paul, MN, on April 14, 1952, to Dean and Emily Kulenkamp, Ann grew up in Aberdeen, SD, and Fargo, ND, where she graduated from Shanley High School in 1970. She returned to St. Paul to attend college at Macalester.

She grew close to another Shanley grad, John Wilson, who was a guest lecturer there when Ann was a senior. Their friendship grew into love, and they married in 1973, sharing 51 years of love, laughter, music, travel, good food and good friends. Ann and John’s adventures took them to Hawaii, Paris, New Orleans and other locales across the country, but the place that drew them again and again was the North Shore of Lake Superior.

Ann’s passion for music began in childhood and lasted throughout her life. She began playing piano at age 10, and regularly played accompaniment for school musicals and choral performances, as well as playing church organ for weddings and Sunday services.

Ann left Macalester after her junior year because she wanted to explore the possibility of Music Therapy, a relatively new field at that time, as a career direction. For experiential research, she volunteered at a day program for developmentally delayed adults. She was soon hired for a full-time position and taught music and was head teacher for 10 years.

Returning on a plane from a national conference, Ann had a chance encounter with Dale Warland, one of her Macalester professors. He encouraged her to return to finish her music degree. She decided to do this and studied piano with Don Betts. She completed her piano performance degree in 1983.

After graduation she began the second phase of her music career. She taught piano at and ran Project Cheer, a music program sponsored by the Schubert Club, designed to give lessons to children who might otherwise not have access to them. She also taught private lessons and retained many of her students from this time as lifelong friends.

In 1994, Ann decided to transition to writing, another of her creative passions. She worked as a freelance writer for several months, gravitating to the public health field. She was soon hired as the Communications Director for the Minnesota Safety Council and remained in that position for more than 20 years. While working there she completed a Master’s Degree in Technical Communications.

After retirement, Ann became a Master Gardener. She spent happy hours in her own garden and in volunteering for projects that included caring for a plot in Como Park, planting gardens for new Habitat for Humanity homes, helping distribute extra food from community gardens and working to prepare some of the State Fair Grounds for the Great Minnesota Get Together.

Ann loved reading and became a charter member of the Women Who Book club, where she made lifelong friends and enjoyed spirited discussions of classic and contemporary literature for more than 35 years.

Como Park held a special place in Ann’s heart. Both of Ann’s parents grew up close to the park and Ann helped organize many family reunions there. Ann and John have commemorated their love for the park by sponsoring a bench near the entrance fountain at the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, and we invite you to visit this special place.

Ann is survived by her beloved husband John Wilson, sister Amy (Jay) Richardson, brother Larry (Maryann) Kulenkamp, aunts Vonny Swanson and Karen Earle, and numerous in-laws, cousins, nieces, nephews, and grands. Ann is preceded in death by her parents.

A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, May 11 at 2 p.m. at Macalester Plymouth United Church, 1658 Lincoln Ave, St Paul, MN 55105. The service will be live streamed and also archived at:

Memorials can be made to the American Cancer Society at or to Como Friends, benefitting Como Park Zoo & Conservatory at

Arrangements by Cremation Society of Minnesota.

A Memorial Tree was planted for Ann
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Cremation Society of Minnesota
Share Your Memory of