Weiming Lu was born in 1930 in Shanghai, China. It was a tumultuous period throughout China then, full of political turmoil and civil wars, with the Japanese Invasion and Occupation in between and more civil war afterwards. For part of his childhood, Weiming, his sister and their mother were separated from their father, a prominent architect planner and a high-ranking government official who was frequently away on government business for long stretches of time. Communication was difficult, and Weiming saw firsthand how his mother struggled, in silence and alone, to keep him and his sister fed. He knew what hunger was and never forgot the lessons he learned from his mother, of perserverance, persistence, and quiet resolve.

Weiming’s father had high hopes for his son. Expecting and therefore naming him to be great  among his people , his father exerted a profound influence on him. Trained in France, his father passed on to his son his love of the European Modernists, Le Corbusier among them. Weiming absorbed from his father the Modernists’ perspectives on architecture, art, philosophy, and urban planning, all of course, with an eye on Chinese esthetics. Weiming also pursued all the traditional Chinese accomplishments expected from a gentleman: art, calligraphy, and poetry. These pursuits stayed with him throughout his life.

In 1949 ahead of the Communist takeover of the Mainland, Weiming’s father moved the family to Taiwan where he continued to serve the Kuomingtong government. Weiming enrolled in the Cheng Kung University and graduated with a degree in civil engineering in 1952. On the recommendation of a family friend, he moved to the US to continue studying civil engineering at the University of Minnesota. He met his future wife, Caroline Chang, there and they married in 1957. Then following in his father’s footsteps, Weiming decided to pursue a second master’s degree in city and regional planning at University of North Carolina.

For several years following graduation Weiming and Caroline embarked on a global lifestyle that took them to Europe and Japan before settling in Minneapolis where Weiming took the position of chief of environmental design in the City’s planning department. Thus began his illustrious and brilliant career in city planning, urban renewal, historic preservation, and advocacy for artists. It has all been meticulously portrayed in an essay in the Minnesota Alumni Magazine by Camille LeFevre: https://www.minnesotaalumni.org/stories/life-by-design

Amidst his rapidly rising career and wide recognition, Weiming never forgot his homeland. He and Caroline returned to Taiwan often to visit their parents and, at one time, seriously considered returning permanently to Taiwan. While enticing offers kept them in the US, Weiming developed a deep friendship with the mayor of Taipei who frequently sought and implemented his advice. After Mainland China opened in the 1970s Weiming was frequently invited to visit cities in China, always generously offering his expertise, experience, and perspectives on urban design. On occasion he also served as an adjudicator for design competitions. His worldwide impact grew and he was the recipient of numerous awards, among them a distinguished achievement award from the University of North Carolina.

Within the Chinese community, both locally in the Twin Cities and nationally in the US, Weiming was always willing to offer his advice and expertise, and to mentor the younger generation. For many years he served as Vice-Chair of the prominent national organization, Committee of 100.

In midlife Weiming returned to one of his first loves, Chinese calligraphy. He
developed a unique style involving computer graphic designs and began holding exhibitions internationally. He met with and hosted artists/poets/calligraphers from China and Hong Kong, often in partnership with Hui Arts and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. He also invited urban planners from China and Taiwan to visit Lowertown during his 26-year-tenure there. He would take them to vantage points in Lowertown that would offer sweeping views of the Mississippi River and challenged them to think big. He never tired of nurturing and opening new minds to creative possibilities.

Even in his tenth decade, Lefevre wrote that Weiming was still looking ‘for ways to learn from different cultures….I’ve had so many ways to express myself, and I’m thankful. I’m grateful for the chance to serve.’

His was a life well-lived.  His wife, Caroline, and son Kevin and daughter-in-law Monica, survive him.


Caroline Lu, 1931 – 2024
Caroline was born to two Chinese students studying in Cambridge, MA. Her father was studying at Harvard Law School and her mother at Wellesley College. Soon after her father’s graduation the family returned to China where he was appointed a judge in the national court system. By 1936 he was promoted to a judgeship on the National Supreme Court.

The first two decades of Caroline’s life were a chronicle of a particularly tumultuous period in China’s history. The Japanese Invasion in 1937 and its subsequent Occupation of China led to massive destruction and huge losses in human lives throughout China. Caroline’s father retreated with the Nationalist government to Chongqing, while the family remained in the countryside outside of the city. FOr several years there was only sporadic school education for Caroline and her siblings. When the Japanese Army surrendered in 1945, the family returned to Nanjing where the children were finally enrolled steadily in school. Three years later change came once more when the family moved, with the Nationalist government, to Taiwan. In 1952, having finally finished high school, Caroline returned to the U.S. to attend Macalester College in St. Paul, where she majored in education.

Caroline met her future husband, Weiming Lu, a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, at a Chinese Student Fellowship event on campus. Graduating ahead of Weiming she took a job as an elementary school teacher in Buffalo, NY, fulfilling her love for children. When Weiming graduated from U MN he took a job in Kansas City, MO, and convinced Caroline to join him there. They were soon married and subsequently returned to Minneapolis where Weiming began his illustrious career in city planning.

Throughout Weiming’s sterling career Caroline remained primarily at home, his confidant and quiet listener. She doted on their only son, Kevin. She was a gentle and nurturing mother, full of good cheer and quiet humor, firm but loving. Their household was a warm and lively center of hospitality, often full of Chinese students and visitors from both Mainland China and Taiwan. Caroline’s fine cooking was not to be missed.

Caroline and Weiming took an active part in the diverse cultural offerings in the Twin Cities. In addition to attending Chinese classical performances, they held season tickets to many concerts of music organizations, theatre, and dance companies. Caroline also enjoyed new music, particularly the works of composer John Harbison.

For decades  Caroline kept in frequent touch with her parents back in Taiwan and took wonderful care of her mother when she moved here in her later years. Caroline also took care of Weiming’s mother with the same loving attention. She remained close to her siblings, particularly her two sisters who followed in her footsteps and attended Macalester College, and who, in retirement, returned to the Twin Cities.

Caroline passed away peacefully in March, 2024.   Her son Kevin and daughter-in-law Monica, survive her.


Walter N. Graff, 1939-2023
Walter came from a family deeply rooted in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. His great grandfather came over from Norway and his grandfather served as mayor of Sioux Falls for many years. Commitment to community and public service came naturally to Walter. Pro bono work went hand in hand with his brilliant legal career at Best & Flanagan where he drafted the original condominium laws for the State of Minnesota...
Weiming Lu, 盧偉民, 1930-2022
Weiming Lu was born in 1930 in Shanghai, China. It was a tumultuous period throughout China then, full of political turmoil and civil wars, with the Japanese Invasion and Occupation in between and more civil war afterwards. For part of his childhood, Weiming, his sister and their mother were...
Robert D. Jacobsen, 卓儒博,1944-2021
Robert Jacobsen grew up in Roseville, MN, and developed an early interest in art, woodworking, architecture, and photography. He pursued several degrees at the University of Minnesota, first concentrating on art history and architecture. Returning from an interim study at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, he stopped off in Japan and promptly fell in love with its art and architecture.