Aletha Meyer Pinnow, 31, of Duluth (formerly of Oswego and Chicago, IL) died from depression and suicide on February 20, 2016. Aletha was born on December 29th, 1984 to Bonnie and Bryce Pinnow. The parents promised a tiny baby to their older daughter (who was sorely disappointed by the giant 11 pound baby that came home with them). This was an auspicious start for Aletha, who spent her life defying expectations and charting her own hilarious and unique path.Aletha loved animals, theater, Halloween, Star Wars, cartoons, preparing food for loved ones, and cuddling with the aforementioned animals. She did not love France (they know why) and William Shatner (who also presumably knew why). Aletha was fond of making her mom laugh until she literally cried and helping her dad do anything and everything. It is impossible to sum up a woman so caring, genuine, vivacious, hilarious, and sparkly. Those qualities were so obvious to everyone around her. Aletha was her family?s entire world. She enriched the lives of countless colleagues and students. Unfortunately, a battle with depression made her innate glow invisible to her and she could not see how desperately loved and valued she was. Aletha found her true passion in fifth grade when she decided to become a special education teacher. She graduated high school a year early to enroll in her future alma mater, Northern Illinois University (NIU). It is the ultimate understatement to say that Aletha loved working with people with disabilities (especially people on the autism spectrum). She was a special education teacher for more than a decade, and she was—and she was happy to tell you—awesome at it. She saw the potential and value of every one of her students, and she loved them with a ferocity that would make a rabid mother bear quiver. If the family were to have a ?big pie in the sky dream,? it would be for a community-wide discussion about mental health and to pull the suffocating demon of depression and suicide into the bright light of day. The family hopes others will join them in their mission of breaking the destructive silence and stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide.