North Minneapolis leader's legacy remembered by community

The northside of Minneapolis is mourning the loss of a pillar in the community and a well-known non-profit leader.

Mary Johnson-Roy passed away this week at the age of 71. 

In 1993, her only son, Laramiun Byrd, 20, was shot and killed at a party in Minneapolis by then 16-year-old Oshea Israel.

Israel was sentenced to 25 years in prison for second-degree murder, but as time passed, Mary visited Oshea in prison – finally forgiving him for the murder and forging an unlikely friendship with her son's killer. 

The two even lived as neighbors for some time on the northside when Israel was released.

Their incredible story of forgiveness was featured on national television and in People Magazine.

Johnson-Roy meeting former president Barack Obama. (FOX 9)

In 2005, she founded From Death to Life, a nonprofit focused on forgiveness between victims and perpetrators.

FOX 9 last spoke with Johnson-Roy back in 2011 as she was launching Two Mothers Healing Group, a support system for moms of murdered children and the mothers of children who have taken a life. 

Local peace activist Kay G Wilson had a close relationship with Johnson-Roy, and remembers speaking with her after losing his granddaughter Aniya Allen to gun violence.

"It taught me about another level of forgiveness I didn't know [existed]," said Wilson. 

The Mary Johnson-Roy legacy fund has been established to support efforts related to her ongoing legacy. Donations can be made here.