MINNEAPOLIS—Pamela Joan Bin-Rella, age 75, of Minneapolis, passed away Aug. 15, 2017. Pamela Joan Bin-Rella (nee Green) was born to Doris (nee Cribb) and David Ezra Green on April 29, 1942, in New York, N.Y. When Pam was 6, the family moved to Madison, Wis., where she attended Shorewood Hills elementary school and Wisconsin junior and high school before graduating from Monticello Preparatory School, Alton, Ill., in 1960.
Following high school, Pam enrolled at UW-Madison, where she pledged with Delta Delta Delta Sorority. She married Joseph Edward Baldwin, Jr. in 1961 and to that marriage Tammy Suzanne was born. The marriage ended in divorce. Pam later completed her B.S. in Social Work at UW-Madison in 1968.
After earning her degree, Pam worked at Dane County Department of Social Services as a social worker providing services to abused and neglected children and their birth and foster families.
Pam married Yusuf Bin-Rella in 1971. While that marriage ended in divorce, Pam maintained a life-long connection to Yusuf’s family, which brought her great joy.
Pam worked as a home care aide while pursuing her master’s degree. In 1981, Pam earned an M.A. in Human Development from St. Mary’s College in Winona, Minn. She also completed a 2-year chemical dependency training program at Madison General Hospital, Madison, Wis., in 1982.
Following her master’s degree, Pam set off to take on a variety of jobs in her field. In the mid 1980s Pam worked as a counselor coordinator in Shawano, Wis.; a mental health crisis intervention coordinator at the Menominee County Human Services Department in Keshena, Wis.; and, a chemical dependency counselor at Langlade Health Care Center in Antigo, Wis.
In 1987 Pam moved to Minneapolis, Minn., where she worked at Hazelden and Ceridian in the field of mental health and employee assistance counseling. She moonlighted at Safe House, a transitional living program for adults with mental illness and substance use disorders. She became licensed as an Independent Clinical Social Worker in 1991.
Pam’s professional calling was no coincidence as she struggled throughout her own life with mental illness, addiction, physical illnesses and hospitalizations. She confronted these challenges with courage and humor. Even in her last months, everyone who entered her room at Presbyterian Homes of Bloomington, Minn., was greeted with a smile and she was grateful to those who cared about and for her.
Pam’s daughter was her pride and joy. She loved books, music and her cats. Pam was predeceased by her parents, Doris and David Green. She is survived by her daughter, Tammy Baldwin; her sister, Rowena (nee Green) Matthews; and two nephews, Brian and Keith Matthews.
A Memorial Service in Minneapolis is being planned. To honor Pam’s lifelong commitment to racial justice, in lieu of flowers, please send contributions to the Southern Poverty Law Center or another of her favorite charities Heifer International.