Other Tributes to Walter Mondale at His Memorial Service   

Other tributes to Walter Mondale at his May 1st Memorial Service were provided by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, former Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson, Minnesota civil rights leader Josie Johnson, and University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel and Professor Larry Jacobs. [1]

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz: “Walter Mondale changed every person he came in contact with. He changed this state, he changed this nation and he changed this world, all for the better.”

“Fritz was a national figure, but at heart — and everyone in this room knows — he was always just a boy from southern Minnesota. He embodied a sense of joy. He lived his life every single day with that joy at the forefront.”

“At 91, he was still fishing for walleye. Unlike me, he was catching them.”

“Everyone who met Fritz Mondale considered him a friend. Few people I’ve ever met did you feel were more present when you were with them. There was no place he needed to be. There was no-one more important than that moment. And every person I’ve ever talked to felt that.”

Former Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson: “Today, we celebrate the life of Minnesota’s finest; Walter Mondale. No doubt there will be remembrances of his leadership on a host of issues ranging from human rights to world peace. But the highest tribute is to honor his values and give them immortality.”

 “First and foremost has been his commitment to fairness. He saw it in the light of endlessly pursuing the elimination of all barriers to achievement for all people. His vision for our democracy was an even playing field and, I suspect, he would define the American Dream in that same context.”

“That enveloping philosophy led him to pursue policies that enhanced the quality of life for all people ranging from universal access to quality and affordable health care to ending violence whether by war or the endless slaughter of innocent victims of gun violence.”

“And he understood the necessity of serving as stewards of the land we inherited. His work to save the BWCA and the St. Croix {River] will always remain memorable. But, he also stayed current and challenged us to be ever vigilant of the monied interests who desire to convert nature’s bounty to private gain. It was this that led him to publicly oppose sulfide mining which threatens our valuable waters.”

“Always involved, always supportive of full public debate, and always decent. But, his sense of decency was never be seen as a sign of weakness, No, Walter Mondale was never guided by the odds or the polls, but rather the rightness of the cause.”

“So today, we pay tribute to a true leader and protector of the public good. And, hopefully, we will all make his values our values. We could do no better.”

Josie Johnson, First Lady of Minnesota Civil Rights: “I never will forget how excited I was at the thought of Fritz Mondale running for president. I never will forget how honored I felt.”

“This humble man, who always welcomed other points of view and encouraged everyone in his sphere to be open, to be inclusive, to be just, and the thought of him running for president of the United States of America, was just such a wonderful, unbelievable thought that many of us had, because he was such a humble person.”

 “And for him to understand that who he was and what he represented was what we needed in our society made us all want to be engaged in everything we could be engaged in and get that message out to the public and to the community.”

Joan Gabel, University of Minnesota President: “On behalf of a grateful university, we recognize with appreciation the countless and inspiring ways Vice President Mondale gave back to his alma mater and made us all better — as a teacher and leader, as a namesake and benefactor to our law school and Humphrey School fellowship program and as a friend and mentor to students and colleagues alike.”

 “The University of Minnesota is fortunate to have held such a special place in his universe — and across his exemplary life of dedication and service to Minnesota and the world, as vice president, U.S. senator, presidential candidate, U.S. ambassador to Japan and Minnesota’s attorney general.”

“It is therefore left to us to step into his indelible footprints — here at his alma mater, in the hearts of our university family and throughout the world.”

“So, let the path he forged guide us in his ever-optimistic way, and let it heal us, so we can ensure, in his honor, that our best days still lie ahead.”

Larry Jacobs (the Walter F. and Joan Mondale Chair for Political Studies at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota): “For 16 years, Walter Mondale and I worked together on a number of projects. But Walter Mondale brought his greatest passion to teaching. We taught thousands of students here at the University of Minnesota: undergraduates, graduates, folks who were auditing and wanted to take the class. He was a breath of fresh air; he was rigorous and he was demanding.”

“Preparation and seriousness are Mondale traits, particularly Professor Mondale. During one group presentation, Mr. Mondale pointed to a student who was leaning against the chalkboard, put up his hands to stop the group presentation and said, ‘Stand up. Convince us that you actually believe what you’re saying.’”

The student stood up, and all of us thought, ‘Oh my God. Always stand up straight.’”

“I was not immune from the scrutiny. During one class, when I was carefully, I thought, relating the readings for the class and the topic at hand, Mr. Mondale raised his hand. He asked a question that probably more of my colleagues should be asked now and again, though we’d prefer it not be asked by a former vice president of the United States. Mr. Mondale asked, ‘What are you talking about?’”

Conclusion

Here are the previous blog posts about the Mondale Memorial Service:

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[1]  Excerpts from speeches and letters read at Walter Mondale’s memorial, StarTribune (May 1, 2022).