MINNEAPOLIS — Walter Mondale, the former vice president under President Jimmy Carter and the 1984 Democratic presidential nominee, has died at 93, his family said.
They said he died peacefully of natural causes in his Minneapolis home, surrounded by family members.
Mondale had a long political career in his home state of Minnesota. He was the state’s Attorney General, a U.S. senator, and a U.S. Ambassador to Japan.
In a public statement, Mondale's family highlighted his work in environmental protection and civil rights, especially his involvement in the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
"Beyond his commitment to public service, our dad was committed to our family, and we will miss him more than words can capture," they wrote.
A message from Mondale himself to his staff members and supporters over the many years of his political career reflects the man he was.
Well my time has come. I am eager to rejoin Joan and Eleanor. Before I go I wanted to let you know how much you mean to me. Never has a public servant had a better group of people working at their side! Together we have accomplished so much and I know you will keep up the good fight. Joe in the White House certainly helps. I always knew it would be okay if I arrived some place and was greeted by one of you! My best to all of you.
Politicians across the nation provided statements on the passing of the former vice president, including former President Jimmy Carter, who chose Mondale to be his running mate in 1976.
Local politicians also reacted to Mondale's death, including Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman, who called the late vice president a "hero."
“Vice President Mondale was such a wonderful role model, mentor, and supporter," Hortman said in a release. "He was a hero to me and inspired me to become a lawyer and run for office. As a child, I wanted to grow up to be exactly like him. Vice President Mondale always exemplified everything a lawyer and a public servant should be. He was dedicated to justice and improving people’s lives. And he did that work with incredible class and dignity. He treated everyone with respect, even his political adversaries. His passing is a colossal loss for Minnesota and the world.”
Minnesota DFL Chairman Ken Martin offered his condolences to Mondale's family and praised his work as a public official.
Martin's statement reads:
Today, Minnesota has lost our North Star. Former Vice President Walter Mondale was a moral, courageous, and principled leader whose tireless work to improve the lives of his fellow Americans and people across the globe has left an indelible mark on history. Fritz was also a friend and a mentor to myself and so many others, and I am deeply saddened by news of his passing. I would like to extend my deepest condolences to his friends, family, and loved ones.
What truly defines Walter Mondale’s life of public service is a relentless focus on standing up for what’s right and helping people in need. In the Senate, he engaged tirelessly in the long, difficult, and painstaking work of building meaningful and durable political change. A passionate civil rights advocate, Mondale was instrumental in negotiating and helping to pass the Fair Housing Act, Voting Rights Act, and key provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. In our nation’s 245 year struggle to build a more perfect union, few have contributed as much to that cause as Walter Mondale.
More than anyone else, Mondale was responsible for defining the modern Vice Presidency by crafting a much larger role for the office than ever before, which he subsequently used to further the causes of peace and civil rights across the globe. It was Mondale’s hard work that opened the negotiations which ultimately led to the Camp David Accords and the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, a peace treaty that endures to this day. On the world stage, Walter Mondale was also a champion for the cause of refugees fleeing violence in Vietnam and his passionate advocacy on their behalf saved countless lives.
Though he is no longer with us, Walter Mondale’s legacy lives on in the historic change he made and the innumerable lives he saved and improved. Let us all recommit ourselves to following in Fritz’s footsteps and continuing his lifelong work of building a better Minnesota, a more just America, and a more peaceful world.
Senator Amy Klobuchar and Representatives Betty McCollum, Dean Phillips and Angie Craig also provided statements on social media.
The family says memorial services will be announced at a later date. Anyone interested in making a donation in Mondale's name can do so through the following organizations:
- University of Minnesota Foundation
- Macalester College
- Online - www.macalester.edu/supportmac
- Mail - 1600 Grand Ave Saint Paul, MN 55105
- Mayo Clinic
- Online - https://philanthropy.mayoclinic.org/donatemc
- Mail - 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905
- St. Croix River Association
- Online - https://stcroixriverassociation.org/support/donate
- Mail - PO Box 655 St. Croix Falls, WI 54024