Joan Mondale passed away Monday afternoon at 83, spending her final days in hospice care with her sons and family members at her side.
"We are grateful for the expressions of love and support we have received. Joan was greatly loved by many. We will miss her dearly," said former Vice President Walter Mondale.
Joan Mondale passed away at Mt. Olivet in Minneapolis with her extended and famous family holding her hands.
Rev. Tim Hart Anderson told Fox 9 News that Mondale died much as she lived, with a quiet dignity.
"She opened her eyes and put this grin on her face," Anderson relayed. "She was at peace, saw her husband by her side -- elegant and gracious right to the end."
In 1995, Joan Adams met a young Fritz Mondale. He was going places and it was love at first sight. They married after only seven dates and enjoyed an extraordinary partnership.
Joan Mondale was no political junky, but she did not stay in the shadows. Instead, she carved her own niche as a patron and supporter of the arts, even earning the nickname "Joan of Art" during her husband's time as vice president under former President Jimmy Carter.
In Minnesota, Joan Mondale sat on the board of the Minnesota Orchestra, the Walker Art Center and at her alma mater, Macalaster College. As an accomplished potter, she was also a founding board member oft he Northern Clay Center and took a class there only a few months ago.
Yet, her proudest role was being a mother. The death of her daughter, Eleanor Mondale, in 2011 was a devastating loss both emotionally and physically. Suzy Jones, who ran a radio show with Eleanor Mondale, said that after visiting Joan Mondale before her death, she now believes the two will meet again.
"It was sort of quiet," Jones recalled. "I told her what a good mom she was and friend she was."
A service to celebrate her life will be held on Saturday at Westminster Presbyterian Church, located at 1200 Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis. The time of the service has not yet been announced.
Many of the nation's leading political figures reached out to the Mondale to extend their condolences on Monday. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama called to say Joan Mondale filled the vice president's residence with art. The Mondales also got calls from presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.
STATEMENT FROM GOV. MARK DAYTON
"In an era when most political wives remained in the background, Joan Mondale stood right by her husband's side. Together, she and Vice President Mondale forged a path, which took them from the State Capitol, where he served as Attorney General; to the United States Capitol, where he was a U.S. Senator; to the White House, as Vice President; and to Tokyo, as U.S. Ambassador to Japan.
"During those years, Joan Mondale made her own mark on life in our state and our country. An accomplished potter, she was a champion for the arts, both in Minnesota and in Washington. In 1972, she wrote a book 'Politics in Art', which examined how political commentary is reflected in art.
"As Second Lady, she made the Vice President's home into a showcase of American art. She also served as chairperson of the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities. Back home, she served on the Boards of the Walker Art Center, Macalester College, and the National Portrait Gallery.
"She also found time to raise three children, who became very accomplished adults. I extend my deepest condolences to the Vice President and her sons for their loss."
STATEMENT FROM SEN. AL FRANKEN
"Joan was a wonderful woman and I am so glad that I had the honor to call her my friend. She knew that the arts nurture our hearts, our minds, and our souls. And Vice President Mondale could not have had a partner with a warmer heart, keener mind, or a more generous soul. Franni and I send our sympathy to the Vice President and to the Mondale family. We are going to miss her terribly."
STATEMENT FROM SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR
"Today I join all Americans in mourning a great woman, Joan Mondale. Joan truly was a Minnesota treasure. She was tireless in her support of the arts both nationally and internationally and brought joy to all who knew her. She was equally at ease on a farm in Minnesota or at a fancy Ambassador's reception in Japan or at a potter's kiln in an artist's studio. I still have two mugs on my kitchen table that she made for me, the initials "JM" etched on the bottom. She was gracious to the end. My thoughts and prayers are with Vice President Mondale, their family and all of their many friends in Minnesota and the world over."
STATEMENT FROM REP. TIM WALZ
"Joan Mondale embodied the best in all of us. Her tireless advocacy for the arts and for bettering the lives of Minnesotans and all Americans was truly inspirational. I join the nation in mourning her loss. My thoughts and prayers are with Vice President Mondale and his family at this difficult time."
STATEMENT FROM DFL CHAIRMAN KEN MARTIN
"With the death of Joan Mondale, the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party lost a friend and the arts community a passionate advocate.
"Joan will be remembered for her service and dedication to our state and country. From Minnesota to Washington D.C. to Japan and back, Joan was a true partner with former Vice President Walter Mondale. Joan left a great legacy in the Arts community, from creating her beautiful pottery to serving on the boards of the Minnesota Orchestra, Walker Art Center, Macalester College and the National Portrait Gallery.
"On behalf of the DFL, our sympathies go out to Vice President Mondale, Ted, Bill and their families."
STATEMENT FROM TOM AND JAQUIE EMMER
"Jacquie and I wish to extend our deepest sympathies to Vice President Walter Mondale and his family upon Joan's passing. I know a family's support, and especially the love of a spouse is something every elected official cherishes. Joan's advocacy for the arts in our community made her a treasure to so many, and her service to Minnesota is something we should all strive to emulate. We're keeping everyone who knew Joan in our thoughts and prayers."
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