Longtime Iron Range Lawmaker Begich Passes Away

Ryan Juntti
Updated: August 10, 2019 08:19 PM

A longtime Iron Range lawmaker has passed away. A statement from Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar's Office confirmed the passing of Joe Begich.

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Begich served as Eveleth mayor from 1965 to 1974 before serving as a state representative for 17 years.

"Today, with the passing of Joe Begich, Minnesota lost a longtime advocate and defender of the Iron Range, Labor, seniors and Minnesota's working class families. Joe was dedicated to improving the lives of others and devoted many years to public service, first serving in the U.S. Army Infantry in Korea, then as Mayor of Eveleth and later as a Minnesota State Representative from 1975 to 1992.

"I am proud to have had the opportunity to call Joe as a friend. I will always remember Joe as a champion for the Range and preserving Minnesota's tradition of mining, education and health care. My thoughts are with his family, his friends, and the people of the Range whom he spent so much of his life fighting on behalf," Sen. Klobuchar said in an emailed statement. 

In 2017, Highway 101 near Eveleth was renamed after Begich.

St. Louis County Commissioner Keith Nelson released a statement on behalf of the county. 

"St. Louis County has lost a friend with the passing of Joe Begich. While we mourn his death, we celebrate his life and draw inspiration from his legacy of public service as a legislator, mayor and Army veteran. He was a champion for his beloved Iron Range and for our citizens, in particular miners.

Two years ago, when we renamed the section of Highway 101 that passes by his home as Representative Joe Begich Highway, he told our commissioners, 'It'll be nice to finish off my life by this new road.' What a privilege it was to honor him in this way.
We extend our sympathy to his wife, Carol, and family and all who knew and loved him. He will be missed."



Ryan Juntti

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