Former Minnesota congressman, governor Al Quie dies at 99

Former Minnesota Governor Albert "Al" Quie died on Friday in Wayzata at 99 years old.

Quie was a Republican member of Congress for more than 20 years and the 35th governor of Minnesota. His son Joel Quie said he was a man full of great stories and strong faith.

Before getting into politics, he worked as a farmer and also served as a pilot with the United States Navy Air Corps from 1943 to 1945 during World War II. He later went on to represent Minnesota’s First Congressional District from 1958 to 1979. 

One of his hallmarks was his deep commitment to working across the aisle to get things done, like the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlawed discriminatory voting practices. But, Joel Quie said his father viewed his work to promote education as one of his biggest accomplishments.

"He just loved learning and he was always pushing to get access for learning as low and as young as you can and as small of a class as one can. He always thought that the one-room schoolhouse was great because you had kids teaching kids, and everybody became a teacher," Joel Quie said.

Al Quie went on to serve one term as governor from 1979 to 1983. While he loved the job, he was faced with unique challenges.

"They were very difficult times in the early '80s. The recession was super deep and inflation was very high, like it was throughout the Midwest. So he would stay up night after night trying to figure out how to have the budgets sound for everybody in Minnesota. But it was really hard work. It was not very fun," Joel Quie explained.

He did not seek re-election and spent his later years dedicating time to causes like Prison Fellowship, which shares the gospel and hope with incarcerated individuals.

Politicians from both sides of the aisle, including Governor Tim Walz, Representative Dean Phillips, and Senator Amy Klobuchar, all paid their respects to Quie, with Walz writing:

"Gwen and I are remembering the life and work of former Minnesota Governor Al Quie with heavy hearts, but with many fond memories. Just months ago I had the honor of attending a celebration for his 99th birthday, where I thanked him for his mentorship, wisdom, and leadership. He was as caring, funny, and generous as ever.

"A veteran, a man of faith, and a life-long public servant, Governor Quie had a deep commitment to the betterment of our state and a legacy that extends beyond his time in office. His advocacy for education, eliminating discrimination, and rural development demonstrated his unwavering dedication to creating a better life for all Minnesotans.

"Our thoughts are with Governor Quie's family and friends. May they find comfort in the knowledge that his contributions will be remembered for decades to come."

Quie was born in Wheeling Township, Minnesota, and was just one month shy of his 100th birthday. 

His funeral is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 8, at Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis. The service is open to the public.