BRAINERD, Minn. (KMSP) - Longtime Brainerd Mayor James Wallin passed away suddenly on Saturday at his home. He was 73. He was first elected to the City Council in 1977 and has served as mayor since 1998.
“I was saddened to hear of the passing of Brainerd Mayor James Wallin, and my thoughts and prayers are with his wife Minna, the Wallin family, and the entire Brainerd community. James was a kind and passionate public servant who always put the needs of Brainerd and its people first. He loved Brainerd and Brainerd loved him back. He was a good man who will be missed by all,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar said in a statement.
The Brainerd Dispatch reported he recently had back surgery, but was on the mend. He suffered a massive heart attack at home and died at about 3 a.m. on Saturday. Brainerd Council President Gary Scheeler had been in close contact with the mayor, covering public appearances since his surgery, and told the paper was “very much engaged as of yesterday.”
Wallin had recently been working on a speech after being selected 2015 Brainerd Citizen of the Year.
Funeral arrangements are being organized in conjunction with the Brenny Funeral Chapel in Baxter.