Westminster Presbyterian Church of Minneapolis, Minnesota, released a statement Sunday, February 2, on the behalf of the Mondale family that Joan Mondale, former Vice President Walter Mondale’s wife, entered hospice this last Thursday, January 30. According to ABC News, the Mondales have been long time patrons and members of the Presbyterian Church. Joan, who is 83, is said to have family and loved ones by her side, “as her life on this earth moves peacefully to its close,” said the statement released by church officials. The family has asked that Joan’s privacy be respected as she prepares to enter the last moments of her life.
This former second lady of the United States was the wife of Walter Mondale who served as Vice President during the Jimmy Carter administration from 1977 to 1981. Vice President Mondale was also up as the Democratic nominee for President in the 1984 election, but lost after claiming only 13 electoral votes to former U.S. President Ronald Reagan. The 13 electoral votes were obtained from his home state of Minnesota and from the District of Columbia. In 1976, Mondale was on the ballot with Jimmy Carter when the 39th President defeated opponents Gerald Ford and Bob Dole. Mondale himself was also an appointed U.S. ambassador to Japan from 1993 to 1996, during which time both Walter and his wife resided in Japan. During her time in Japan, Joan became immersed in Japanese art.
Upon Joan Mondale entering hospice the nation is reminded of her spirit, interests, and how she spent her time advocating for those interests. Throughout her life, Joan was an avid supporter of the arts, and was a known advocate of national cultural arts. While her husband was in term serving as Vice President, she obtained the nickname “Joan of Art” for her sincere dedication, passion, and participation in promoting art within the U.S. Joan was herself an avid potter, who loved how art represented a sense of one’s culture, and she dedicated her time to being a voice for the arts. She was a student to known “Stillwater” potter, Warren Mackenzie, who adored the treasured “mingei,” a unique ceramic pottery style that was present in some Japanese art communities.
Throughout her time spent in Washington D.C. she served as the Carter administration’s “ombusdman for the arts.” Ombusdman is a term used to describe a person that is in charge of investigating and mediating complaints regarding specific settlements or affairs, especially between parties of students, institutions, or consumers. Likewise, in 1977, she was appointed by president Jimmy Carter to be the Honorary Chairperson of the Federal Council of the Arts and Humanities.
This Minnesota resident grew up as a daughter of a Presbyterian minister and graduated high school in St. Paul, Minnesota. Joan graduated in 1952 from Macalester College where she majored in history, as well as minoring in the arts and in French. Upon graduation, Joan worked at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Joan married Walter in 1955 and together they had three children: Theodore, Eleanor, and William. Although Joan Mondale, former second lady of the U.S. has entered hospice, it is without a doubt that her time has been well-spent and that her dedication to this nation will not go unnoticed.
By Sarah Widger