|(1928-54)||Birth, graduation & marriage|
|(1955-66)||Early political career begins|
|(1970-77)||Lieutenant Governor to become Governor of Minnesota|
|(1978-82)||European business and trade experience|
|(1982-85)||Come back to MN and governor's office|
|(1986-90)||Second reelection, grand ideas to promote Minnesota|
|(1991-94)||Croatian heritage & family|
June 27, 1928Rudolph George Perpich born in Carson Lake, MN, near Hibbing.
Peter Popovich, Perpich's as chief judge of MN Appeals Court '83,
justice of MN Supreme Court '87 and chief justice '88:
"Rudy tells the story about his father, a very thrifty man. Rudy and Lola were leaving on their honeymoon.
Than the Old Man said: 'Before you go, go upstairs and change your clothes. That suit you're wearing will be needed by the other three boys coming behind you!'
It's funny the way Rudy tells it with a slight accent and Croatian and English interspersed together."
PS: Robert A. Zimmerman, alias Bob Dylan, grew up in Hibbing, MN, too.
1934Enters the first grade. Still, he doesn't speak English.
Bill Davis, president of Minneapolis NAACP:
"He always came across as a person who understood poverty...
He seemed to be sympathetic with issues important to the African American community.
He was very much a believer that education was route out of the poverty... I still remember when he visited our program for homeless children...
He also broke down barriers for people of color in the state government. He appointed more judges of color than had ever previously been the case, and more women."
1946Graduates from Hibbing High School, MN.
1954Graduates from Dental School at Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI.
September 4, 1954Marries Delores (Lola) Simich of Keewatin, MN.
Gloria Griffin, former coordinator of MN Women's Consortium:
"He had great respect for Lola. He was devoted to her. He always asked for advice on everything.
It was one of the most genuine love matches I have ever seen..."
1955/56Wins election to the Hibbing school board.
1962Wins election to Minnesota Senate as a DFLer.
1966Reelected to Minnesota Senate.
1970Wins election as Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota.
1974Reelected on ticket with Gov. Wendell Anderson.
1976Becomes the Governor of Minnesota, after W. Anderson resigns.
1977Campaigns against speeders, slackers among state employees and potholes.
State Sen. Dean Johnson:
"I remember one time I was up in Willmar, putting up gas in my car.
Here comes Rudy. No staff, no security, no troopers... He said, 'I'm tired of St. Paul. I escaped to the country today.'
He was just out driving around all by himself, talking to people. That was Rudy."
1978Loses gubernatorial election to former US Rep. Al Quie, IR.
1979-82Works for Control Data's Worldtech division.
William Norris, former chairman of Control Data:
"I'd never met him before, and here he was asking for a job.
He told us ... he had an open invitation to stay at the embassy whenever he wanted, that he'd work hard and we wouldn't have to pay him lot of money...
Norbert [Berg, personnel director] and I turned to each other and said:
'Why not? Anybody who can come with their hat in their hands and make that kind of approach is impressive.'
And he was right. He was a hard worker."
1982Wins election as Governor of Minnesota.
Marlene Johnson, Perpich's lieutenant governor:
"I think Rudy made half of his decisions while eating ice cream of carrot cake.
He called me once to meet him at The Brothers at Southdale... At the time, I didn't know that the man never ate a vegetable...
He said very matter of factly: 'Do you want to run for lieutenant governor?'
I was so taken away... I said something... why we were doing this in such a public place.
He responded while eating his triple-scoop chocolate sundae, 'Oh, this is fine. The ice cream is good here.'"
1984Tours seventeen nations, six of them twice, to promote Minnesota.
Former South Dakota Gov. Bill Janklow:
"When we were in China, we were elected officials. We spent three weeks touring the country.
Every place we went, Rudy carried his own luggage and bags.
He said no human being should ever have to carry another man's clothes."
1985Enthusiastically promotes proposal of Ghermezian brothers (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) to build gigantic indoor shopping mall incl. amusement park.
1986Calls out the National Guard to keep peace during P-9 strike in Austin.
1987Opening of the World Trade Center, St. Paul, one of his pet projects.
US Rep. David Minge, 2nd district
"Before most of us had even heard the phrase 'global economy', Gov. Perpich was advocating for MN companies on the international level...
Without his leadership the state would had entered this era a step behind instead of a leap ahead of the pack."
1988Opts against a run for US presidency.
Bernard Brummer, president of MN AFL-CIO:
"He was the son of a working family who never forgot where he came from.
Throughout his political career, he listened to workers' concerns and influenced and shaped government policy and programs to help working people and the poor."
1989Leads successful drive to bring '92 Super Bowl to Metrodome, Minneapolis.
Bill Lester, executive director of Metropolitan Facilities Commission:
"Perpich was in DC, campaigning for the Super Bowl...
He launched into his wonderful story about how he doesn't own an overcoat, that he can get by without owning one in the winter...
Philadelphia Eagles owner N. Braman, head of the Super Bowl committee, brusquely interrupted:
'Governor, we're coming, we're coming anyway. You don't need to convince me that you don't need a coat in the winter in Minneapolis.'
Room exploded in laughter and Perpich new he had won another sports event."
1990Hosts Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev with his wife Raisa.
1990/91Secludes himself from press, then holds public open house for his last weekend in office.
1991Moves to Croatia, Zagreb, to help its new government, elected on first democratic postcommunism elections.
1992Moves as international business consultant to Paris, France.
1993Returns to Minneapolis, to join his family.
Former St. Paul
mayor George Latimer, lost to Perpich in '86
DFL gubernatorial primary:
"I don't know any person closer to his family than Rudy was."
1994Considers running gubernatorial DFL primary again.
US Rep. Gil Gutknecht,
"Whether one agreed or disagreed with him, you would have to acknowledge that Rudy was one of the dominant figures on MN political landscape throughout the last three decades."
September 21, 1995After extended illness dies of cancer at his home in Minnetonka suburb of Minneapolis.
Archbishop John Roach:
"He had great compassion for the poor. And he was very interested in education, so we had things to talk about. I think he was a real Christian.
I found him to be a person with a sense of the Gospel. As I would talk to him, I knew I was talking to o good man."
Last revision: December 29, 1997