[perpich.gif] In Memoriam Gov. Rudy Perpich (1928-1995)


(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
(1995) Epitaph

[up.gif] June 27, 1928

Rudolph George Perpich born in Carson Lake, MN, near Hibbing.

His father Anton was native of Senj, Croatia, who came to the States eight years earlier.
His mother Mary was born in America, also of Croatian heritage.

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.

[up.gif] 1934

Enters 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."

[up.gif] 1946

Graduates from Hibbing High School, MN.
Next two years serves US Army.

[up.gif] 1954

Graduates from Dental School at Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI.

He will work as a dentist in Hibbing, MN, until definitely leaving for the capitol.

[up.gif] September 4, 1954

Marries Delores (Lola) Simich of Keewatin, MN.

They will have two children, Mary Sue and Rudy Jr.

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..."

[up.gif] 1955/56

Wins election to the Hibbing school board.

First public office, the very beginning of his colorful 35-year political career.
Institutes one of the first equity plans (30 years ahead of the pay equity movement), to assure that women are paid equally with men for work.

[up.gif] 1962

Wins election to Minnesota Senate as a DFLer.

Defeats state Sen. E. Peterson, 16-year veteran of state legislature by 200 votes.

[up.gif] 1966

Reelected to Minnesota Senate.

[up.gif] 1970

Wins election as Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota.

Elected on ticket with DFL gov. candidate Wendell Anderson.

[up.gif] 1974

Reelected on ticket with Gov. Wendell Anderson.

[up.gif] 1976

Becomes the Governor of Minnesota, after W. Anderson resigns.

Afterwards, he appoints W. Anderson to the US Senate, to replace Walter Mondale, elected as Jimmy Carter's vice president.
Celebrates inauguration with polka-mass in Downtown St. Paul.

[up.gif] 1977

Campaigns against speeders, slackers among state employees and potholes.
Donates his $25,000 raise to promote bocce-ball.

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."

[up.gif] 1978

Loses gubernatorial election to former US Rep. Al Quie, IR.

Known as 'Minnesota massacre': DFL also loses both US Senate seats and control of the state Senate.

[up.gif] 1979-82

Works for Control Data's Worldtech division.

First few months in New York City, the rest in Vienna, Austria.

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."

[up.gif] 1982

Wins election as Governor of Minnesota.

Upon return to MN he had to wrest DFL nomination from endorsee W. Spannaus, then to defeat IR millionaire W. Whitney.
Becomes first governor holding non-consecutive terms.
Marlene Johnson, co-elected on ticket, to become first female lieutenant governor.

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.'"

[up.gif] 1984

Tours seventeen nations, six of them twice, to promote Minnesota.

Insists of the world trade orientation.
Lures the idea for Twin Cities to become the 'Paris of US'.

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."

[up.gif] 1985

Enthusiastically promotes proposal of Ghermezian brothers (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) to build gigantic indoor shopping mall incl. amusement park.
Although scaled back, Mall of America is still today the largest national under-one-roof shopping and entertainment mall.
Unsuccessfully tries to lure proposed Saturn car to MN and to invite Prince Charles and Lady Diana to visit Governor's Residence.
Flies to Austria to investigate leasing a medieval castle for the University of Minnesota foreign studies program.

[up.gif] 1986

Calls out the National Guard to keep peace during P-9 strike in Austin.
Wins reelection as Governor of Minnesota.
Elected over state Rep. C. Ludeman, after defeating G. Latimer for DFL primary.
Lures successful campaign for '92 NCAA Men's Final Four in Minneapolis.

[up.gif] 1987

Opening of the World Trade Center, St. Paul, one of his pet projects.

Chopsticks factory in Hibbing, MN, his arrangement, fails.

US Rep. David Minge, 2nd district DFLer:
"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."

[up.gif] 1988

Opts against a run for US presidency.
At behest of Labor, repeatedly vetoes the bill proposed to weaken workers' compensation benefits.

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."

[up.gif] 1989

Leads successful drive to bring '92 Super Bowl to Metrodome, Minneapolis.

Spends $1.2 million to renovate severe ruined Governor's Residence on Summit Avenue, St. Paul.
After opponents called it lavish, he gives up his Lincoln car, state driver and security men.
His wife Lola even threatens to propose state to sell the Residence.
Opening of Minnesota Arts High School in Golden Valley, MN, at his proposal.

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."

[up.gif] 1990

Hosts Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev with his wife Raisa.

The invitation served to highly promote Minnesota worldwide.
Hosts Croatian President Dr. Franjo Tudjman, in organization with Boris Miksic of Cortec Corp., St. Paul.
Loses gubernatorial election to Arne Carlson, IR.

[up.gif] 1990/91

Secludes himself from press, then holds public open house for his last weekend in office.
Unsuccessfully demands for replacement of his official portrait in the capitol to portrait with his wife Lola.
Before leaving, appoints S. Gardebring to State Supreme Court, which becomes nation's first state court with majority of women.

[up.gif] 1991

Moves to Croatia, Zagreb, to help its new government, elected on first democratic postcommunism elections.

The war begins there after terrorist acts by Serb rebels backed by Yugoslav Army invasion.
Near one third of country is being occupied.

[up.gif] 1992

Moves as international business consultant to Paris, France.

[up.gif] 1993

Returns to Minneapolis, to join his family.

Enjoys as a grandfather, his daughter gives birth to a daughter.

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."

[up.gif] 1994

Considers running gubernatorial DFL primary again.
Steps back, promising to run four years later.

US Rep. Gil Gutknecht, IR:
"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."

[up.gif] September 21, 1995

After extended illness dies of cancer at his home in Minnetonka suburb of Minneapolis.

Two months later, Croatian General Honorary Consulate is being opened at Cortec Corp., St. Paul - project backed by his tremendous efforts.

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."

[geo.gif] Hosted by courtesy of GeoCities


[back.gif] Visitors by now: [counter.gif]
Design and maintenance: Ivo
Last revision: December 29, 1997