Joan Mondale, Wife of Former Vice President, Enters Hospice

Image: Joan Mondale, Wife of Former Vice President, Enters Hospice

Monday, 03 Feb 2014 08:58 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Joan Mondale, the wife of former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale, has moved from her Minneapolis residence into hospice care.

According to a statement released by her family on Sunday, the 83-year-old's time was running short, "as her life on this earth moves peacefully to its close," the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune reported.

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A tireless advocate for the arts, the former second lady of the United States was reportedly given the nickname "Joan of Art," having once chaired the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities and promoted public art in Japan and the United States, while her husband served as Ambassador to Japan in the mid-1990s.

Among her artistic pursuits, Mondale is said to have a particular love for pottery.

Warren MacKenzie, 89, a pottery instructor and associate of Mondale's, said she had increasingly "lost her memory."

"All we saw was a slow disintegration of her control of things," MacKenzie told the Star Tribune, adding that he was not privy to the details of her apparent condition, having last seen her a couple of months ago at his studio in Stillwater, Minn.

"She was really fading rapidly. She was in a wheelchair," he added. "She couldn't carry on much of a conversation, and so the conversation moved around her without really involving her. But she was very happy with that, just to associate with things that she had known."

In addition to her love of pottery, Mondale also served on the boards of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee to the U.S. Postal Service, and the Minnesota Orchestra, among others the Star Tribune reported.

"She was delightful, and knew everybody, and I think had a good strategic and operating sense, which is really helpful in a board member," longtime friend and former director of the Northern Clay Center Emily Galusha told the Star Tribune.

"Plus, if she said she would do something she did it, and she didn’t have to be nagged or reminded or called three times," Galusha added. "If she said, 'OK I’ll make five phone calls and raise x,' she’d make five phone calls and raise x-plus."

The 86-year-old Walter Mondale did not release a statement to the media concerning his wife's condition. The Mondale's lost their daughter Eleanor in 2011 after she succumbed to a six-year battle with brain cancer.

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