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Family, friends bid farewell to former Sen. Grams

October 15, 2013
Associated Press

ST. FRANCIS, Minn. (AP) — Former U.S. Sen. Rod Grams, a Minnesota farm boy whose career took him from radio disc jockey to television anchorman to congressman and senator, was remembered at his funeral Tuesday as a humble, private man who became a dedicated public servant.

Hundreds of friends, family members and supporters gathered on a rainy, cool morning at Zion Lutheran Church, near the farm where Grams was born and raised. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former U.S. Sen. Dave Durenberger were among the mourners at the funeral, the St. Paul Pioneer Press ( ) reported.

Grams, 65, died last week after a battle with cancer.

"The great gift from Senator Rod Grams was not from any bill he introduced or because of any problems that he solved. The irony is that his greatness was in his humility," the Rev. Richard Kunst, pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in Duluth and a former staff aide to the senator, said in a eulogy.

"There was no pretension in him ... He was just a farm boy from Crown, Minnesota, who wanted to fix something that was broken."

A popular news anchor at KMSP-TV in the Twin Cities for a decade, the Republican was elected to the U.S. House in 1992 and won a seat in the Senate two years later.

Grams was a private man who didn't want to bother others with his problems, said the Rev. Dennis Heiden, his pastor. Grams always entered church after the first hymn started, sat in the back and left before the congregation finished the final hymn.

Grams also was notoriously frugal. The pastor said family members remembered him "hanging paper towels to dry until they could be re-used."

Grams' political career ended after one six-year Senate term in 2000 when now-Gov. Mark Dayton defeated him.

In 2004, Grams and his wife, Christine, bought a group of three radio stations based in Little Falls.

He is survived by his wife, four children and several grandchildren.


Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press,



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