Remembering Wellstone on the Iron Range

Today we commemorate the lives of Paul and Sheila Wellstone, Marcia Wellstone Markuson, Tom Lapic, Mary McEvoy, and Will McLaughlin. We lost them ten years ago today in plane crash on the Iron Range, an event that changed the course of Minnesota politics.

In the hyper-partisan world in which we now live, it’s hard to properly explain Wellstone’s legacy. He was a conscience liberal, a true believer. All I can say is that I was a poor kid from an apolitical family on the Iron Range. Wellstone changed that by sheer force of personality and sincerity. I was honored to meet him and converse several times. The first time I was a teenager who wanted to be a journalist. He encouraged me. The last time I was editor of a newspaper. I don’t know whether he would have won that last election, but I do miss him. We could have used his voice in the mix these last few years. The people we lost that day were good people.

There will be a remembrance at the Wellstone Memorial Site along Bodas Road south of Eveleth at 1 p.m. Because of limited parking at the site, a shuttle bus will run from the Park and Ride at the intersection of Highways 53 and 37.

After a brief ceremony, a gathering will be held at 2 p.m. at the Clinton Township Hall. There will be live music, including Bill Maxwell and the Roe Family Singers, who — coincidentally — will be headlining the Dec. 15 Great Northern Radio Show in Bigfork. Several prominent figures, among them U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, will speak.

Further events will be held at the Duluth Labor Temple tonight at 7, including a poetry reading by Barton Sutter.


  1. It’s worth mentioning Richard Conry and Michael Guess, who went down with their ship.

    I remember seeing the news feed in Minneapolis, and the shock of recognition when they put up the graphic saying “Bodas Road.”

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