Jim Klobuchar, columnist and US senator’s father, dies at 93

Published 5:14 pm Wednesday, May 12, 2021

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MINNEAPOLIS — Jim Klobuchar, a longtime Minnesota newspaper reporter and columnist and the father of U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, has died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Klobuchar died Wednesday at the Emerald Crest care facility in Burnsville, a Twin Cities suburb, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He was 93.

Amy Klobuchar, the Minnesota senator, said that throughout his life her father was “a champion of those on the outside” and used his words to stand up for people. His career as a newspaper columnist spanned 30 years and 8,400 columns.

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“Even to the end, as he lived the final chapter of his life with Alzheimer’s, he was still singing songs and telling incredible stories to my sister Meagan and me,” Sen. Klobuchar said. “He loved our state. He loved journalism. He loved sports and adventure. And we loved him.”

Jim Klobuchar grew up on the Iron Range of northern Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota. He worked as a reporter in Bismarck, North Dakota, and for The Associated Press in Minnesota before taking a sports writing job for what is now the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 1961. He retired from the Star Tribune in 1995.

Known for his wit and grace as a columnist, Klobuchar interviewed famous people from Ginger Rogers to Ronald Reagan. However, he stood out for chronicling the lives of everyday Minnesotans, or “ordinary people doing extraordinary things,” Amy Klobuchar said.

And the man who was a licensed pilot “led adventure trips from Minnesota’s bike trails to the mountains of Nepal,” the senator said.

In her bid for president, Klobuchar talked often about her father’s public struggles with alcoholism and how he helped others by sharing his story. Two years earlier, at a hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, she mentioned her father’s long road to sobriety before asking Kavanaugh whether he had ever blacked out from drinking.