She was tall, blond, beautiful and wickedly funny.

Eleanor Mondale Poling filled every room she ever walked into. No matter how famous anyone else was around her, your eyes were drawn to her. She was born into a family of power and privilege, but she was always down to earth and friendly.

Those that knew her well say she was never happier than with her husband, the gifted musician Chan Poling, and their animals at their farm.

In a statement to family and friends, Walter and Joan Mondale talked of her “gutsy” battle with cancer. It was a battle she was always open and honest about. That honesty and that gutsiness will continue to serve as an unending inspiration to others.

Her passion for animals transcended everything for her. The last time I heard her on WCCO Radio, she was doing a public service announcement for the preservation of loon habitats.

Her brother Ted said in a message, “She lived large and went peacefully,” adding, “It’s hard to believe she is really gone.”

Her parents said in their statement that Eleanor, “went up to heaven last night to be with her angel.” And now the horses, and dogs, and all the other animals in heaven have Eleanor to look after them.

Comments (4)
  1. Laura Martin says:

    My heart goes out to the Mondale family. It has been many years, but I got to meet Eleanor and most of the rest of the family duirng the time that my mom worked as the volunteer coordinator here in Minnesota in 1984. She was a lovely, strong woman.

  2. Beth L. says:

    I was a lowly intern at WCCO many years ago,practically invisible to everyone..Except Eleanor..When I arrived each day,she had the biggest smile & greeting for me and made me feel like a friend at all times..Her quick wit,her presence,her smile & her laughter made my day the entire time I was there..My condolences to her many friends and family.

  3. Julia Wear-Jackson says:

    In 2006 Eleanor gave a mutual acquaintance her phone number so I could ask her about her treatment as my husband was diagnosed with nearly the exact same type of brain cancer that year. What amazed me about Eleanor was not only would she reach out to offer advice to a complete stranger (not to mention sacrificing her privacy by giving out her home phone number), but also her complete honest answer about the doctors, good and bad. From that one conversation I learned about the brave, caring and sacrificial nature of Eleanor. She gave us all the gift of herself and her talents. She showed us how to live our live fully and courageously.

  4. Tony Rozycki says:

    When I was in the Army in Korea in ’72 her Dad took plenty of time out of his busy schedule to solve an Army problem for me.

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