MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — “St. Louis County has lost a friend with the passing of Joe Begich,” Commissioner Keith Nelson said in a statement Saturday of the late former legislator, mayor, and veteran from Minnesota.

Begich was 89 years old. From 1975 through 1992, he served as representative for Minnesota’s 6A and 6B districts, consecutively. He was a member of the Democratic-Farm-Labor Party.

Before that, he was mayor of Eveleth for a decade.

“While we mourn his death, we celebrate his life and draw inspiration from his legacy of public service as a legislator, mayor and Army veteran. He was a champion for his beloved Iron Range and for our citizens, in particular miners,” Nelson said. “Two years ago, when we renamed the section of Highway 101 that passes by his home as Representative Joe Begich Highway, he told our commissioners, ‘It’ll be nice to finish off my life by this new road.’ What a privilege it was to honor him in this way.”