MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — President Joe Biden is coming to Minneapolis Sunday to attend the memorial services for the late Walter Mondale at the University of Minnesota’s Northrup Auditorium.

The former vice president died in April of 2021 at the age of 93. Like so many families, Ted Mondale and his brother Will kept having to delay the service due to the pandemic.

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“It has been difficult. I mean, it’s something you want to do right away,” said Ted Mondale. “It’s going to be a nice event, the kind of event he wanted. You know, he didn’t want a big, he didn’t want to lay in state in Washington.”

Walter Mondale and Joe Biden in 2015 (credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images)

He says his father and Biden had a special bond.

“Not only because of being in the Senate together, but talking and experiencing the vice presidency,” Ted Mondale said. “I think the last day before he passed away, two days, they had a 40-minute conversation.”

While most of the public tributes focus on Mondale’s years in the Senate, as vice president and as ambassador to Japan — he treasured teaching at the U of M’s Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs in the last years of his life.

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“He literally taught thousands and thousands of students over at the University of Minnesota,” Ted Mondale said.

What was it like to be the son of Walter Mondale?

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“He was a great dad, you know. He was always there for you, he never tried to make us something we weren’t because of who he was,” Ted Mondale said.

He says his father’s entire life was lived with an understated humility.

“This is exactly the event he wanted. Nothing too fancy, friends speaking, remembering what we all did together, and I couldn’t be happier,” he said.

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The former vice president’s wife Joan passed away in 2014, and their daughter Eleanor died in 2011.

Esme Murphy