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Muriel Humphrey Brown eulogized at public memorial service

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Muriel Humphrey Brown, who found herself at the epicenter of Washington politics during the tumultuous 1960s, was remembered at a memorial service Thursday for the calm she brought to the storm.
Mrs. Brown, whose first husband was former Vice President Hubert Humphrey, died Sunday of natural causes in Minneapolis. She was 86.
“She was the center, the person who stuck in there, in good times and bad,” said Geri Joseph, a Humphrey adviser during his 1968 presidential campaign and ambassador to the Netherlands during the Carter administration.
As widow of the state’s most popular politician, Muriel Humphrey became the state’s only female U.S. senator when she was appointed to the seat vacated by Humphrey’s death from cancer in January 1978.
Mrs. Brown was buried Thursday morning next to Humphrey during a private service at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis attended by about 50 family members and close friends.
Hundreds turned out for a public service held in the afternoon at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church. They included dozens of politicians, past and present, including Sen. Paul Wellstone, Gov. Arne Carlson, former Govs. Orville Freeman and Wendell Anderson, and former U.S Sen. Dave Durenberger.
Joseph recalled how she came to know Muriel Humphrey well as the two campaigned together shortly after the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago.
Mrs. Brown also was remembered for her work on behalf of children with Down syndrome. Her granddaughter Vicky Solomonson was born with Down syndrome in 1960 and Muriel Humphrey became a crusader for moving people with such disabilities out of institutions into group homes.
“The future held little promise for girls like Vicky,” said Diane Cross, executive director of Fraser Community Services, which operates several homes that bear Mrs. Brown’s name. “Because of Muriel, we have come a long way.”
Former Vice President Walter Mondale, a protege of the Happy Warrior, said Muriel and Hubert “changed the nation and the world,” in areas including civil rights, Medicare and environmental protection.
Son Hubert Humphrey III, the state attorney general and DFL nominee for governor, offered the closing eulogy, in which he compared her life to her renowned needlepoint creations.
“Your life is the tapestry of a noble and beautiful human being,” he said.
The tributes to Mrs. Brown also included that which wasn’t said Thursday. The gubernatorial campaigns of her son and his Republican rival, St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman, declared a day of political silence, with no advertising by either side.
Coleman, who was once a top aide to the attorney general and was acquainted with Mrs. Brown, attended the memorial service, as did Reform Party nominee Jesse Ventura.
Mrs. Brown’s survivors also include husband Max Brown, sons Robert and Doug, and daughter Nancy Solomonson.

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