Former VP Walter Mondale’s Wife, Joan, Dies At 83

Former Vice President Walter Mondale’s wife, Joan, died on Monday at 83-years of age.

Joan Mondale, was known as “Joan of Art” — a reference to the French Saint, Joan of Arc — for her passion and dedication to the arts, while his husband was Vice President and US Ambassador.

In a statement released by their church, Walter Mondale’s family said she was surrounded by her sons Ted and William and the rest of the family when she passed away.

On Sunday, the Mondales announced that Joan had gone into hospice, which indicated the end of her life was nearing, but declined to comment on her illness.

“Joan was greatly loved by many. We will miss her dearly,” Walter Mondale, 86, said in a written statement.

As the wife of then Democratic Senator Walter Mondale, who was chosen by Jimmy Carter as his Vice President in 1976, Joan Mondale used her public persona to promote the arts.

President Carter named her honorary chairwoman of the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities, and as such she frequently traveled to museums, theaters, and artist studios representing the administration.

Walter Mondale wife, Joan, dies

Walter Mondale’s wife lobbied Congress and states to boost public arts programs and funding.

As Second Lady, Joan Mondale, showcased some very prominent artists in the Vice Presidential residence.

“She was exemplary in using the opportunities public service provided to advance the arts and other issues important to her and many Americans,” Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, said in a written statement.

Many in the arts community praised her commitment to their craft and Jim Melchert, director of the visual arts program for the National Endowment for the Arts during Carter’s administration stated in 1980, following the Carter-Mondale loss to Ronald Reagan:

“Your rare fire has brightened many a day for more people than you may imagine. What you’ve done with style and seeming ease will continue illuminating our world for a long time to come.”

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama also praised Walter Mondale’s wife on Monday in a statement that read:

“Through her contributions to the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities and the Kennedy Center, she passionately advocated for the role of art in the life of our nation and the promotion of understanding worldwide.”

Former Vice presidential aide, Al Eisele, once said that for Walter Mondale, “it was important to him that Joan not just be the vice president’s wife, but his partner.”

Joan Adams of Eugene, Oregon and Walter Mondale met in 1955, when one of Joan’s sisters arranged a blind date. Six months later they were engaged, and they married soon after.