Sen. Gary Kubly, DFL-Granite Falls, died on Friday. Kubly, who was battling amyotropic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), was 68 years old. He was rushed to Regions Hospital this week after suffering an undisclosed medical incident.
Kubly's a former Lutheran pastor who was first elected to the Minnesota House in 1996. He was elected to the Minnesota Senate in 2002.
"Senator Kubly was a man who embodied every ideal as a person and in public service," DFL Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk said in a statement. "He worked hard. He was honest. He shared credit even when he was the one who did the heavy lifting. To Gary Kubly, it simply did not matter where you came from, only where you ended up. He got a lot of things done that way, and everyone in Minnesota is better for it."
Funeral services are pending but Christine Almeida, former chief of staff to DFL Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, wrote on Twitter that services will be held in Granite Falls on Wednesday.
Gov. Dayton released this statement:
"I am deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Senator Gary Kubly. Gary was a dedicated public servant and an outstanding leader. He lived his life with quiet strength and principled dignity, as evidenced by the remarkable courage with which he faced his final illness. He is an inspiration to all of us, who knew and worked with him.
I extend my deepest condolences to his devoted family."
Here's Bakk's full statement:
We were all deeply saddened to learn of Gary Kubly's passing yesterday. Senator Kubly was a man who embodied every ideal as a person and in public service. He worked hard. He was honest. He shared credit even when he was the one who did the heavy lifting. To Gary Kubly, it simply did not matter where you came from, only where you ended up. He got a lot of things done that way, and everyone in Minnesota is better for it.
I had the honor of serving with Senator Kubly in both the Minnesota House and Senate. As a Lutheran minister, he often led the Senate in our opening prayer, and I will always remember his inspiring messages. But Senator Kubly didn't just talk about cooperation and respect for all people. He lived it.
He met his final challenge--a grueling and agonizing diagnosis that sapped his strength--with grit and the determination to serve his constituents to the very end.
He was a man who managed a career in faith and politics in a way that few could ever match. He leaves us now with thousands of friends, and not an enemy in the world.
Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers. Details of the arrangements will be forthcoming.
GOP Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem released this statement:
"On behalf of Senate Republicans, I want to express deep sadness for the loss of our friend and colleague, Senator Gary Kubly. He was a man of intellect and compassion, whose presence alone often reminded us of the special honor of public service.
"Senator Kubly met his challenges bravely and with the power of faith, making us
stronger by his example. It was an honor knowing and working with him, and
we will keep him and his family in our hearts and prayers."
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar released this statement:
"We will all miss State Senator Gary Kubly who died after a brave battle with Lou Gehrig's disease. A pastor, he was kind, witty, humble and served with grace to the end. I was with Gary and his friends and family last month. He served his rural district like he served his church, always listening and quietly getting things done. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Pat and his family."
DFL Party Chair Ken Martin released this statement:
"Senator Kubly's dedication to our state and public service is a true testament to the life he lived. I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with Sen. Kubly over the years, his impact on this state and his constituents is immeasurable. He was a tireless leader through the toughest months of his life.
"We honor and remember a true Minnesota leader in Senator Gary Kubly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."
Gary Kubly was still a Lutheran pastor, just not serving in a congregation or other religious ministry.
Gary Kubly always listened with interest to issues that came before him. He helped me get through the the legislative process with my issues many times recently. I thank him and I will miss him and his kindness. My sympathy to his wife Pat and family.
As a writer for community newspapers who occasionally interviewed Senator Kubly, I can say he always impressed me as an unassuming man you could trust. I was saddened to hear of his death. I pray God will comfort his family in their grief. Minnesota lost a fine public servant.