The Obamas and the Bidens Pay Tribute to the Late Joan Mondale

Joan and Walter Mondale

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, along with Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden, issued statements tonight on the sad passing of Joan Mondale. Joan Mondale, wife of 42nd Vice President Walter F. Mondale, passed away today at the age of 83. The wife of the Democratic VP was a high-profile advocate for the arts, often called ‘Joan of Art’.

The President and First Lady said, “Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to former Vice President Walter Mondale and his family on the passing of Joan Adams Mondale. America first came to know Joan through her husband; she was his devoted partner in public service, from Minnesota to Washington.” They noted that she was a lifelong patron of arts and that as such, she “filled the Vice Presidential mansion with works by dozens of artists, including many unknowns, and later did the same at the U.S. embassy in Japan during her husband’s tenure as ambassador.”

The Obamas honored her passion for the role of the arts in our nation, “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. Our thoughts and prayers are with Vice President Mondale and his family today as we remember with gratitude “Joan of Art” and her service to our nation.”

The Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden, close friends with the Mondales, also issued a statement on the loss of the former Second Lady.

Vice President Joe Biden spoke of the generosity of the their friendship, “Jill and I were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our dear friend, former Second Lady Joan Mondale. Joan and Fritz welcomed me to the Senate when I was first elected, offering their friendship and support during a very difficult time in my life. And they were there for the happier times as well, as Joan welcomed Jill to the Senate when we got married.”

Biden honored Joan as a force on her own, aside from her husband’s career, “But while she was a Senate spouse and Second Lady who was deeply involved in her husband’s career, she was also a force of her own. A potter and art patron herself, Joan understood our country’s greatest values could be shared through our rich history of art and culture. She spread those values and that history by speaking with young people, through service on the boards of cultural centers across Minnesota and the country, and during their diplomatic service in Japan, where she helped bring two cultures and countries closer together. When the Mondales were in Tokyo, we had two ambassadors.”

The VP talked about how the Mondales offered guidance and shared stories with the Bidens when Joe Biden joined Obama on the ticket in 2008, “The Mondales remained our lifelong friends, from our Senate days to their journey to the White House, as well as our own. When President Obama asked me to join the ticket in 2008, Joan and Fritz reached out right away and gave us valuable guidance.”

Even when she was ill, Mrs. Mondale and Dr. Jill Biden were able to enjoy their bond, “During this last campaign, Jill had the opportunity to visit with Joan in Minnesota. Even though she was ill, she and Jill had the opportunity to share stories from the past and talk of their hope for our future. That’s what made Joan so special—always taking the time to meet a friend with a deep belief in what makes our country so exceptional. We will always treasure our time with her and will miss her smile, friendship and counsel.”

The Bidens extended their deepest condolences to Fritz, their sons Ted and William, and the entire Mondale family.

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