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2017 Minnesota Broadcast Obituaries

Patti Rai Rudolph

A woman who was devoted to the craft of radio broadcasting and a strong supporter of the Pavek died June 16, 2017, after many months of declining health. Patti Rai Rudolph was 63 years old.
A proud product of the east side of St. Paul and a Harding High school graduate, Patti Rai attended Brown Institute in the 1970s where she discovered her passion for broadcasting.
She went on to do practically everything from reading the news, cutting promos and spots to spinning records at radio stations from Grand Rapids and Hibbing to dispatching news crews at KSTP-TV.

Morning Edition staff, from left, Greg Magnuson, Bob Potter, Steph Curtis, and Patti Rai Rudolph.               photo by Steve Wunwood
Patti Rai found her on-air home in 1985 at Minnesota Public Radio where she worked as an audio engineer, seamlessly running the board for Morning Edition for years until she moved into weekend newscasting, finally finishing her career at MPR as the newsroom coordinator in 2009.
Patti Rai will be remembered for her sharp wit, big heart, and impeccable professionalism as a broadcaster.
There were no funeral services. Instead, her MPR friends chose to remember her on the air. That story can be found at mprnews.org courtesy Cathy Wurzer

James Rud

Jimmy Reed at WDGY in the seventies
courtesy J. R. Lonto
James Rud, known to Twin Cities' radio listeners as Jimmy Reed died on June 16, 2017, in Red Wing at the age of 80.  He had been living in Farmington.  His obituary in the Red Wing Republican Eagle reads:

"He was born on October 2, 1936, to Geraldine (Feeney) and Norman Rud, Sr., in Minneapolis. Jimmy graduated from Brown Institute in 1959, and began working in radio. He worked for KDWB [1966-67], KRSI [1969], WDGY [September 23, 1969 – 1984], WLOL [1986], and KRSI. Jimmy adored music and in the 1970s an ad promoting his radio show used the tag line 'More music is Jimmy’s specialty.' He also owned Reed’s Pizza in Prior Lake."

Pat Cadigan
Duluth radio veteran Pat Cadigan, one of the Northland's first rock-n-roll DJ's and longtime KDAL morning show host, passed away on Monday, May 15th, 2017. He was 81.

Charles Patrick Cadigan helped put KUMD on the air as a student at the University of Minnesota Duluth and was hired by WDSM a short time later. When NBC's decision to end evening radio broadcasts forced WDSM to change its programming, Pat "The Cat" Cadigan got the opportunity to spin rock-n-roll records instead.After serving two years in the U.S. Army, Cadigan worked WEBC, WDSM, and WQMN before KDAL hired him in 1961. He left radio to work in real estate in 1974, but rejoined KDAL as morning co-host in 1982.Cadigan also worked for many years with the Chmielewski Fun Time Orchestra, acting as an emcee for the band during performances across the U.S. and Canada and on a weekly TV show before leaving music to concentrate on radio."I had to choose music or radio and I selected radio," Cadigan wrote for a bio posted on KDAL's website. "I'm glad I did because I met a guy named Rik Jordan with whom I spent 26 years on the morning show with. He was the best talent this part of the country had heard. I've been able to work with the very best talent at the very best station in the upper Midwest, KDAL."Cadigan co-hosted the morning show until recently and still hosted the "Midwest Polka Party" Saturday mornings on KDAL.

Courtesy wdio.com

Weston H. Minter
Minter Weston H. passed suddenly on Tuesday, April 18, 2017, of Robinson Twp., age 63.

Wes lived his professional life in two very different industries over the course of his career, often working in both at the same time. A highly accomplished corporate sales executive, Wes most recently worked for Waste Management. He most loved his work behind the microphone as a talk show host who evoked emotion in the hearts and minds of those who listened to him on radio stations WSB-Atlanta, WCCO- Minneapolis, WHIO-Dayton, KRMG-Tulsa, and KDKA- Pittsburgh over the years. A patriotic man, Wes wanted the world to be a better place, and he used the power of a microphone to do his part in making that happen. He cared deeply about the communities he lived in and even more in those who he trusted as a personal friend. Private about his personal life for most of his life, Wes met Jamie Rowe in 2003 and they wed in 2014. Beloved husband of Jamie M. Rowe; son of Audrey Rice and the late Robert Lee Rice; and also his birth father, the late Howard Minter; brother of Kenneth D. Rice and Linda G. Minter; uncle of Jennifer English and Kory Rice.

Courtesy legacy.com

Mark Heistad
Heistad, Mark age 59, of Sioux City IA, died April 17 of esophageal cancer while overlooking Lake Superior at his sister Carolyn's house high on the hill in Duluth.

Mark was born August 30, 1957 to Ruth and Gordon Heistad in Minneapolis and went to Washburn High School. As a young man, he worked for Wilderness and Amnicon Canoe Bases, played on the church softball team, and sang in several choirs. He also loved to fish in Canada and cross country ski on the Gunflint Trail. Mark graduated from Luther College in 1979 with emphases in education, history and political science. He managed the college radio station for several years and went on to be a host and producer for public radio stations in Marshall, MN, Cedar Falls, IA and St. Paul, MN. From 1991 to 1992, Mark hosted Morning Edition for MPR in St. Paul. He produced 15 documentaries, including a story on Dorothy Molter, the "root beer lady" of the Boundary Waters, a piece on farmers still using plow horses, and a documentary on Hubert Humphrey. Mark was the recipient of 23 state, regional and national journalism awards. Mark earned a Ph.D. in Journalism from the University of Minnesota in 1997. He was a professor of journalism at Penn State from 1996 to 2000 and spent the last 15 years of his life as "Doc," the beloved professor of mass communications (with the really long beard) at Morningside College in Sioux City, IA. He was very proud of the many students and interns he mentored throughout his career. Mark was devoted to his family and is survived by brother David (Kristi) from Edina and sisters Carolyn of Duluth, Marie Vandenbark of Eau Claire, WI and Kathy Blessing (Dave) of Boulder, Colorado. He was especially close to his Aunt Esther and Uncle Clyde Allen of Moorhead and cousins Cindy Rogness of Duluth and Scott Allen of Fargo.

Courtesy startribune.com

Cliff Mitchell

Cliff Mitchell passed away March 30 at the age of 89.

After attending Brown Institute Cliff spent his entire broadcast career at KASM in Albany, Minn. A 2002 inductee in to the Broadcasting Hall of Fame, being a radio personality was one of three career aspirations Cliff had growing up. The others were a cowboy and fireman, and he accomplished both of these as well. He followed the rodeo for a year and a half and became a volunteer fireman after he started his radio career.

Dan Rowe

Dan Rowe, The radio voice of the Vikings from 1991-2000, died Friday, March 17, 2017. Rowe, who was 67, had lived with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) for several years.

Rowe called games from the Metrodome, working through the 2000 season as the Vikings switched radio homes from WCCO to KFAN. In 2003, he went on to announce for the San Diego Chargers (now the Los Angeles Chargers.) He also frequently calling Hastings High School football games both during and after his time with the Vikings.

Dan is survived by his wife, Lindsey Guentzel.

John Hewett “Jack” Lemme, passed away peacefully on February 14, 2017, at the age of 91. Jack was the owner of KLTF Radio in Little Falls for more than 40 years and an active community leader. He is survived by his beloved wife, Jean of 64 years; daughters, Linda (Steve) Rucker, Kathy (Gordy) Peterson; sons, Steve (Susanne) Lemme and Mark Lemme; grandchildren, Ryan (Rachel) , Erin, Keziah, Elliot, Chloe, Amber (Grant), Hanna and Chad; great-grandchild, Norah.

Ray Christensen

Ray Christensen, the "Voice of the Minnesota Golden Gophers," passed away Sunday, February 5, 2017, at the age of 92.

A 2002 inductee into the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame, Ray’s broadcast career began at University of Minnesota radio station KUOM, followed by a term as program director and sports director at WLOL Minneapolis/Saint Paul. He joined WCCO in 1963, where his duties ranged from news and interviews to fine music, in addition to sportscasting. He retired from full-time broadcasting in 1993, but continued doing Gopher football and basketball play-by-play until 2001. Over the years he broadcast Minnesota Twins baseball, Minnesota Vikings football, Minneapolis Lakers basketball, as well as 510 Gopher football games in 50 years and 1,309 Gopher basketball games in 45 years. He remained active in the community, hosting tours abroad and recording Talking Books for the Blind. He received numerous awards for his broadcast achievements. The University of Minnesota placed a banner honoring him in Williams Arena, and established an athletic scholarship in his name in 2001.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Ramona; children, Tom (Ann), Sue (Jim) Chambers, Jim (Rose); grandchildren, Emily and Mary, Jonathan, and Christina, Brian (Nicole) and David.

Herb Oscar Anderson

The Morning Mayor of New York City passed away Sunday, January 29, 2017, at the age of 88.

Herb Oscar Anderson was born on May 30, 1928, in South Beloit, Ill. His mother, the former Frieda Munson, a maid who was born in Sweden, placed Herb and her four other children in the Odd Fellows orphanage in Lincoln, Ill., after the deaths of two husbands left her too poor to raise them. He would later reunite with her.

His career began in Wisconsin, where he wrote for the Janesville Daily Gazette. After serving three years in the Air Force he started working as an on-air personality at WDBO in Orlando, Florida, then at a chain of stations in Iowa, before going to KSTP (1954-56) and then WDGY (February 6, 1956 to July 8, 1957).

From Jim Ramsburg: "Herb was morning man at Storz WDGY when I came aboard in 1956 fresh from college. He was a very nice guy, surprisingly nervous on the air, and begrudgingly played the Morning Mayor routine which we stole from Eddie Clarke at our sister station, WHB/Kansas City. It was at WDGY that Herb began to sing along with Lawrence Welk's instrumental 'Champagne Time' and came up with his 'Hello Again' theme.

CBS got him out of the Minneapolis market, and out of WCCO's hair, when it hired him for WBBM/Chicago. But WDGY's manager, Steve Labunski, was hired to run ABC Radio a bit later and he stole HOA away from WBBM for the network's 'Live & Lively' format where he did a weekday hour following The Breakfast Club. When that noble experiment failed, Labunski moved on to WMCA/New York City and brought Herb with him as morning man. Then WABC went Top 40 and you know the rest ... "

Here's a link to Tom Gavaras's site RadioTapes.com with a clip of H.O.A. on WDGY from September 1956:

Herb Oscar Anderson is survived by his second wife, Terry Kirkoff, a film editor; sons, Herb Oscar Anderson II and John James; daughter, Carla Anderson; and four grandchildren.

Lou Buron

Lou Buron December 31, 1943 - January 23, 2017

A 2007 inductee in the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame, Lou grew up in St. Paul and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1966. After serving in the Army National Guard, he earned another degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State, and joined the sales team at KDWB Radio in 1971. He moved up the ladder quickly, and by 1977 had become regional vice president of the station’s parent company, Doubleday Broadcasting of New York, responsible for operations in Chicago, Detroit, Denver, and St. Louis, as well as the Twin Cities. In 1986 he moved to Parker Communications, with Cities 97 and other stations in Las Vegas, Honolulu, and California. He served two years as president before forming his own company, Omni Broadcasting, in 1988. Starting with KBUN and KBHP in Bemidji, Omni was sixteen stations strong, serving Bemidji, Alexandria, Brainerd, and Staples/Wadena before being sold to Hubbard Broadcasting in 2015.

Under Buron’s leadership, Omni stations raised more than $4 million with the annual Radiothon to End Child Abuse, just one example of Lou's commitment to public service, which was matched only by his enthusiasm for the industry he loved.

Lou is survived by his loving wife, Mary Campbell; son, Jeff (Sarah); and Mary’s children, Heather (Wayne), and Christopher; cousin, Dorothy Mae DeTomaso

John Bravis

John Bravis WØEKS age 90, of Columbia Heights, Minn. passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family on January 2, 2017. Survived by wife of 63 years Jean; son Jon (Jack); daughters Becky, Bonnie, and Julie; nephew Brian Krysinski; niece Tonya Krysinski. John was a South High grad in 1944, WWII Navy Vet, long time radio ham, Pavek Museum volunteer, Kiwanian, golfer, and musician. John joined Medtronic in 1952 during its humble beginnings in a garage in NE Mpls. At that time the company personnel was four; Earl Bakken, Palmer Hermundslie, John Bravis and an office secretary. One infamous day, Earl gave John a sketch drawn on the back of a brown paper bag and asked him to build it. That creation became the prototype of the first battery-powered cardiac pacemaker. He remained with the company for 35 years, retiring in 1987.