Duluth memorial service held for Congressman Jim Oberstar

By KBJR News 1

June 27, 2014 Updated Jun 27, 2014 at 5:39 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The second of three memorial services this week for the late former U.S. Congressman Jim Oberstar allowed Northlanders to pay their respects to the former lawmaker.

Those who knew him closely say he was a man of purpose and grit, who will be remembered for his passion and dedication to improving America's Infrastructure.

Oberstar, who represented Minnesota's Eighth District in Washington D.C. for over three decades, died at the age of 79 at the beginning of May.

He was the longest serving congressman in Minnesota history.

Congressman Oberstar represented Minnesota's eighth district from 1975 to 2011 and served as the chair of the Transportation Committee.

Those gathered at the DECC on Friday shared personal memories they had with the former representative.

"He was someone that just loved northern Minnesota. He loved Duluth. He cared so much. His dad was a miner, my grandpa was a miner and we always had that in common," said Senator Amy Klobuchar.

"It's really hard to drive on a road in Minnesota and not be driving over something that Jim Oberstar did," said Oberstar spokesman John Schadl.

"He grew up here in Northeastern Minnesota and became one of the most important powerful men in America on all matters relating to transportation, infrastructure, harbors, roads, bridges, I mean the very foundation of American economic business and success," said Rep. Rick Nolan.

"We will miss him for many, many years into the future. He did a lot of good and we will live by that goodness that he provided," said Dan Erhart who knew Oberstar for over 40 years.

Oberstar's friends say he was an inspiration to everyone, pushing them to succeed to their utmost potential.

The memorial service in Duluth is being followed by a memorial service at the St. Joseph Catholic Church tonight in Chisholm.

Elsa Robins