Capitol Words a project of the Sunlight Foundation

  • and

Tribute To Muriel Humphrey Brown

Sen. Rod Grams

legislator photo

Mr. President, I rise today to pay tribute to Muriel Humphrey Brown, who was the widow of the late Senator and Vice President Hubert Humphrey and known to many throughout my state as Minnesota's ``First Lady.''

Mrs. Humphrey Brown passed away on Sunday at the age of 86. Throughout her life, she remained steadfast in her dedication to family and her interest in politics. In her last public appearance, just 5 days before her death, she was on hand to congratulate her son, Skip Humphrey, for winning the Minnesota DFL gubernatorial primary.

Many of my colleagues knew her, respected her, and join me in offering our heartfelt condolences to her husband, Max Brown, her sons Hubert, Doug and Bob, her daughter Nancy, and the entire Humphrey family.

Muriel Humphrey Brown was born on February 20, 1912, in Huron, SD. After marrying Hubert Humphrey, she became a devoted mother and enthusiastically took on the role of a political wife.

She played an active part in her husband's numerous campaigns. After Hubert's death in 1978, Muriel was appointed to his Senate seat, the same Senate seat that I am proud to hold today. By finishing out her late-husband's term, Muriel Humphrey Brown became Minnesota's first and only female U.S. Senator and just the 12th woman to serve in the U.S. Senate. In fact, she was the only woman serving in the Senate at that time.

In carrying out her husband's Senate term, Muriel Humphrey Brown was an inspiration to women throughout Minnesota as she accepted the call to public service even in her time of great personal loss. Rather than being known simply as the wife of the most popular politician in Minnesota, Muriel left her own mark on those issues of public policy about which she felt so strongly.

Her calm and gentle manner did not mute her passionate voice on behalf of social programs, labor issues, and the mentally disabled. She once described her term in the Senate as, ``the most challenging thing I have ever done in my whole life.'' In 1979, she married Max Brown and lived the rest of her life out of the political spotlight. Her devotion to family and public service is truly an inspiration to all Minnesotans, and I am proud to say that her legacy will remain. It is a special honor for me to hold the Senate seat she once held, in the Chamber where she served with such grace, dignity, and honor.

Thank you very much, Mr. President.

I yield the floor.

The Senator from Hawaii.