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Munger, Sr., Willard M.

House 1955-64 (District 59); House 1967-72 (District 59B); House 1973-99 (District 7A)

Party when first elected:  Nonpartisan Election-Liberal Caucus

Counties Served:  St. Louis

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

Date of Birth: 1/20/1911
Birth Place: Fergus Falls, Minnesota
Birth County: Otter Tail
Birth Country: United States
Date of Death: 7/11/1999
Gender: Male
Religion: Evangelical Lutheran
Reported Minority: None Reported
Other Names:
City of Residence (when first elected): Duluth
Occupation (when first elected): Retail Trade/Motel Business, Operator

EDUCATION

Fergus Falls High School; Secondary; 1932
University of Minnesota, Duluth; Attended College; Extension

OTHER GOVERNMENT SERVICE

State Board/Commission/Council: Minnesota Railroad and Warehouse Commission (State Grain Inspection); 19?? to 19??
State Agency: Minnesota State Department of Agriculture, Marketing Division (Duluth, Chief of Foods Section, Office of Price Stabilization, Produce Inspector); 193? to 19??

FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

Spouse: Martha Winter (first wife; she died in 1960, while he was in office); Widower; Frances Hotch (married in 1966; she died in November 1997, while he was in office); Widower
Children: Two children: Patricia "Patsy/Pat" (daughter), and Willard Jr. (son)
Family Members Who Have Served in the Minnesota Legislature:

GENERAL NOTES

He was the longest serving member of the Minnesota House of Representatives for many years at 42 years, 7 months plus. His record was surpassed by Rep. Lyndon Carlson and Rep. Phyllis Kahn in 2015.

He was born and raised on a farm near Fergus Falls, Minnesota.

He ran unsuccessfully as the Farmer-Labor party endorsed candidate for the Minnesota House of Representatives in the 1934 election.

He ran unsuccessfully for the Minnesota House of Representatives in the 1952 election.

He ran unsuccessfully for the Minnesota Senate in the 1964 special election.

He was a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.

The Willard Munger bicycle trail in Minnesota was named after him.

He died from liver cancer at the hospice unit in St. Mary's Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota. His funeral was held at Our Savior's Evangelical Lutheran Church in West Duluth, Minnesota. He was buried in Oneota Cemetery in West Duluth, Minnesota.

Religion provided by his obituary.

Total Days Served: 15532

SESSIONS SERVED

81st Legislative Session (1999-2000)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 07A
Elected: 11/3/1998
Residence: Duluth
Term of Office: 1/5/1999 to 7/11/1999 (unfinished term)
Counties Represented: St. Louis
Occupation: Retired Motel Owner
Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Bills Authored: Chief Author     Author
Committees:
  • Environment and Natural Resources Finance
  • Environment and Natural Resources Policy
  • Ways and Means
Reason for unfinished term: Death
Session Notes: He died while in office on July 11, 1999.

80th Legislative Session (1997-1998)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 07A
Elected: 11/5/1996
Residence: Duluth
Term of Office: 1/7/1997 to 1/4/1999
Counties Represented: St. Louis
Occupation: Retired Hotel Owner
Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Bills Authored: Chief Author     Author
Committees:
  • Capital Investment
  • Environment and Natural Resources (Chair)
  • Environment and Natural Resources: Land Sales
  • Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Finance
  • Rules and Legislative Administration

79th Legislative Session (1995-1996)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 07A
Elected: 11/8/1994
Residence: Duluth
Term of Office: 1/3/1995 to 1/6/1997
Counties Represented: St. Louis
Occupation: Retired Motel Owner
Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Bills Authored: Chief Author     Author
Committees:
  • Environment and Natural Resources (Chair)
  • Environment and Natural Resources Finance
  • General Legislation, Veterans Affairs and Elections
  • General Legislation, Veterans Affairs and Elections: Veterans Affairs
  • Rules and Legislative Administration
  • Rules and Legislative Administration: Rules

78th Legislative Session (1993-1994)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 07A
Elected: 11/3/1992
Residence: Duluth
Term of Office: 1/5/1993 to 1/2/1995
Counties Represented: St. Louis
Occupation: Motel Owner
Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Committees:
  • Environment and Natural Resources (Chair)
  • Environment and Natural Resources Finance
  • Rules and Legislative Administration

77th Legislative Session (1991-1992)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 07A
Elected: 11/6/1990
Residence: Duluth
Term of Office: 1/8/1991 to 1/4/1993
Counties Represented: St. Louis
Occupation: Motel Owner
Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Appropriations: Environment and Natural Resources Division
  • Energy
  • Environment and Natural Resources (Chair)
  • Environment and Natural Resources: Game and Fish
  • Rules and Legislative Administration

76th Legislative Session (1989-1990)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 07A
Elected: 11/8/1988
Residence: Duluth
Term of Office: 1/3/1989 to 1/7/1991
Counties Represented: St. Louis
Occupation: Motel Owner
Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Appropriations: Education Division
  • Environment and Natural Resources (Chair)
  • Environment and Natural Resources: Environment (Chair)
  • Environment and Natural Resources: Game and Fish
  • Environment and Natural Resources: Solid Waste
  • Rules and Legislative Administration

75th Legislative Session (1987-1988)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 07A
Elected: 11/4/1986
Residence: Duluth
Term of Office: 1/6/1987 to 1/2/1989
Counties Represented: St. Louis
Occupation: Motel Owner/Retail Store Owner
Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Appropriations: Education Division
  • Environment and Natural Resources (Chair)
  • Rules and Legislative Administration

74th Legislative Session (1985-1986)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 07A
Elected: 11/6/1984
Residence: Duluth
Term of Office: 1/8/1985 to 1/5/1987
Counties Represented: St. Louis
Occupation: Motel Owner
Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Appropriations: Education Division
  • Environment and Natural Resources
  • Environment and Natural Resources: Environment

73rd Legislative Session (1983-1984)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 07A
Elected: 11/2/1982
Residence: Duluth
Term of Office: 1/4/1983 to 1/7/1985
Counties Represented: St. Louis
Occupation: Motel Owner
Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Appropriations: Education Division
  • Energy
  • Energy: Energy and Society
  • Environment and Natural Resources (Chair)
  • Environment and Natural Resources: Environment (Chair)
  • Environment and Natural Resources: Game and Fish
  • Rules and Legislative Administration

72nd Legislative Session (1981-1982)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 07A
Elected: 11/4/1980
Residence: Duluth
Term of Office: 1/6/1981 to 1/3/1983
Counties Represented: St. Louis
Occupation: Businessman
Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Appropriations: Education Division
  • Energy
  • Environment and Natural Resources (Chair)
  • Environment and Natural Resources: Environment (Chair)
  • Environment and Natural Resources: Game and Fish
  • Rules and Legislative Administration

71st Legislative Session (1979-1980)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 07A
Elected: 11/7/1978
Residence: Duluth
Term of Office: 1/3/1979 to 1/5/1981
Counties Represented: St. Louis
Occupation: Businessman, Motel Operator
Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Appropriations: Education Division
  • Energy and Utilities
  • Energy and Utilities: Alternative Energy Systems
  • Environment and Natural Resources (Chair)
  • Rules and Legislative Administration

70th Legislative Session (1977-1978)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 07A
Elected: 11/2/1976
Residence: Duluth
Term of Office: 1/4/1977 to 1/2/1979
Counties Represented: St. Louis
Occupation: Motel Business
Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Appropriations: Education Division
  • Environment and Natural Resources (Chair)
  • Local and Urban Affairs
  • Rules and Legislative Administration

69th Legislative Session (1975-1976)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 07A
Elected: 11/5/1974
Residence: Duluth
Term of Office: 1/7/1975 to 1/3/1977
Counties Represented: St. Louis
Occupation: Motel Operator
Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Appropriations: Education Division
  • Environment and Natural Resources (Chair)
  • Local and Urban Affairs
  • Rules and Legislative Administration

68th Legislative Session (1973-1974)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 07A
Elected: 11/7/1972
Residence: Duluth
Term of Office: 1/2/1973 to 1/6/1975
Counties Represented: St. Louis
Occupation: Motel Operator
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Democratic-Farmer-Labor Caucus
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Appropriations: Education Division
  • Environmental Preservation and Natural Resources (Chair)
  • Metropolitan and Urban Affairs
  • Rules and Legislative Administration

67th Legislative Session (1971-1972)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 59B
Elected: 11/3/1970
Residence: Duluth
Term of Office: 1/5/1971 to 1/1/1973
Counties Represented: St. Louis
Occupation: Motel Operator
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Liberal Caucus
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Claims
  • Environmental Preservation
  • Ethics
  • Governmental Operations
  • Metropolitan and Urban Affairs

66th Legislative Session (1969-1970)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 59B
Elected: 11/5/1968
Residence: Duluth
Term of Office: 1/7/1969 to 1/4/1971
Counties Represented: St. Louis
Occupation: Motel Operator
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Liberal Caucus
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Cities of the First Class
  • Claims
  • Governmental Operations
  • Land and Water Resources
  • Metropolitan and Urban Affairs

65th Legislative Session (1967-1968)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 59B
Elected: 11/8/1966
Residence: Duluth
Term of Office: 1/3/1967 to 1/6/1969
Counties Represented: St. Louis
Occupation: Motel Operator
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Liberal Caucus
Committees:
  • Civil Administration
  • Claims
  • General Legislation and Veterans Affairs
  • Metropolitan and Urban Affairs
  • Recreation and Water Resources

63rd Legislative Session (1963-1964)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 59
Elected: 11/6/1962
Residence: Duluth
Term of Office: 1/8/1963 to 1/4/1965
Counties Represented: St. Louis
Occupation: Retail Trade/Motel Business
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Liberal Caucus
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Cities of the 1st and 2nd Class
  • Metropolitan and Urban Affairs
  • Recreation and Water Resources
  • University

62nd Legislative Session (1961-1962)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 59
Elected: 11/8/1960
Residence: Duluth
Term of Office: 1/3/1961 to 1/7/1963
Counties Represented: St. Louis
Occupation: Retail Trade/Motel Business
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Liberal Caucus
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Education
  • Elections (Chair)
  • Employees Compensation
  • University

61st Legislative Session (1959-1960)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 59
Elected: 11/4/1958
Residence: Duluth
Term of Office: 1/6/1959 to 1/2/1961
Counties Represented: St. Louis
Occupation: Retail Trade/Motel Business
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Liberal Caucus
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Education
  • Employees Compensation
  • Labor
  • Penal Institutions (Chair)
  • University

60th Legislative Session (1957-1958)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 59
Elected: 11/6/1956
Residence: Duluth
Term of Office: 1/8/1957 to 1/5/1959
Counties Represented: St. Louis
Occupation: Retail Trade/Motel Business
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Liberal Caucus
Committees:
  • Appropriations
  • Cities of the First and Second Class
  • Education
  • Employees Compensation
  • Labor
  • University

59th Legislative Session (1955-1956)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 59
Elected: 11/2/1954
Residence: Duluth
Term of Office: 1/4/1955 to 1/7/1957
Counties Represented: St. Louis
Occupation: Retail Trade/Motel Business, Operator
Party: Nonpartisan Election-Liberal Caucus
Committees:
  • Cities of the First and Second Class
  • Commerce, Manufacturing and Retail Trade
  • Education
  • Employees Compensation
  • Labor
  • University
Articles & Books About
Munger, Mark. Mr. Environment: The Willard Munger Story. Minnesota: Cloquet River Press, 2009.

Martin, Grant. "House Faces Future Without Legislative Legend." Session Weekly, St. Paul: Minnesota House of Representatives Information Office, December 1999, p. 19.

Oakes, Larry and Terry Fiedler. "State Legislator Willard Munger, Environmental Activist, Dies (Obituary)." Star Tribune, July 12, 1999, p. A1, A6.

Sweeny, Patrick and Jim Caple. "Willard Muinger, 1911-1999. 'The Dean': an Eternal Legacy (Obituary)." St. Paul Pioneer Press, July 12, 1999, p. 1A, 6A.

Lambert, LeClair Grier. "Reflections." Session Weekly, St. Paul: Minnesota House of Representatives Information Office, April 2, 1999, p. 2.

Martin, Grant. "Pioneer in Environmental Legislation Turns 87 Years Old." Session Weekly, St. Paul: Minnesota House of Representatives Information Office, January 23, 1998, p. 34.

"Friends, Colleagues Honor Munger." Session Weekly, St. Paul: Minnesota House of Representatives Information Office, January 19, 1996, p. 5.

"Munger Goes for Record, Runs for One More Term." St. Paul Pioneer Press, June 6, 1989. - He was incorrect about this becoming the record.


Archive Collections
Willard Munger Papers, 1959-1999 (bulk 1980s-1990s) - Available in the Minnesota Historical Society's Collections.

The Minnesota Legislative Reference Library has collected newspaper articles on legislators since 1973. They are available in the Library.