Ed H. Rasmussen
Edward (Ed) Rasmussen passed away peacefully at age 93 with family by his side on November 29, 2021.
Ed was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on December 31, 1927, to Otto and Sadie Rasmussen. He grew up in St. Paul and attended Humbolt High School. He learned to play the piano at a young age and became an accomplished musician, joining the musician’s union in 1945. After high school he enlisted in the Navy, serving his country for two years (1946/1947). He then attended Macalester College, earning a Bachelor of Arts (music) in 1951. Ed then taught music and economics at Mahtomedi High School for eleven years, continuing his education and earning a Master of Education degree from Macalester College in 1954.
Ed married Marilyn Lewis in 1952 and they started a family, raising four children. While teaching at Mahtomedi, Ed attended night school at William Mitchell College of Law, earning his law degree in 1960. He was admitted to practice law in the Minnesota court system on October 4, 1960, and he started his legal career working for a law firm in St. Paul. In 1962 Rasmussen was elected to the Minnesota State House of Representatives. He filed for reelection in 1963, but withdrew when his father-in -law, Oscar Lewis, invited him to join Oscar’s law practice in Bagley. Ed moved his young family to Bagley in 1964, joined the law practice established by his father-in-law, and never looked back. Ed said many times that moving his family to Bagley was the best decision he ever made. In 1980 Ed married his current wife, Betty, and he was a devoted husband to her for 41 years.
Ed was also a devoted father, and he enjoyed spending time with his children, playing and singing music, fishing at Red Lake, golfing, camping, and playing games. Rasmussen was known to have a “green thumb” and enjoyed growing flowers at home and at the office. He appreciated beauty wherever it could be found, in art, nature or in a table setting.
Ed practiced law in Bagley for over 57 years, and he was meeting clients, examining abstracts and handling probate files until just a few weeks before his passing. In the last few years Ed had a number of short hospitalizations, and he was always chomping at the bit to get discharged so he could “get back to the office”. No doubt his work gave him a sense of purpose and was part of what enabled him to live independently and function at such a high level for so long.
Ed often came to the office on weekends to meet clients and even made numerous house calls. To him, practicing law was not just an occupation, but a form of public service. In 2010, the Minnesota State Bar Association awarded Rasmussen the honorary title of “Senior Counselor” in “recognition of more than fifty years of honorable service to the Bar.” Over the years Ed provided thousands of hours of “pro bono” (free or discounted) legal services to his community.
Music was always a part of Ed’s life. He studied, taught and played music everywhere he went. While in St. Paul, he was the organist and choir director at St. Stephen’s church, he played for different bands and was the pianist for the 3M Men’s Choir, performing all over the twin cities. In the Navy, he played organ for church services on the ship. In Bagley, Ed became the choir director at Faith Lutheran Church, he played the organ at church for over 40 years, he helped with the band and choir programs at Bagley High School, played piano at Rotary meetings, played at countless weddings and funerals, and he put on a Christmas concert for 40 years that became a Christmas tradition for many families. Plain and simple, Ed loved sharing his gift of music.
Ed also committed himself to more traditional forms of public service, serving on the County Planning Commission as its Chairman from its inception in 1972 until 2014. He likewise served for 42 years as the Bagley City Attorney, and was involved with the Chamber of Commerce, the Bagley Industrial Commission, the Lion’s Club, and the Rotary Club. Ed assisted in starting up Twin Pines Golf Course and was one of the founders of the former Greensview Nursing Home. He also supported Farm by the Lake, the Bagley Senior Citizen’s Center, the Clearwater County Historical Society, the fair and the library. In 2009, the community honored Ed as “Outstanding Senior Citizen.”
Ed’s legacy of devotion to his family and community was grounded in his kindness, his humility, his work ethic and his selflessness. He spent his life working hard not to provide luxuries for himself, but to provide for his family and to help build and support his community. He will be sadly missed by his family who adored him, and by the many people whose lives he touched.
Ed is survived by his current wife Betty; his first wife Marilyn and their four children; son Jon (Deborah) of Bloomington, daughter Pamela (James) of Minnetonka, son Paul (Cynthia) of Bagley, and daughter Susan (Karl) of Blackduck; stepson Chris (Amy) Kvam; Veronica Kvam; nine grandchildren; Harmony (Stephen), Amanda (Says), Derek, Katrina, Justen (Michelle), Laura (Jared), Vanessa, Lauryn and Julia; four great-grandchildren: Ava, Ian, Eli and Saoirse. He was preceded in death by his parents Otto and Sadie, his siblings Otto and Richard, and his stepson Jeff (Veronica) Kvam.
A private family service will be held Friday, December 10, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. A live stream of the service may be accessed via the Cease Family Funeral Home website (ceasefuneralhome.com) and will be recorded for those who wish to view the service at a later time.
In lieu of flowers, Ed’s family requests that memorials be directed to the Faith Lutheran Church organ fund, the Bagley Senior Citizens Center, or the Clearwater County Historical Society.