Bev Scalze, former Minnesota lawmaker, entrepreneur, wildlife artist and longtime civic leader from Little Canada, died Wednesday following a battle with cancer, colleagues said. She was 77 years old.
Scalze’s career in the public service has been deep. Between 1979 and 2002, she served on Little Canada City Council and held positions in a multitude of civic organizations, including the PTA, the Chamber of Commerce and the Ramsey County League of Local Governments.
She unsuccessfully ran for the Minnesota House as a candidate for the Democratic-Farmer-Worker Party in 2002, but was elected in 2004 and served in the House until 2012, when she was elected. in the State Senate. She served until 2016, when she chose not to run.
Scalze is a co-author of the 2008 Legacy Amendment which funds the outdoors, the arts and cultural heritage, and she has worked on numerous public infrastructure bills.
Her years in the legislature have touched many, according to a number of lawmakers who spoke to her in the Senate Thursday before falling silent in her memory.
“She was among the most dedicated public servants I have ever known,” said Senator Chuck Wiger, DFL-Maplewood, who said he has known Scalze for about 40 years. “She had an impact. She took issues to heart and always sought consensus.
Senator Jason Isaacson, DFL-Shoreview, who succeeded Scalze, shared an anecdote of the first time he spoke to her. Isaacson said he called to tell her he wanted to run for her seat when she decided to retire.
“She hung up on me,” laughed Isaacson, conceding that her ambitions at the time were premature. “She had little time for someone who hadn’t been proven.” However, said Isaacson, it was Scalze who several years later called her and asked her to run for her seat when she decided to retire.
“The only word that comes to mind personally is ‘nice’,” Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka of R-East Gull Lake said Thursday. “It was just good to be around her.”
Scalze was born in Baudette and studied art in the subway, graduating from the College of Visual Arts at White Bear Lake and Century College. In 1991, his portrayal of a brook trout won the Department of Natural Resources’ annual Trout and Salmon Habitat Stamp Competition.
In 1996, Scalze and her husband, Bob, purchased Hoffman Corner Heating and Air Conditioning. Bob Scalze died in 2018. At the time, the couple, who had been married for 55 years, had two children and five grandchildren.
Senator Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, said Scalze’s deep ties to the North Metro were evident last year at a driving birthday party her friends and family threw for her.
“There were 75 cars driving past his house with signs,” Pappas said.
Pappas recalled a quote Scalze once said: “You do a lot of things for your children, but you go to the wall for your grandchildren. I want to leave them something they can be proud of.
Bev Scalze’s services were not finalized Thursday afternoon.