Eleanor Mondale Poling memorialized in Mpls. service

Ted Mondale
After speaking, Ted Mondale walks by the urn containing the ashes of his sister Eleanor Mondale Poling, at the Memorial Service at St Marks in Minneapolis, Minn. Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011.
Jim Gehrz - Star Tribune/Pool

Broadcast personality Eleanor Mondale was remembered for her energy and creativity at a memorial service in Minneapolis Wednesday morning.

The daughter of former Vice President Walter Mondale died last month at age 51 after fighting brain cancer. "Eleanor was a wisdom seeker," said the Rev. Spenser D. Simrill. "She was a risk taker. She put her creative, energetic self out there. She knew disappointment, she knew heartbreak, she never whined."

More than 1,000 people filled St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis for the service, including her parents Walter and Joan Mondale, U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and Gov. Mark Dayton. Eulogists included her brothers, William and Ted, and her WCCO-AM broadcasting partner Susie Jones.

The mood was somber inside the ornate church. A tall, single white candle stood burning in the middle of the alter area. It was flanked by two bouquets of red and pink roses. Sitting under the candle was a blue and white urn containing Mondale's ashes.

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Simrill said Mondale found herself when she moved back to Minnesota from California, and she found the love of her life, musician Chan Poling. The two married in 2005.

"Their love exceeded their need for each other," he said. "They had a marriage that worked."

"As she was dying, she was held in the faithful arms of Chan. He handed her over to the generous, reassuring, abiding love of God. Let this comfort us," Simrill said.

He said he will always remember how Eleanor Mondale accepted people as they were.

"Her remarkable ability to forgive and move on. I'll always remember her for that."

In 2005, Mondale was diagnosed with brain cancer after she suffered two seizures during a camping trip. The tumor nearly disappeared after Mondale had chemotherapy and radiation, but her cancer returned in 2008.

She underwent surgery at that time and was able to return to her program on WCCO-AM radio, but eventually had to take disability leave to treat the recurrence.