Star Tribune reporter Jim Ragsdale dies


Jim Ragsdale Photo courtesy of Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

Minnesota journalists and politicians are among those mourning the loss of Jim Ragsdale, a Star Tribune reporter who died today of pancreatic cancer at the age of 64.

Ragsdale was a talented writer who worked for long stretches at both the St. Paul Pioneer Press and its competitor across the river.

He was an enthusiastic observer of Minnesota politics with a quick raspy laugh and shock of thick white hair.

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He is best known for his work covering former Gov. Jesse Ventura - capturing Ventura's work both as governor with his larger than life personality as an entertainer.

Although Ragsdale was primarily a newspaper reporter, he also worked for a brief time in the Minnesota Public Radio newsroom in the 1980s.

Ragsdale was from California and remained a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He was also an avid golfer who was happy to play with any style of player. His personality on the golf course was much like it was roaming the halls of the Capitol - gregarious and joyful.

Jim Ragsdale.  GLEN STUBBE•

Along with serious coverage of political topics Ragsdale was known for his sense of humor. He was a frequent monologist on public TV's Almanac program and did humorous pieces for the Pioneer Press.

After he was diagnosed with cancer last year journalists from a number of news organizations surprised him by singing carols at his home in an event organized by his friend and colleague Rachel Stassen-Berger.

He is survived by his wife Mary and children Ben, Ann and Catherine.


Gov. Mark Dayton issued this statement:

“Today, we mourn the loss of a great reporter and a wonderful man. I extend my deepest condolences to Jim’s family, friends, and colleagues at this very difficult time.”