- Associated Press - Saturday, March 19, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Former U.S. Rep. Martin Olav Sabo was remembered Saturday for his long career of public service.

Gov. Mark Dayton, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Vice President Walter Mondale and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a fellow Democrat who succeeded Sabo in the U.S. House, were among hundreds of mourners at Sabo’s memorial service at Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis.

Sabo died last Sunday at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis after battling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 78.

“He was always putting others first,” his daughter, Julie Sabo, told mourners. “People were his family and you were his family.”

A 28-year veteran of Congress, Martin Sabo was known for his quiet, understated manner and ability to deliver millions of dollars to the Twin Cities for road and housing projects, including the Hiawatha Avenue light rail line and the Minneapolis Veterans Medical Center. He rose to House Budget Committee chairman and helped forge the 1993 deficit reduction agreement.

“He worked in the nitty gritty and tried to get some things done,” former aide Eileen Baumgartner said. “That is exactly what he did.”

The Minneapolis Democrat announced his retirement in 2006 after being elected to 14 terms in the U.S. House. Before being elected to Congress, the North Dakota native and son of Norwegian immigrants served 18 years in the Minnesota Legislature, winning his first election in 1960 at age 22 and eventually becoming House minority leader and then speaker.

Sabo also was known for his love of baseball; he would manage the Democrats in the annual Congressional Baseball Game. The service ended with the organist playing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

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