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Email Tributes and Star Tribune Article

Candace Slaughter Warmke

Dear Janet,

I had been in Brittany and returned yesterday to see that the INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE reported the Wellstone deaths in their Sat. paper. I was deeply saddened because I felt like he was such a refreshing voice for so many of us.

I thought of sending you a note today as I remember his close involvement with the Washington march and how inspiring it was to hear him, and his wife support so much of what we believe in.

So, yes you have been in my thoughts. I feel so awful for their family as this must be something that no one can be prepared for in any way. All I know is that he sure did make a lot of us feel better just to hear his refreshing views.

You are in my heart today, as everyday.

Love, Candy

Ben Zeman
Rhode Island

I was scheduled to speak on a panel with Senator Wellstone in New Jersey this December, and was devastated to hear of his death.

We will never forget him, though, and perhaps the best way to remember him is to continue to do the work that you and I do every day - his legacy can be our shared dreams fulfilled - an end to domestic abuse.

Ben Atherton Zeman

Sarah Delcourt
North Carolina

Dear Janet,
Shocked and saddened to hear of Senator and Mrs. Wellstone's tragic deaths, along with their daughter and staff members on Friday. All of you who loved and admired him must be in shock and mourning... Not only for his and her support of DV legislation and the SWs, but he was one of the few politicians who stood by his beliefs, even when it would make him unpopular.

Sarah Delcourt

Pat and Warren Lupson

Janet, I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend - I know that you were closeto Senator Wellstone and his wife. I hope you have wonderful memories of them and your times together.

Know that Warren and I are thinking of you and his family during this awfultime!

Love, Warren & Pat Lupson

Memorial Bus

Destiny House Inc.


We are so sorry for your loss. You and the Wellstone family are in our prayers.

Eleanor C. Brown-Mcswain and Judy L. Perry of Destiny House Inc. house of six Silent Witnesses.

Janet Hagberg (writing the day after the tragedy) to another initiator of Silent Witness:

I am so sad. I am just stunned. I went over to campaign headquarters this morning to give them photos of Paul and Sheila with the Silent Witnesses and I left a poem I had read at Sheila's Birthday party a few years ago. I also left a copy of our Results book open to the page with their photo on it. I told the staffer (Sally) that I had worked with Sheila on DV issues and at the march in Washington. She looked at me and said, "I was Sheila's staffer at the march. I was there." We hugged and wept together. It was all so surreal, so sad, so unbelievable.


Susan Marie Swanson wrote:

Dear Friends and Family, Ben and I went to the prayer vigil for the Wellstones at the Minnesota State Capitol this late afternoon. There was a large crowd, and more people gathered as the event went on. Ben and I arrived a bit early, looking for our neighborhood friend who was manager of the Wellstone campaign. Ben spotted him in the speaker's tent, and when we went up to greet him, we found that his wife and 5th grade son were with him. Earlier in the day, we had feared that our friend might have been on the plane, so the our emotions were intense when we hugged them. Then the event began, and there we were, right next to the speaker's tent. Folksingers--a Larry Long song, I think it was, with a simple chorus, so we all ended up singing. Then rabbis, and a cantor who sang the 23rd Psalm in Hebrew. On to the woman minister from the Unitarian society, and the black Baptist minister who got us all chanting and singing, and others, including the Native American drummers, and the Presbyterian minister, and the Lutheran benediction. The green bus was parked in front of the capitol, and people were putting flowers and votive candles on it. We were standing by the sign-language interpreters, and Ben told me that the banner with hands formed in sign-language alphabet letters that a small group of listener/watchers was holding spelled "Wellstone" in sign language. A flag with a pink triangle on it. Signs with the name of one of the lost staffers. Incense and sage burning. Young people out in the cold with just their Wellstone T-shirts on. Reporters with their cameras and notepads. People pulling cellphones out of their pockets. Kids wearing stocking caps. Living in a diverse society is such a blessing, and the blessing has never felt more powerful to me. Walter and Joan Mondale and Roger Moe (Democratic candidate for governor) arrived after us and stood next to us. After awhile, the young guy wearing jeans and a canvas jacket standing on the other side of us reached across us to give Roger Moe a packet of kleenex. He took some and passed the rest of the packet back. Later, Ben was crying pretty hard, and Moe put his arms over his shoulders and asked him if he was all right. There were other "important" people up there and we didn't know who they were. The crowd had gotten quite large, and we had been standing their for an hour, so we started to make our way back to the car. We looked back at the capitol. Some people still had a bit of candle left, so you could see the flames, and the dome was lit up, and the golden horses, and the two flags, Minnesota's and the Stars and Stripes at half-stalf. When we got to the car, there was Paul Wellstone's voice on the radio, and he was talking about justice. And a bit later, another Minnesota politician came on, speaking thoughtfully about how Paul Wellstone spoke of justice often. And how rare that is.

Love,Susan Marie

Natalie Niles Arguello
NOW Action Center

Friends- I had the opportunity to meet the Wellstones at our Silent Witness March in Washington years ago now. They were a couple who had found their passion in life and lived each day happily and in the fulfillment of that passion. The following tribute calls them "Titans," and it would seem they would have to be to accomplish all that they accomplished in their too-short lives. But when I met them, they were regular people like you and me. Regular people doing extraordinary things with their lives. In their memory, for ourselves and for our world, may we all find our passion and personal power and live it fully.

-Nicky Niles Arguello

National Organization for Women Action Center:
From the National Organization for Women Action Center:
Oct. 25, 2002

America lost two of its most dedicated patriots today. No one loved this country and its spirit and diversity more than Sheila and Paul Wellstone, who died this morning in a plane crash in rural Minnesota. Senator Wellstone was often the sole voice for women, children, the disadvantaged and disheartened, always speaking out for those who had no voice in the halls of Congress or other corridors of! elite power. He was singularly determined to use his wit, charm and political acumen to advance the rights and support the dignity of every individual. At his side today and forever, his soulmate and greatest resource and strength, Sheila Wellstone dedicated her time and energy to eradicating violence and sexual assault from the lives of children, women and families.

In homes, offices and communities across the nation and around the world, Paul and Sheila Wellstone will be mourned and revered. They leave behind a safer, more secure world because of their courage and perseverance. They will be remembered by millions of fans and admirers and they leave a legacy of deep and abiding love for America through their unwavering public service, unflagging spirit, deep respect for the dignity of people, and their core belief that everyone deserves a fair chance.

Throughout his two terms, Paul Wellstone was a giant in the Senate. He championed initiatives to help poor ! women confront the violence and abuse in their lives; he demanded that mental illness be addressed fully and fairly by the health care system; he insisted that training and education be made available to low income families as a real path out of poverty. The billions of dollars recently reauthorized for the Violence Against Women Act are part of his bequest. He believed so deeply in the fruits of peace that he was willing to risk his reelection and political career with his recent vote against the Iraq war resolution.

We counted on their presence and persistence and relied not only on the Senator's vote and leadership but also on Sheila's constant and unwavering dedication to serve Minnesota and the country. We will miss their voices and courage, their humility and spirit.

NOW members everywhere are in shock and in mourning at the loss of these Titans. We are desolate and grieving, but nonetheless determined to renew our spirits in their honor and use that en! ergy to bring to this country a new awakening and a new dedication that will do justice to their memory.

Paul Wellstone was principled, passionate and prophetic. He was our friend and champion, and will always be without peer in our hearts. The people of Minnesota have much to mourn, and great shoes to fill. The most measurable thing Minnesotans, and all Americans, can do in his memory is to do what he so often urged - exercise their right to vote and urge others to do the same. November 5 will be their opportunity to cast one final vote in the spirit of Paul Wellstone.

HR, Iranian American

Dear Wellstone family,staff,friends

This tragedy was indeed a great loss for so many.Senator Wellstone was one of those jewls of humanity that got the chance to blaze high and he lost no time doing that and that can not be done but by big hearts filled with great understanding,love compassion, and wisdom. And that was the shiniest part about the man for me.

It is said that being passionate and solid resolution over principles was probably the most remarkable aspect about the man. But I say nay for I have seen so reolute of a man among self rightous, dogmatics and exclusive fascists as well. Resolute over what? You contain and hold what views and values? These are the the real questions,I believe.

And a most remarkable point about Paul and his legacy is that he carries and fights for most noble aspirations and goals;the genuine will for betterment of "all" that stems from geniunly valuing and respecting each and every human being -and life in general;such a vast and beautiful heart and mindS.So it was the compassion and conscience-not the passion-that comes way first about him,at least to me.His tremendous energy , passion,and courage was so lovable and clearly genuine because it was rooted in a great heart and mind filled with compassion and love.The world of politics is indeed in dire need of such heroes.

I am a 38 year old Iranian man and have seen and have been through so much misery that there seem to be hardly any tears left. I have seen many real heroes falling like the leaves in autumn in a most turbulent and difficult part of Iran's history. Yet today's terrible loss brought the tears in plenty to my eyes,and deservedly so,deservedly.I truly feel I have lost a closest friend,a great one. I regard him a PahlevAn which I consider a highest honor in the Iranian culture.

My deepest condolences to the Wellstone family and and all other mourning families and folks...


Don Drake, Bellingham

What profoundly sad news today. We all lost not just a very special Senator who had a conscience that still worked when it left home, but we lost a family that should become the new symbol for "family values." I was devastated to hear the news earlier today, and I spent the afternoon listening to NPR on my computer at work when I was not doing something else. There was some comfort in being able to listen to familiar and not so familiar voices talking about a public figure who deserved the praise he is now getting for valuing integrity in his life and in that of our country. As great a tragedy as the loss of this man and his family is, it is a far greater tragedy that they stand out as much as they do. We need more Wellstones, so maybe the best tribute is to create as many as we can. It happens in little gestures every day, not the grand ones of fools' gold. Nothing could honor their memory more.

Nancy Kerr

I send you and all of Minnesota my sympathy. From all the news broadcasts, this nation has lost a great leader...what turmoil for your political situation and what tragedy for those who knew him and his family. I understand there were two sons also. How very sad. My thoughts are with you.


Laria Saunders, Gregory Wendt
Santa Monica

My husband and I sincerely regret the death of Senator Paul Wellstone and his family & staff. We became immediate fans of him after his courageous vote against the war on Iraq.

We deeply mourn his loss for his voice was our voice and he gave us hope inthe integrity of the political system.

Mrs. Laria Saunders & Mr. Gregory Wendt
Santa Monica, CA.

Melanie Martin
Rhode Island


I am so sorry to hear about the Wellstones. This is such a tragedy and words can not express my sorrow. My thoughts and prayers are with you and with their family.

Melanie Martin

Ann Marie D'Alessio, Rhode Island

I was so sorry to just learn of the tragic death of the Wellstones. Please accept my sincere sympathy. I will keep you and their family in my thoughts and prayers.

It is some comfort that they could live to see the growth and value of SW as their legacy to all of us. This tragedy will have a long lasting affect in many ways on their family, friends, community, and the world.

Grief is a major part of my work; but, I never get used to watching the rippling affect created in the aftermath of death, no matter what the cause or circumstance. I believe that when one of us is touched by tragedy, the rest of us need to rally and offer support. Please know that I here to offer my support and resources to you anytime.

The journey is difficult. Take time to grieve and reflect. Accept support from others. Most of all, take care of yourself.


Anne Marie D'Alessio

Joanne Coghill
Los Angeles

I have just heard and read the news regarding Senator Wellstone. I am in disbelief as I am sure you are and many other people. My thoughts and prayers are with the Wellstone family and everyone in Minnesota. I know he and his family has touched so many people with their love and work in government. He has supported the Silent Witness Initiative - my heart goes out to the community.

take care

Joanne Coghill

Claire Sheppard

What a sad day. One of our greatest allies in Washington DC is gone. Senator Paul Wellstone (D) Minnesota, his wife and daughter have been killed in a plane crash. Senator Wellstone was instrumental in bringing the Silent Witness exhibit to DC in 1993 to help pass legislation and again for the March in 1997. He will be greatly missed by those of us who advocate onbehalf of victims of domestic violence.
In peace,


Thank you for including us in your lovely tribute to Paul Wellstone. We too remember meeting the Senator at that same Silent Witness Initiative - his active participation was a source of strength and comfort to us at a particularly difficult time in our lives. May God now provide such strength and comfort to the family and friends of the Wellstones.

Bob and Barbara Arnett

Sally Katzif,
MO Silent Witness coordinator

Your tribute to Paul and Sheila Wellstone for the StarTribune is beautiful. I know how much they meant to you, and therefore, to the entire Silent Witness family. Their dedication to the cause was known nationwide as well as statewide and citywide. When the Wellstones got behind a cause or project, they put themselves into it, heart and soul. They will be remembered for that quality and for the energy and zeal they brought to everything in which they got involved. I will be forever grateful that I met Paul and Sheila at the Silent Witness March and Rally in Washington. Janet, thank you for making that possible. You may remember that our daughter, Laura, is a student at George Washington University in Washington, DC. She became interested in government and politics through her participation on the Missouri Silent Witness Project and the National March in 1997. She met Senator Wellstone at the Rally when she read her poem. She could see immediately that a person with the stature of a Senator could choose a cause and work on that cause and make a difference in so many people's lives. Laura's life took on a whole new meaning. The long and short of it is: Two years ago, when Laura was just a freshman at GW, she began interning for Senator Jean Carnahan, shortly after Senator Carnahan arrived in Washington. To remind you, Senator Carnahan was appointed to her position when her husband, Mel, won the Senatorial race after dying tragically in a plane crach two weeks before the election. Laura remained true to Senator Carnahan until the end ear! lier this month. She interned for Senator in Washington during her freshman and sophomore years at GW as well as in St. Louis during the summer between. Then, just this past summer and fall semester, Laura worked on the Senator's election campaign (which she lost in a close race). Laura made the decision to take a semester off of classes at GW to work on the campaign - one of the best decisons of her life. Laura will not have a Missouri Senator to work for anymore in Washington, but she will have lifetime memories. While in Washington, Laura reaquainted herself with Senator Wellstone. She is so happy that she was able to see him at work in Washington, in the halls of the Senate buildings, before he was taken from us so tragically. She said he always had a smile for her. Even when his illness caused him to limp a bit, he was still active and working hard for his beliefs and for his home state of Minnesota. I wanted to tell you this story, so you will know how you have impacted those of us involved in Silent Witness. Our work for this cause has shaped our lives. Thanksgiving is tomorrow - my family wishes to thank you for bringing us all along on the Silent Witness journey. We also wish you good health, happiness, and much success this year and for years to come.

With Love,
Sally Katzif

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