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Hundreds show up Saturday to say goodbye to Hagedorn

Visitation and funeral held in the church where the congressman grew up

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People enter the church to pay respects during public visitation for U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who died Feb. 17 after a battle with kidney cancer, Saturday, March 5, 2022, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Truman, Minnesota.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

TRUMAN — More than 500 people came to pay respects as family and friends said goodbye to U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn on Saturday.

A public visitation followed by an invitation-only funeral service was held at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Truman, the town near the family farm where he was raised.

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Jim Hagedorn

"We’re sad to lose him," said Judy Hahn, who came to the visitation to pay her respects, "but it’s just the next step in our journey."
Hagedorn died Feb. 17 after a two-year off-and-on battle with kidney cancer. He was 59.

Serving his second term as the representative for Minnesota's 1st Congressional District, which covers southern Minnesota, Hagedorn was first elected to Congress in 2018. He had previously run for the seat in 2010 – not gaining the Republican nomination – and again in 2014 and 2016, losing in the general elections to then-Rep. Tim Walz.

In 2018, he again earned the GOP nod and defeated Dan Feehan, repeating that success in 2020.

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His service in Congress followed the footsteps of his father, Tom Hagedorn, who was a congressman representing the 2nd Congressional District from 1975 to 1983.

Josh Kitzerow of Truman said while he did not know the congressman personally, the whole town felt the loss.

"A lot of people knew him," Kitzerow said. Pointing to the church and attached school, he added, "He went to school here from preschool through seventh grade."

Kitzerow said Hagedorn would often come to town and visit the pastor at the church even after moving to Blue Earth later in life.

The funeral was filled with friends from across the state. Minnesota Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, arrived with his wife, Bonnie.

"Jim and I were good friends," Davids said.

Davids described a consummate politician who worked hard for the district he represented, and the conservative values he held dear.

Recalling efforts campaigning together – either door-knocking or on a parade route – Davids said Hagedorn was tireless in reaching out to his constituents.

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"The guy could move," Davids said. "He was enthusiastic. I never saw him down. I never saw him down."

It was during campaign and public events where Justin Jobe said he often met the congressman.

Jobe, the police chief in Truman, said Hagedorn never failed to stop and shake hands with law enforcement when he walked the parade route for the town's annual celebration.

Jobe said the crowd had probably reached 500 attendees Saturday, and that was with an hour before the funeral service began at noon.

A public visitation was held for U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who died Feb. 17 after a battle with kidney cancer, on Saturday, March 5, 2022, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Truman, Minnesota.

A separate public visitation was held Friday night in Blue Earth.

Davids said he knew the congressman's health was deteriorating when Hagedorn was on hand Aug. 9 for the groundbreaking ceremony for the new veterans home in Preston.

"He looked pretty weak right there," Davids recalled. "But he kept going. He never stopped. He'd sit through anything."

Davids said Hagedorn was more than just a political friend, and the two would occasionally call one another to catch up.

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"It was a friendship, and so I’ll miss him dearly," he said.

Davids said he refused to be down, because Saturday was a "celebration" of Hagedorn's life and service.

Hahn added that she knew her friend was in a better place.

"He was a great Congressman, and a great man, but he’s in Heaven with Jesus Christ, and there’s no better place to be," she said.

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Signs are placed in a windshield outside of public visitation for U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who died Feb. 17 after a battle with kidney cancer, Saturday, March 5, 2022, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Truman, Minnesota.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Brian Todd is the news editor at the Post Bulletin. When not at work, he spends time with his family, roots for the Houston Astros and watches his miniature dachshund sleep, which is why that dog is more bratwurst than hotdog. Readers can reach Brian at 507-285-7715 or btodd@postbulletin.com.
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