Please remember in your prayers Edward R. Brandt, who died peacefully Thursday, Jan. 17, after a long illness. Among his survivors is Marie, his wife of 60 years.

Edward R. Brandt

Edward R. Brandt

Brandt, 81, of Minneapolis, was a Foreign Service officer for the U.S. Information Agency (part of the State Department) for 10 years, a state representative for four years, and, after earning a Ph.D., had a 20-year career teaching political science, with his happiest years spent on the faculty of St. Thomas in the 1970s.

While a Foreign Service officer posted in Washington, D.C., Brandt took part in the 1963 March on Washington and witnessed the “I have a dream” speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

On returning to Minnesota in the late 1960s, Brandt served as a state representative for Southeast and Northeast Minneapolis from 1968 through 1972. He was a leader in the nonsmokers’ rights movement, and both in and out of the legislature he led the drive that resulted in the 1975 passage of the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act, a bill that he had written.

In a story published in the Oct. 15, 1973, issue of The Aquin, Brandt noted that “smoking was a more serious air pollution problem for him personally than car exhaust, smoke from industrial stacks or burning trash. ‘It’s so very easy to go on an environmental kick if you’re criticizing a handful of big industries,’ he said. ‘But when you’re criticizing something millions of people engage in, it becomes a much more sensitive matter.’”

Upon retiring from teaching in 1992, Brandt found a new passion as a Germanic genealogist. He co-founded the Germanic Genealogy Society and the multinational Federation of East European Family History Societies, serving in a leadership capacity in both organizations.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 27, at the Germanic-American Institute, 301 Summit Ave., St. Paul.

A full obituary and guest book can be viewed at legacy.com.