Allan H. Spear
Spear, Allan H. Of Minneapolis Born June 24, 1937, Died October 11, 2008 Of complications following heart surgery. Survived by life partner, Junjiro Tsuji; brother, Richard Spear (Athena Tacha) of Washington, DC; and many loving friends and family. Preceded in death by mother, Esther Spear, and father, Irving Spear. Spear was elected to the Minnesota Senate in 1972 and retired in 2000. He served as President of the Senate from 1993 to 2000 and was the first non-lawyer ever to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee. He received numerous awards for his work in areas such as human rights, criminal justice & corrections, and protection of vulnerable adults. Spear was an Associate Professor of History at the University of Minnesota from 1964 to 2000 and was the author of the book "Black Chicago: the Making of a Negro Ghetto," published in 1967. He held a PhD in History from Yale University. On December 9, 1974, Spear announced he was gay in an interview with the Minneapolis Star, becoming the first openly gay man serving as a state legislator in the country. He worked many years to amend Minnesota's Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, and succeeded in 1993. He was a co-founder of the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Elected and Appointed Officials and a board member of OutFront Minnesota PAC. Spear was a charismatic speaker who was known both for his oratory as well as his attention to legislative details and ability to work with members of both parties, especially as Senate President. He was recently named one of the 150 Minnesotans who shaped our state by the Minnesota Historical Society as part of the Sesquicentennial Celebration. Spear was a devotee of DFL politics right up until his death and was particularly enthusiastic about the prospects of the election of Barack Obama. He was a gourmet cook and had many friends with whom he shared good food; he loved classical music and was a Board Member of the Schubert Club. He had also been a member of the Shir Tikvah Synagogue Board. Allan loved travel and treasured his trips with his life partner, Jun, and with friends to France, Italy, England, Ireland, Japan, Africa and Eastern Europe. Memorial Service to be held on Sunday, November 23, from 12:30 to 2:30PM at TEMPLE ISRAEL, 2324 Emerson Avenue South, Minneapolis (reception to follow). Memorials preferred to the Minnesota AIDS project; the Schubert Club; the Allan Spear Lectures (University of Minnesota Foundation); or the OutFront Minnesota PAC.

Published by Pioneer Press from Oct. 14 to Oct. 19, 2008.
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10 Entries
What a powerful man he was in life, we can all be better off for the man he was. May peace alway be with him . Joe Miller & Clark Bufkin
Joe Miller
November 13, 2008
I had the distinct privilege of working at Allan’s side from 1989 – 1997. He was a great friend and mentor. One could not ask for a better boss – I enjoyed every day on the job with him. The passage of the gay rights bill in 1993 was the highlight, and he had many other great achievements as well. He stayed in my home in Phnom Penh while I was living and working in Cambodia and I treasure those memories – he was an intrepid traveler and a great conversationalist. My thoughts and prayers are with Jun, and with all of us who loved him. It seems the end of an era. I’m sad, yes – but deeply, deeply grateful for his life and for all that he achieved.
Mark Wallem
October 30, 2008
Dear Jun, family and community: My sympathy to you in this sad time. Allan accomplished a lot while here on this earth. His work, courage, sense of justice and chutzpah will continue on as his legacy.
Sheila Scott
October 20, 2008
Allan was a hard working, conscientious and dedicated Senator. He made a difference, and we are all better for his service. I am grateful for having had the opportunity to know him and serve with him.
Gene Merriam
October 20, 2008
During his last year in the State Senate, I asked Senator Spear to sponsor some key updates to the Vulnerable Adults Act. He did an outstanding job in educating the various interest groups while preserving the goal of addressing the rights of vulnerable adults. Although we had differed on some issues in the past, he was cooperative and respectful throughout the process. In fact, he took the time to write me a personal thank you letter, in which he reflected on how "it never ceases to amaze me that one committed citizen can bring about real change". Thank you for your dedication and service to all citizens. May you rest in peace.
Teresa Graham
October 19, 2008
Allan was brillant man, a distinguished Senator and most importantly a person I could call a friend. It was a pleasure to have known him and to have served with him. May he rest in peace.
Patrick D. McGowan
October 16, 2008
Sincere condolences to everyone who knew and loved Allan. May the memory of this courageous man be eternal!
October 15, 2008
As a graduate student at the U of Minnesota in the 1970's I took a course from Professor Spear and enjoyed his mastery of the topic and his enthusiasm for his field. It was a pleasure to travel the same path with him for that time, and I'm honored to have been a student of his.
Michael Murphy
October 14, 2008
I knew Professor Spear from history class at the U of M, and he was an excellent teacher. He got through an awful lot of material in 45 minutes, and he could stir the class every few minutes with a particularly witty line. He was an elected official and his classes spent a lot of time on electoral history. It's too bad he won't be around to find out how this election turns out.
Tony Hill
October 14, 2008
My thoughts and prayer with you on the loss of one of Minnesota's great
Leaders and a wonderful person
Dick Voss
October 14, 2008
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