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Sen. Gary Kubly remembered as a kind and passionate man and legislator

Sen. Gary Kubly, DFL-Granite Falls, died in a St. Paul hospital Friday after suffering a medical problem Wednesday morning. He was diagnosed with Lou Gerig's Disease in 2010 and his health gradually failed.

WILLMAR - Past and present legislators are remembering Sen. Gary Kubly for his sincerity and honesty for being one of the few moderate voices in the legislature.

Kubly, DFL-Granite Falls, died Friday after being diagnosed just over a year ago with amyotropic lateral sclerosis, known also as Lou Gehrig's disease.

He was 68.

"It's just sad. That's the only thing I can say," said former DFL Rep. Al Juhnke, of Willmar, who was in the same freshman class with Kubly in 1996 when they were first elected to the House of Representatives. Juhnke and Kubly were roommates for six years while serving together in the Legislature.

"He was a legislative colleague. He was my roommate. He was my friend," said Juhnke in an interview Saturday afternoon. "Everyone who knew him will miss him."

Juhnke praised Kubly for his actions as a Representative and Senator in the Minnesota Legislature.

"He wasn't someone who pounded on the desk at capitol but he fought hard for his constituents," said Juhnke.

Former DFL Sen. Dean Johnson of Willmar, said Kubly "never got mad" but was "tenacious" when it came to defending "meat and potato issues" like education, agriculture, economic strength of rural communities and the environment that would "make Minnesota a good place to live."

Juhnke called Kubly a "rural political moderate" and that his death means there's "one less common-sense voice out there."

Kubly was well-known for his low-key style of campaigning and legislating and shunned being the center of attention.

And his kind nature won him praises from both sides of the aisle.

Sen. Joe Gimse, R-Willmar, said Kubly was always ready with kind words of support for legislators, including Republicans. "We're going to miss him."

The funeral is reportedly set for 11 a.m. Wednesday in Granite Falls.

Carolyn Lange writes for the West Central Tribune of Willmar, part of Forum Communications Co.