JOHN F. MINK / HUSBAND OF LATE CONGRESSWOMAN PATSY MINK
Politician’s ‘rock’ supported her throughout her career
John F. Mink, the husband of the late Hawaii congresswoman, Patsy T. Mink, died yesterday while visiting daughter Wendy Mink at Smith College in Northampton, Mass. He was 81.
Joan Manke, a family friend and former congressional office manager for the late congresswoman, said John Mink's sudden death came as a surprise.
"He has been on a trip to visit Wendy and had planned to stay for a couple of weeks," Manke said.
"It is a shock and so sudden, I guess my memory of John will be how he was always there for Patsy," Manke said.
Patsy Mink died a week after she won the Sept. 21 Democratic primary election in her re-election bid in 2002. At the time John Mink "reluctantly" decided to place his name on the ballot "so that Patsy's hard work for the people of the 2nd District (rural Oahu-neighbor islands) does not come to a premature and abrupt end on Nov. 30."
Rep. Ed Case won both that election and the special election to fill the new term.
Yesterday, Case called Mink "the rock on which his wife of 50 years, the late Congresswoman Patsy Mink, rested her legendary public career. All who knew them could not help but admire their incredible marriage and partnership in love and life."
Hawaii senior Sen. Daniel Inouye noted that Mink was a nationally recognized hydrologist.
"Just as the water he studied is essential to sustaining life, he was the water in Patsy's life that helped to give her the strength to serve as a champion for peace, equal opportunity, education and women's rights," Inouye said.
Mink was born in Pennsylvania and had studied at the University of Hawaii. He was an Air Force navigator during World War II, receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross and had been a consultant for the Honolulu Board of Water Supply.
Funeral services are pending.