August 14, 1962: Duluth Mayor E. Clifford Mork dies in office

On this day in Duluth in 1962, Duluth Mayor E. Clifford Mork, 57, died suddenly at his home at 2:30 a.m. Newspapers reports gave no cause for Mork’s death, and his personal physician only said that the mayor had no history of heart ailments. The mayor was a Duluth native, a 1922 graduate of Duluth’s Central High School, where he was a high jumper on the track team. Elected in 1959, Mork had planned to run for re-election. Born Emil Clifford Mork in Duluth, the mayor was a small businessman before entering politics. He and his wife operated Mork Food Supply at 605 West First Street. Before his term as mayor, Mork served on the Duluth Board of Education for eight years. As mayor, the democrat spearheaded the Gateway Renewal Program which, ironically, caused the demolition of the Mork Food Supply building. Mayor Mork also appointed a committee that eventually developed the Arena Auditorium, which has evolved since into the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center (DECC). Upon hearing of Mork’s death, Senator Hubert Humphrey expresses that he was “shocked and saddened” by the politician’s passing. Congressman John A. Blatnik served as one of Mork’s pallbearers. Learn more about other Duluth mayors here.

Duluth Mayor E. Clifford Mork. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

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