Doug Head, former state attorney general

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 4, 2011 - 11:39 PM

The Minneapolis native became a successful businessman, developing Calhoun Square.

Former Minnesota Attorney General Douglas Head

Photo: Dennis McGrath, Submitted photo

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Douglas M. Head, the last Republican to serve as Minnesota's attorney general and later a businessman who helped develop a signature Minneapolis retail property in Uptown, has died. Head, 80, died of natural causes Wednesday at his home in Minneapolis.

Head's time in public office began in the state House, serving two terms in the early 1960s. He then won election as attorney general, holding that office from 1967-71. In 1970, he ran for governor and lost to DFLer Wendell Anderson.

"On behalf of the Republican Party of Minnesota, I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Doug Head," state party Chairman Tony Sutton said in a statement. "Doug was a tremendous public servant who represented the best of what makes Minnesota great."

A polio survivor, Head served on the board of the Minnesota Society for Crippled Children and Adults, now the Courage Center in Golden Valley.

Head graduated from Minneapolis West High School in 1947 and was senior class president. He attended Yale University and then the University of Minnesota Law School, counting Vice President Walter Mondale among those in his study group.

After politics, Head formed a law firm with former Minnesota Solicitor General Jerome D. Truhn.

In 1983, Head, his wife, Martha, and business partner Ray Harris developed the Calhoun Square retail mall at the corner of Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue in Uptown.

"In lots of ways, he was the most interesting person I have known," said his wife, who met him while successfully interviewing for a job in the attorney general's office. "He had such a broad range of intelligence and interests and curiosity. And he always worked hard and saw things through to completion."

She said that the loss to Anderson for governor was tough for her husband to take but "he needed to focus on starting his law firm. He did stay active in politics, but it was in terms of advising the next generation of politicians like Dave Durenberger and Arne Carlson."

Along with his wife, Head is survived by daughters, M.E. Kirwan and Virginia Head; and sisters Sally Bosanko, Ruth Horner, Margaret Loeffler and Mary Clark. Burial will be private. A celebration of Head's life will be held at 4 p.m. Monday at the Woman's Club, 410 Oak Grove St., Minneapolis.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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