Conrad Razidlo lived life to the fullest.
“I envied his ability to find so much joy in so many places. He left his fingerprints in so many different endeavors,” former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson said. “He was into everything and he brought joy everywhere he went.”
Known as Connie to friends, colleagues and advertising clients, Razidlo died April 13 of COVID-19. He was 85.
His legacy spans arts, business and politics.
He teamed up with Lee Lynch, of Carmichael Lynch, in 1965 to create Carlson’s successful ad campaign for Minneapolis City Council and again for his 1990 gubernatorial race.
“There is no way I could’ve become governor without him,” Carlson said. Razidlo served as Minnesota State Arts Board chairman and was the architect behind historic investments in state arts funding, Carlson said.
Mark Razidlo said his father worked in the glory days of advertising depicted in the TV show “Mad Men,” but Razidlo was more of a family man who loved enjoying lots of pasta and red wine with loved ones.
“He had a big personality and sense of humor. He waved his hands a lot when he talked, classic Italian,” he said. “Very outgoing and gregarious. Always busy, never taking anything for granted.”
Born Feb. 2, 1935, in St. Paul, Razidlo helped his widowed mother raise his younger siblings after his father died when Razidlo was 15. After graduating from what was then Cretin High, he went into the Army, then studied advertising at the University of Minnesota. He worked at Carmichael Lynch before starting his own firm. And in his late 30s, he earned a fine arts degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
“He was massively involved in the art world,” his son said. “He couldn’t sing or play an instrument, but he could paint.”
He lived in Edina until late January when he broke his pelvis, prompting physical therapy at a transitional care facility where he was diagnosed with COVID-19 in early April.
Family couldn’t visit him during the weeks of isolation.
“The best we could get is FaceTime,” his son said. “It’s tragic, but he lived to be 85 and had an incredible life.”
Survivors include his wife, Teresa Parker, sons Tony, of Austin, Minn., Mark, of Edina, daughter Constance, of Richfield, brothers Leo, Joe, Frank, all of New Prague, Minn., sister Maria, of St. Paul; four grandsons; and stepson Joshua, of Boston. His first wife, Mary Ann, preceded him in death.
A memorial service will be held at a future date when all can gather.