Family, friends gather to honor Eliot Glassheim
Eliot Glassheim received a standing ovation before the program held to honor his work even got underway Saturday in Grand Forks. A crowd squeezed into the main level of the North Dakota Museum of Arts for a ceremony recognizing the service of the...
Eliot Glassheim received a standing ovation before the program held to honor his work even got underway Saturday in Grand Forks.
A crowd squeezed into the main level of the North Dakota Museum of Arts for a ceremony recognizing the service of the well-known state legislator and former City Council member, who prefers the simple title of citizen.
The guest of honor sat in the center of the front row, accepting many hugs and handshakes before the ceremony began. A walker stood nearby as Glassheim, 77, suffered a health scare last month during the legislative session and has been resting in Grand Forks since.
“I spent considerable time in the hospital trying to figure out how to accept this wonderful honor,” Glassheim told the crowd. “I think what you’re honoring is - yes, me, that’s fine - but what you’re really honoring is values that many of us in the room all share and for which I’ve stood.”
He laughed and smiled along with the rest of the audience as praise flowed from speakers’ comments during the program.
“We’re a better community because of your service,” Mayor Mike Brown said. “We’re a better people because of your example.”
Brown proclaimed the day “Eliot Glassheim Day” and announced Third Street from the Kennedy Bridge to the Point Bridge will be honorarily known as Eliot Glassheim Way. Glassheim is known for championing the revitalization of downtown Grand Forks.
A plaque with a dedication written by former staff writer Chuck Haga will be placed along the street.
A a number of playful jabs were woven into the speeches, some from former colleagues such as Hal Gershman, who sat next to Glassheim for 14 years on the Grand Forks City Council and had to duck a few time as Glassheim’s gestures became more dramatic during debates.
They first met at a neighborhood picnic where Glassheim was dress in a cape as “Council Man,” and Gershman listed off Glassheim’s passions during his time as a council member.
“If there were issues affecting people’s health, housing, quality of life, and access to government programs no one was a stronger voice for people than Eliot,” Gershman said.
A number of jokes and accolades also came from his younger sister Joan Glassheim. She recalled a number of childhood moments, including Eliot working at their father’s hat shop in New York.
“But it’s a good thing for the state of North Dakota he did not choose to take over that business,” she said.