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Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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Judy Brede, Rochester's 'First Lady', dead at 79

Judy Brede, Rochester's 'First Lady', dead at 79

Judy Brede, the longtime “First Lady” of Rochester, died early Tuesday morning at Madonna Towers Nursing Home. She was 79.

A visitation is scheduled for Sunday, December 2 from 3-7 p.m. at Macken Funeral Home. A funeral for Brede, who had been suffering from dementia, will be held Monday, December 3 at Bethel Lutheran Church.

Judy Brede was born in 1939 to Herman and Vivian Nelson and grew up on a farm in the western Minnesota city of Revere. Following high school, she moved to Rochester to attend Methodist-Kahler School of Nursing. It was there that she met and fell in love with Ardell Brede, the future mayor of Rochester. Their first date was a movie at the Chateau Theatre.

During an interview earlier this year with KAAL-TV, the mayor recalled how his life changed after meeting Judy: "I came here from Austin, a couple years after Austin Junior College,” he said. “I planned to work here couple years, make some money and go back to college and become a Lutheran pastor. And then I met this cute student nurse and the whole story changed.”

Judy Brede spent more than two decades serving patients as a nurse at Methodist Hospital before retiring in 1994. She enjoyed reading, singing, crocheting and traveling, according to her obituary.

She is survived by her husband; two daughters, Leslie (Tim) Kennedy and Jennifer Brede; son, Scott Brede; and six grandchildren, Catie, Caroline, Vinny, Madison, Jordyn, and Lauren. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking memorials be made to the Ardell and Judy Brede University of Minnesota Marching Band Scholarship or to the National Kidney Foundation.

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