“He was one of the finest men you’ve known, one of the most decent people I’ve ever dealt with, and one of the toughest, smartest men I've ever worked with,” Biden said.  

Mondale died last year at age 93 following a career in which he also served as Minnesota attorney general, U.S. Senator, and ambassador.

In 1984 he was the Democratic candidate for president, but lost in a landslide as Ronald Reagan won a second term. 

Biden credited Mondale with creating the model for the modern vice presidency, and recounted how he consulted with Mondale when Barack Obama asked him to consider being his running mate.

Several speakers at the memorial noted that Mondale made history when he became the first presidential nominee of either party to select a woman, Geraldine Ferraro, as his running mate.

Along with Biden, a host of DFL politicians spoke at the service, including Gov. Tim Walz, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Tina Smith.

Klobuchar called Mondale a mentor and noted that her first job in Washington was as an intern in his office. The second, she noted, is the job she has now.

Mondale’s own mentor was Minnesota Sen. Hubert Humphrey, who also served as vice president and was the Democratic nominee in 1968.