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Duluth civic leader Manley Goldfine dies at age 80

Manley "Monnie" Goldfine, for decades one of Duluth's most innovative and respected community leaders, passed away from heart-related issues Wednesday evening in his winter home in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 80.

Mr. Goldfine, who had open-heart surgery nearly 10 years ago and had a pacemaker implanted, had exercised rigorously since then and had remained very active in business and family activities until only recently.

"Duluth has lost one of its true giants with the passing of Mr. Goldfine," said Mayor Don Ness. "I, like thousands of others over the years, benefitted from his generous guidance and advice, which was always offered to help improve the city he loved. Few people in Duluth's history have had the vision, energy and determination that Mr. Goldfine had right until the end, and I know the entire community joins me in expressing our deepest condolences to his family."

Mr. Goldfine, a graduate of Duluth Central High School and the University of Minnesota, was the driving force behind numerous successful ventures in the Duluth area. Among them:

-Along with his brother and longtime business partner, the late Erwin Goldfine, Manley Goldfine grew Goldfine's Trading Post into a regional chain of six discount department stores, until selling them in 1971.

-He co-founded ZMC Hotels, which began with the Best Western Downtown and Edgewater motels in Duluth, and the Bridgeview Motel in Superior, expanded to 30 hotels in 12 states today, including the Inn on Lake Superior.

-He was president of the Duluth Arena Auditorium board of directors during its construction and grand opening.

-He was president of the Spirit Mountain Board during its construction and grand opening.

-He was president of the Manley Management Company, the Manley Investment Company and the Northern Drug Company.

-He led a successful lobbying effort to light the John A. Blatnik Interstate High Bridge.

-He was the operating partner of the Duluth Superior Vista Fleet.

-In 1970, he was instrumental in the creation of the Duluth Convention and Visitors Bureau, the official destination marketing organization now known as Visit Duluth.

-In 1967, he was elected to the Duluth Hall of Fame. He remains the youngest person ever elected to the Hall.

-UMD honored Mr. Goldfine and his brother, Erwin, with two major awards. In 1972, they were named the UMD School of Business and Economics "Business Persons of the Year," and in 1997 they received Lifetime Achievement recognition from the UMD Center for Economic Development at the Joel Labovitz Entrepreneurial Success Awards.

-He was active in leadership of Duluth's Jewish community, serving as the president of Temple Israel and as chairperson of the Twin Ports Jewish Federation.

-He also served on the boards of the College of St. Scholastica and the North Shore Bank of Commerce.

-Outside of Duluth, he owned the Chattanooga River Boat "Southern Belle" and several other companies.

-Mr. Goldfine also got much pleasure from his appointment as one of 10 Dreyer's Ice Cream Company's "Ice Cream Ambassadors," selected from among thousands of candidates.

Mr. Goldfine is survived by his wife, Lillian; his son, Andrew, of Duluth; his daughter, Ellen (Jeff) Troeltzsch of Oriental, North Carolina; his son, Kenneth (Auora) Goldfine, of Scottsdale, Ariz.; his sister, Sandra (Leon) Weiner of Houston, Texas; his sister-in-law, Beverly Goldfine; his aunt, Irene (Henry) Goldfine; three grandchildren (Benjamin, Max and Tovah), and many nieces and nephews.

"Our family was fortunate to share our wonderful dad with many, many people who loved him as we do, and we are appreciative of the many kind words people have shared at this difficult time," said Ellen Troeltzsch, his daughter. "As much as we'll always miss him, we know he has left many parts of the world a much better place than he found them."

Details about a memorial service will be determined in the near future.

Information taken from a news release.