All are welcome to attend
Bob Goff touched the lives of many people with his keen humor, sage advice, and constant warmth. To honor Bob and his rich contributions to our lives and our community, please join us at a celebration of life reception at the Minnesota History Center on Monday, April 10, from 2:30-4:30 p.m. A brief program will begin at 3 p.m.
Memorials are preferred to the Minnesota Historical Society, Regions Hospital Foundation, or HealthPartners Hospice.
Please share your favorite memory or story about Bob at BobGoffStories@gmail.com, and view his full obituary to read the reminiscences of those closest to him.
Robert “Bob” Goff, age 80, died peacefully at his St. Paul home on March 29, 2017. Loved by his family as an aspiring but unconvincing curmudgeon and a devoted husband, father and grandfather, his humor and generous spirit will be missed.
The son of Lee and Frances Goff, Bob was born on September 21, 1936, and raised in Staples, Minnesota. As a boy he enjoyed boarding the train to traverse the prairies with his father, a conductor for the Northern Pacific Railroad. Bob earned a degree in social studies education from St. Cloud State University in 1958 and taught history for five years at Mounds View High School before pursuing a career in politics and government. His love for politics developed while attending Democratic Farmer Labor (DFL) events with his mother during his youth.
Bob spent his early political career as a field campaigner for various DFL congressional candidates. He also served in the administrations of Governors Rolvaag and Perpich. Following the 1966 elections, then-Minnesota Senator Nick Coleman asked Bob to form an advertising firm with him. Coleman and Goff Advertising opened in St. Paul that same year. Bob quickly transitioned to pitching stories to the media rather than buying ads, making him one of Minnesota’s first public relations practitioners (“a happy accident,” per Bob).
Over the next five decades, Bob was a leading PR strategist behind projects ranging from the Metrodome to Xcel Energy Center. He was a key figure in DFL politics and state government, a steadfast advisor to the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, and the funniest guy in every room he entered. He served as president of several companies that evolved into the present-day Goff Public, creating great office culture before “office culture” was a thing.
Bob took particular pleasure in acting as the “Santa Claus intermediary” for his grandkids and other children. He always told them that he went to high school with Santa and could leverage this special relationship in their favor. Another Christmas tradition included Bob announcing the destination for the next family summer vacation that included all of his seven children and their families, along with his nephew Steve Goff and his family. These trips were a perfect way for the next generation to stay connected, spend time in some of the greatest cities in North America, and learn more about historic sites.
The date of November 9, 2011, was officially proclaimed “Bob Goff Day” by the City of St. Paul Mayor’s Office to honor Bob’s significant impact in the community on the 45th anniversary of Goff Public. In 2012, Bob retired, but continued to provide advice to Goff Public, and helped celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2016. During retirement he doted on his grandkids and traveled extensively with his wife Phyllis, enjoying trips to Barcelona, Paris and Ireland, among other favorite spots in Europe. He also enjoyed monthly gatherings of the “Old Farts,” a group of Minnesota leaders who were longtime friends. Ever the special events dodger, Bob would occasionally appease Phyllis by agreeing to attend social events with her.
Perhaps one of the greatest gifts that Bob Goff possessed was his innate ability to be a great encourager to so many people; to serve as mentor to family, friends and co-workers; and to inspire others to realize their potential and follow their true passions.
Bob is survived by his wife Phyllis; children Cindy, Paul (Annette), Carolyn (Steve), Laura (Cliff), Bill (Marsha), Emily (Ricardo), and Matt (Caitlin); 12 adoring grandchildren; siblings Dick (Mary), Bill (Janis) and Sandy; and whole bunches of nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life reception will be held at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul on Monday, April 10, from 2:30-4:30 p.m., with a brief program at 3 p.m. Memorials are preferred to the Minnesota Historical Society, Regions Hospital Foundation, or HealthPartners Hospice.
Please share your favorite memory of Bob with the family at BobGoffStories@gmail.com.
By Nick Halter, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal
Bob Goff, founder of PR firm Goff Public and an influential figure in DFL politics, has died at the age of 80.
Goff advised several high-profile politicians, including the last three St. Paul mayors. He also was on staff for former Minnesota governors Karl Rolvaag and Rudy Perpich.
In 1966, along with former state Sen. Nick Coleman, Goff founded Goff Public, a public relations and government affairs firm based in St. Paul (though it started as an advertising agency).
Goff helped get legislative approval for the Xcel Energy Center and the Metrodome. Goff Public also has done work for Polaris Industries Inc. and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. Goff stepped down as president in 2004, but continued to be involved in the company until his retirement 2012.
Goff, who lived in Lowertown, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer a few weeks ago and died peacefully at his home on Wednesday, according to a statement from Goff Public. He is survived by his wife, Phyllis, and seven children. Funeral arrangements are pending.