It's a Family Thing
By Tim Brady, Photograph by Steve Niedorf
Photo: seated, left to right: KC Glaser, Jeanne Mooty, David Motty, Jane Glaser Mooty, John Mooty, Paige Mooty, Kai Gustafson, Kimara Glaser Gustafson, and Eric Gustafson. Standing, left to right: Stacy Glaser, Gina Rutter, Jonathan Glaser, Chip Glaser, Lindsay Payne, Brianna Mooty, Bruce Mooty, John Mooty, Will Mooty, Chuck Mooty, and Barbara Glaser
At last count, members of the Mooty/Glaser family have earned more than 30 degrees from the University of Minnesota stretching back four generations. But that only begins to tell the story of their rootedness in the University. Four members of the combined families have served as national presidents of the Alumni Association: Ken Glaser (B.S. ’42) and his son, Chip Glaser (B.S.B. ’75), as well as John Mooty (B.S.L. ’43, J.D. ’44) and his son Bruce (B.A. ’77, J.D. ’80). Jane Glaser Mooty (B.A. ’43) and another of John’s sons, Chuck Mooty (B.S.B. ’83, M.B.A. ’84), have served on the University of Minnesota Foundation board, with Chuck serving a term as president.
Stewardship is a way of the life for the Mooty/Glasers. The family’s contributions to the U have been so many, so varied, and from so many sources that it is hard to keep track without a scorecard and Venn diagrams. “The fact that our connection goes back four generations is a big part of why we’re actively involved with the University,” Chip explains. “I remember seeing my father [Ken Glaser] take an active role in the Alumni Association, and we always had season tickets to football and basketball, so the University made an impression on me when I was young and I passed that on my kids.”
Chip, from his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, and John, in Rio Verde, Arizona, have organized ongoing events to help fund aspects of athletics programs at the U—every fall, thousands of Gopher fans stream through one of the gates at TCF Bank Stadium that is named for the family. Chip currently serves on the Carlson School of Management Board of Overseers, and his five children—Keri (B.A. ’00), Lindsay (B.A. ’02), Jonathan (B.S. ’04), Stacy (B.A. ’07), and K.C. (B.S.B. ’07), are alumni; attorneys John and Bruce have been instrumental in raising funds for the Law School capital campaign; the Glasers have provided similar support to the Carlson School; and together the Mooty/Glaser families, from all generations, have given generous financial contributions to the University, as well as helped in its fundraising activities for scholarships and programs too numerous to name.
In honor of their lasting commitment and generosity, the family will serve as grand marshals of the Homecoming parade on October 17. “We’re very honored and humbled to be asked to do this,” says Chip, whose son K.C. was Homecoming king in 2004 and is currently pursuing his M.B.A. at the Carlson School. “We clearly think that the University of Minnesota has done significantly more for our family than we have done for the University, so to be able to be a part of Homecoming is really cool. We’re going to have as many family members in the parade as we can.”
Though the Mooty/Glaser association with the University goes way back, its beginning is easy to pinpoint. Dr. Harry Nelson, a graduate of the School of Dentistry in the early part of the last century, was the first member of the extended family to earn a degree at the University. His daughters, Virginia Mae (“Ginny”) and Jane attended the U in the 1940’s, where they met and married, respectively, John Mooty and Ken Glaser.
Aside from being brothers-in-law, John and Ken were business associates. After graduating from the Law School in 1944, John practiced law in Minneapolis. At 92, every Friday he still goes into Gray Plant Mooty, the firm where he became a partner in 1954. The oldest law firm in Minnesota, it also has the distinction of employing four past presidents of the Alumni Association, including Bruce and John Mooty;Franklin Gray (B.A. ’25); and Bob Stein (B.A. ’60, J.D. ’61).
Ken Glaser was a Minneapolis business leader who owned the regional franchise for National Car Rental. In 1959, National was having financial trouble and higher-ups in the New York corporate office asked him for help. He agreed, calling on his brother-in-law Mooty for assistance, and together they were successful in reinvigorating the business. The two joined forces again about 10 years later to breathe life into the International Dairy Queen chain. Their successful efforts led to the sale of Dairy Queen to Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway group.
Back on the home front, John and Ginny Mooty had three boys: David (J.D. ’78), Chuck, and Bruce. Ken and Jane Glaser had a boy and a girl: Ken “Chip,” and Barbara (B.A. ’73, M.A. ’75). Tragically, both Ginny and Ken died young, Ginny in 1964 and Ken in 1970. In 1972, former in-laws John Mooty and Jane Glaser married, tightening further an already tight clan—first cousins became stepsiblings, and an aunt and an uncle became a stepmom and stepdad.
Ginny Nelson Mooty (in white scarf) cheers on the Gophers in 1960. She was married to John Mooty until her death in 1964. Her sister Jane Nelson Glaser married John in 1972, two years after the death of her husband Ken Glaser
John was the first member of his side of the family to graduate from the University. He grew up in tiny Adrian, Minnesota, the son of a banker whose business closed when the market crashed in 1929. The Mootys didn’t have much, but John and his brother Melvin (B.S.L. ’50, J.D. ’51) worked paper routes to earn cash. John learned a lesson about the value of money during the Depression: Sent to the store with a dime to buy meat for the family’s dinner, he lost the dime—and the family went without food for the day. He says he has never forgotten the lesson.
First in his class in 1944 and editor of the Law School’s Minnesota Law Review, John has a clear recollection of when his devotion to the University began.
One Saturday afternoon in October 1934, the Mooty family found itself glued to the kitchen radio, listening to Bernie Bierman’s Gophers. The University of Minnesota was challenging for its first national championship that year and playing the best team from the east, the University of Pittsburgh. Everyone in the country was listening to the game, and the Gophers were down 7–0 at halftime. They quickly came back to tie the score in the second half, but with just five minutes left, a Gopher drive stalled on the Pittsburgh 24 yard line. On fourth-and-two, quarterback Glenn Seidel (B.M.E. ’36) took the snap from center, pitched the ball to halfback Francis “Pug” Lund, who passed to end Bob Tenner (M.D. ’37). Touchdown Gophers! They were on their way to their first national championship. “Boy, we were excited,” John recalls. “Long before we got to the University, we were totally committed to the Gopher football team.”
John’s son Bruce has been a partner at Gray Plant Mooty since the 1980s. Like his father, Bruce’s earliest memories of the University also revolve around athletics. Longtime baseball coach Dick Siebert was a neighbor of the Mooty family in Minneapolis. Bruce remembers Siebert bringing broken bats home from Gopher practices and putting them on the side of his house. “We’d take them and put nails in the breaks, and then wind tape around the handles. It added a few ounces to the bats but we loved to play baseball and they got a lot of use,” he says.
Bruce and Chip fondly remember attending Gopher football games as an extended family because both sets of grandparents had season tickets. “My grandmother would pack roast beef sandwiches and hot chocolate and we’d sit way up in the nosebleed section and watch the game,” Bruce recalls.
Chip, whose parents’ seats were on the 50-yard line under the press box, annually renews his eight Gopher season tickets, four for football and four for basketball, because he loves carrying on the tradition of going to games as a family. He often finds, though, that he has more takers than tickets. “It’s a battle royal for tickets because I’ve got five kids and they have kids and they all enjoy going to games. It’s really fun to see their continued passion for the University.”
Chip’s children also possess the exact bench, with the row and seat numbers emblazoned on it, that the family sat on way back then because Chip purchased it when Memorial Stadium was torn down.
While details of this year’s Homecoming parade and festivities are still being worked out, including just how many family members will be participating, it is certain that there will be enough Mooty/Glasers to fill a float. “They had originally talked about using cars, but I think the latest thinking is that we’ll need some sort of big flatbed truck to hold everyone,” Bruce says, adding that for him, the honor of being grand marshal is about the service that his parents have given to the University. “The University of Minnesota has made a wonderful choice by honoring my parents.”
When Faribault Woolen Mill shut its doors in 2009, its future was bleak, particularly after its historic plant on the Cannon River flooded a year later. For five generations—150 years—the mill had provided woolen products to the state and nation. Skilled craftspeople from Faribault, 50 miles south of the Twin Cities, had worked the plant through the highs and lows of an industry that had dropped from 800 mills nationwide in the 1880s to 80 by 1920. Through the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s, the Faribault Woolen Mill produced half the wool blankets in the United States. The trouble was, woolen blankets were just not as popular as they once were. When the mill’s doors shut, it looked as if they’d shut for good.
John Mooty on the floor of the Faribault Woolen Mill - Photo by Steve Neidorf
But in 2011, cousins Paul and Chuck Mooty partnered together to resurrect the brand and the mill. After long and successful business careers, each was looking for new challenges, and the prospect of getting involved in an interesting and historically important Minnesota venture was too tempting to pass up. With financing from other members of the family, the Faribault Woolen Mill is once again up and running, with Chuck’s 25-year-old son John (M.B.A. ’14) as its creative director.
John had no prior ties to the business, or even to Faribault, but he does have a love for great Minnesota companies and an interest in figuring out how to do justice to a business that has such significance for the area and the state. John’s pride in the mill is obvious as he gives a tour that begins on the lowest level, where laundry carts filled with lumpy, white-gray wool are brought in from a loading dock and dropped into dyeing vats. As the dyed wool wends its way up from floor to floor through the inner chambers of the mill it is dried, combed out, and wound into giant, colorful skeins. Individual skeins are woven together in brilliant patterns and transformed into beautiful blankets, throws, scarves, and hats. Shipped all over the country, products from the new Faribault Woolen Mill have been lauded by the likes of Martha Stewart, GQ, CBS, and NBC.
A whole host of products lines shelves and tables in the mill’s on-site shop. And, not surprisingly, the first blanket that catches the eye is maroon and gold and proudly highlights the U of M logo. Though his M.B.A. could have taken him in a lot of different directions, John says reviving the mill has so far been “a great adventure.” In fact, he says, “it feels like working for a 150-year-old start-up.” —T.B.