Longtime East Grand Forks, MN businesswoman, Barbara Ann Hangsleben died Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at the age of 83 from COVID-19 complications.
Barbara was active in politics, civic and business affairs for many years. A former “Red River Valley Potato Queen”, Barbara was an elected “Alderman-At-Large” for the City of East Grand Forks, MN from 1968-1972. In 1986, she began her career in Real Estate, receiving numerous awards and served for over 30 years on the Minnesota State and Polk County Planning and Zoning Committees. She retired from Oxford Realty in June 2020.
After Barbara graduated from East Grand Forks Central High, she pursued a career in banking at First National Bank of East Grand Forks, MN. In 1954, she received the highest award in 4-H: the “National Key Award”. She built customer relations for First National Bank and Northland Chemical by developing and teaching fertilizer programs to 4-H’ers competing for the Minnesota State Fair. In 1955, she married Ralph “Swede” Hangsleben and together they had 3 children.
Starting in 1959, she chaired the “Greater Chamber of Commerce Legislative Affairs and Agricultural Committee” and developed programs to help advancement of women in agriculture and home economics. In addition, she established a banking course called “Political Politics” sponsored by the Chamber. In 1961 was crowned the Red River Valley Potato Queen and promoted the potato industry through cooking.
From 1962 -1965, Barbara chaired the 5th District Commission of Republicans. During that time, she also served as an officer of the United Lutheran Shalom Commission. She was recognized as an Outstanding Woman in America in 1966. In 1968 – 1972 she was elected Alderman At -Large for the City of East Grand Forks before moving to a rural 4th generation family farm. Following the 1972 flood, she volunteered to be Chairman of the “Flood Control Center”, finding volunteers and donations to those in need. She served 6 years as the American Legion Auxiliary President for Post # 157.
From 1972 – 1985, Barbara achieved many “Top Sales” awards in the steel building business. In 1986, she began her career in Real Estate and worked with many great real estate firms, including Greenberg Realty, Belmont Realty and Oxford Realty, from which she retired in June 2020.
There were many organizations that Barbara devoted her time and talents to, including the North Dakota Museum of Art, Fighting Sioux Boosters Club, Grand Forks Symphony, Grand Forks Quota Club, Valley Elder Care and Altru Hospital, East Grand Forks “Heritage Days”, and “Catfish Days”. Barbara had a big heart, loved working with people and was known for helping those less fortunate on a daily basis. She could be seen carrying a mish mash bag of papers while making phone calls to customers, clients, bankers, helping hand agencies, visiting shut-ins in nursing homes while providing a ride to doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, etc. for all those less fortunate. She did all that because, in her own words, “That is the right thing to do”.
She is survived by her daughters, Stacy Hangsleben (Jerry Bailey) of Fisher, MN and Dawn (Kurt) Farris of Bennington, NE and grandchildren, David Farris and Alexis Farris and a brother, Donald (Theresa) Enright of Glenwood, MD.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Ralph “Swede” Hangsleben; a son, Jay Ralph Hangsleben; a sister, Mary Patricia Enright and her parents, James and Anna Enright;
Funeral Service: 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 25, 2021 in United Lutheran Church, Grand Forks, ND.
Visitation: 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Monday with a 7:00 p.m. prayer service in the Historic Norman Funeral Home Chapel. Visitation will continue for one hour prior to the service in the church on Tuesday.
Burial: Calvary North Cemetery, Grand Forks, ND.
The online memorial registry may be signed at www.normanfuneral.com
(The Historic Norman Funeral Home, Grand Forks, ND)