Howard Lange, 89
Howard Lange of Blue Earth, MN, died suddenly (on the golf course!) on March 6, 2023 at Sun City in Georgetown, TX, where he had spent the last 26 winters.
Howard William Lange was born on June 11, 1933 to Elenora (Rath) and Bill Lange on the family’s homestead farm in Brush Creek Township, MN. He was baptized and confirmed at the North Blue Earth Lutheran Church in Brush Creek. He attended a one-room school until he was 10, at which time he transferred to Bricelyn Schools before graduating from Wells High School in 1951. After high school, he stayed on the farm to help run it with his dad since Elenora had died 7 years earlier.
Howie met JoAnn (Jody) Springer while roller skating at the Blue Earth roller rink in 1954. As Howie said many times, if you wanted to meet girls at that time, you had to know how to roller skate and dance! They dated until Jody went off to college later that year. From September 1956 to April 1958, Howard served in the Army, stationed in Fairbanks, AK. When his service ended, he and Jody reconnected while she was home on spring break and shortly afterwards were engaged. They married in August of 1958, settled in Blue Earth, and shared the rest of his life together.
He was the fourth generation to farm the Lange homestead and he eventually also took on Jody’s family farm and worked closely with Jody’s parents, Eldon and Rachel Springer of Huntley, MN. His roots in the soil of southern Minnesota were an essential part of Howie. He farmed the land surrounding Blue Earth all of his life, and while he retired from active farming in 1995, he always wanted to be back in the fields to help with planting and harvesting of the crops. He also served in various civic roles, including on the Blue Earth Township Board, the Blue Earth Farmer’s Elevator Board, and on committees at Trinity Lutheran Church, where he was a member since 1958.
Always one to enjoy a fun social situation, Howie had many friends and participated in numerous activites: bowling leagues, bridge clubs, annual fishing trips, all kinds of dancing, boating, snowmobiling, travel, and, of course, golf. He was a regular at the Thursday Men’s Night at Riverside Town & Country Club, where he was a member since 1959. He also enjoyed the Mavericks, the golf group he belonged to in Georgetown’s Sun City, and looked forward to returning to that group and other groups of friends each fall. Howie was always listening to the conversation around him and when he chose to join in, his comments were well thought out and were formed through many decades of personal experience. Anyone who spent time with Howie knew that he loved to laugh and he was always ready with a good joke or humorous story.
His family was especially important to him and his presence will be sorely missed. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather to two new baby boys. His generosity allowed for numerous trips as an extended family, including two family cruises; happy lifelong memories abound!
Howie will be remembered for his humor, hard work, honesty, and hugs. Left to cherish his memory are his wife Jody, daughters Joni (Jim) Olson, Kris (Phil Pesch) Lange, Jeni (Bill) Belvedere, grandchildren Jenna (Andy) Ahlschlager, Jacki (Hunter) Martineau, Jack (Megan) Belvedere, and Rachel Belvedere, and great grandchildren Arthur Ahlschlager and Axel Martineau. He is also survived by several nieces and a nephew.
When asked what he was thankful for during a recent family gathering, Howie said, “I’m thankful that I can keep driving . . . tractors, Buicks, and golf balls!” He was just 3 months shy of his 90th birthday and still driving all three.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister and brother-in-law, Evelyn and Richard Hovland.
A memorial service will be held on June 10, 2023 at 2:30pm at Trinity Lutheran Church in Blue Earth. A time for visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the church. Following the service, all are welcome to join the family for a reception and Celebration of Life at Riverside Town & Country Club from 4-6pm. A private family burial will be held at a later date. Memorials are preferred to Trinity Lutheran Church or Riverside Town and Country Club.