Robert W. Lange, “Bob” age 75, of Hector, passed away Friday, June 13, 2014 at RC Hospital and Clinics in Olivia.
Funeral Service will be Wednesday, June 18, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Hector.
Visitation will be held Tuesday from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Hughes-Hantge Funeral Chapel in Hector, and will continue for one hour prior to the service at the Church on Wednesday.
Robert Warren Lange was born April 30, 1939, in Hector, Minnesota, the son of Theodore and Meriam Lange. He was baptized as an infant at the United Methodist Church in Hector, and confirmed there as a youth. Bob attended grade school and high school in Hector, and graduated in 1957. Bob joined the U.S. Navy on January 6, 1958, and attended Navy Boot Camp at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Illinois. After Boot Camp he returned to the Great Lakes for Machinist Mate Class “A” School. Bob graduated from that School as Honor man of a class of 89 men with a score of 96% on the final test and a 95% for the overall class! His score was the highest of all the classes at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center.
Bob was assigned to the USS Higbee, DDR 806 in Long Beach, California. The ship was a Destroyer and the first U.S. Warship to be named for a woman, Lena S. Higbee, the Superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps during WWI, the only woman to receive the Navy Cross while still alive. Bob spent the rest of his Navy time on the 806 in the Aft Engine Room, and was also on the Repair Five Team which was the Fire Fighting and Damage Repair team aboard ship. Later he was put in charge of that Engine Room and was extended for six months for the Vietnam emergency.
On May 1, 1965, Bob married Carol Ondrachek at the Presbyterian Church in Silver Lake, Minnesota. They made their home in Hector, and their marriage was blessed with their son, Jason.
When Bob came home from the Navy, he worked beside his dad, Ted, with the operation of Lange’s Machine Shop in Hector. Bob purchased the business in 1968, and Ted passed away from cancer on September 20, 1971. Ted started teaching Bob to weld when he was about five years old, a skill that was perfected through the years and grew to include machine works. Son Jason joined the business in 1991, and today Lange’s Machine Shop fulfills work orders from various places in the United States. In 2011, Lange’s Machine Shop was the first recipient of the Hector Business of the Year award.
Bob spent 34 years on the Hector Volunteer Fire Department, many of those years as 1st Assistant Fire Chief, and as Fire Chief in his last years of service. He also spent a number of terms on the City Council, and six years as Mayor of Hector, from 1995 to 2001. He was currently a member of the Hector Economic Development Authority Board. Bob was a lifetime member of the United Methodist Church in Hector, and never missed a year of working at the Chicken Pie Supper. He was a member of the Carl O. Potter American Legion Post 135 of Hector, and a life member of the VFW. Bob was a past member of the Hector Lions Club, and served as the Deputy District Governor for two years, serving as President and Secretary/Treasurer until he retired. Bob was actively involved with the Hector Community Spirit organization. His dedication to Hector and his love of history created his vision for a compiled listing of the Hector business community. Together with Jeff Heerdt, Roger Newman, and other historians, the Hector Businesses 1878 to 2013 publication was printed in 2013.
Bob was an avid reader with history his favorite subject, and has given talks to school classes, and adult gatherings on history and firearms. He taught Minnesota Youth Firearms Safety classes for 52 years. Bob also has been involved in a number of Hunting and Fishing Clubs and served as board member, secretary, and president of Twin Cities Muzzle Loading Gun Club. He was a life member of the National Rifle Association. He was a board member and Rendezvous Chief of the Rocky Mountain National Rendezvous Association, a member of the Montana Flathead FreeTrappers, and presently wrote and published its Newsletter. He was a member of the USS Higbee Association, and was currently their newsletter editor.
Bob was a member of the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion. Their annual event in Rollag was much anticipated and always enjoyed. He was active with the WMSTR and Stearns County Pioneer Club out of Albany.
One of Bob’s favorite hobbies was cooking. He had favorite recipe books, and also enjoyed trying new, healthy recipes. He cooked supper every night, and kept trying to duplicate his mom’s recipes for cherry nut rolls and baking powder biscuits. Bob had beautiful penmanship, and faithfully corresponded with his friends with hand-written letters.
After a recent diagnosis with cancer, Bob passed away at the Renville County Hospital on Friday, June 13, 2014, having reached the age of 75 years. Blessed be his memory.
Bob is survived by his Wife, Carol, of Hector; Son, Jason Lange, of Hector; Sister, Judi Lange, of Hector; other relatives, and many friends.
He was preceded in death by his Parents.