By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN Don’t expect to see Dick and Judy Langenfeld taking life too easy when Dick retires this January, because the couple is known for always lending a helping hand wherever needed.
The list of committees on which they have served, and the volunteering they have done for this community is a long one. It is also one of the reasons they were chosen by the Winsted Summer Festival committee to be this year’s grand marshals.
They will be honored in the festival’s grand parade Sunday, Aug. 8.
“If you live in a town, you should just try to make it a better place,” Dick Langenfeld said.
And that is just what the couple has been doing since Dick was transferred to Winsted in September 1977, to become plant manager for Mid-America Dairymen. Previously, he was an assistant manager at Mid-Am in Zumbrota.
At first, the move to Winsted was difficult for them, because their family and friends lived in Hastings, just 20 minutes from Zumbrota.
But it didn’t take long for them to start calling Winsted “home,” according to Dick, and to start getting involved in the community.
Dick was immediately busy at the Mid-America Dairymen plant, which also got him involved with the chamber of commerce, and he became an EMT ambulance volunteer.
At first, Judy stayed home to take care of their youngest son, Tim, who was three years old at the time. She was able to meet other community residents through volunteer work at Holy Trinity School where their two oldest children, Brian and Jenny, attended.
In December 1980, Judy became involved with the Winsted Area Chamber of Commerce when she purchased the flower shop in town on 1st Street N. with Helen Sheehan.
When Sheehan retired, Sue Artmann bought Sheehan’s half of the shop, and Judy and Artmann continued to run the successful flower shop together until 1995, when Judy sold her half to Artmann.
“Judy developed a good rapport with the community. She had a wonderful flower shop,” president of the Winsted Summer Festival Committee, Dale Maus said. “She is really talented.”
With her many talents, she is a valuable volunteer who has made significant contributions to the committees on which she has served.
Just some of her contributions include working with the design team committee to help develop the lakefront promenade and city hall, her time at Holy Trinity School, where she is especially involved with the Spring Fling Dinner Auction; and recently, helping the lake association plant city rain gardens along the lakefront promenade on a very hot, humid day.
Both she and Dick are members of the Winsted Lake Watershed Association.
And, she finds the time to help with Meals on Wheels during the winter months, when other volunteers are out of town.
But, Judy points out, she is never alone when she volunteers her time.
“There has never been any volunteering that we (Dick or I) have done by ourselves. We always have people beside us, working with us. There is no way we would have been able to pull off anything that we have been involved in without all of the other volunteers,” Judy said.
For the last 26 years, Dick has managed to balance volunteering with being a sales territory manager for Anderson Chemical of Litchfield.
His territory covers most of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, as far as Eau Claire and north.
“I wish I could have done more (volunteer work), but once I started traveling on the road, it was hard to volunteer or really become active . . You have to be around,” Dick said.
His volunteer efforts will be missed this year at the grand parade, where he has been helping Maus, for many years, line up the parade.
As grand marshal, he will have to do something that is not in his nature; just sit back and ride in the parade.
“I am not one to just sit in front of the TV,” Dick said. “It is in my blood to be involved.”
Throughout the years, Dick was on the city planning commission, and he was chairman of the finance committee for several years at Holy Trinity.
It was while Dick served on the Holy Trinity finance committee that the idea of the Winstock Country Music Festival was conceived.
“I think because he drives around a lot being a salesman he has a lot of time to think about different things,” Judy said.
Dick had learned of a man in Regal, MN who had a festival called Cornstalk, and told his good friend, Tom Ollig, they should consider having a country music festival to help Holy Trinity financially.
A trip to Regal that included Dick and Judy, Tom and his wife, LuAnn, and Winsted Police Chief Mike Henrich was the beginning of the now-famous country music festival, Winstock, which brings 15,000 country music fans to Winsted every year.
Dick and Judy are both on the Winstock committee, which has started to require the committee’s year-round attention, according to Judy.
“This year (Winstock 2010) pretty much maxed us out,” Dick said. “When we were all through on Saturday night, our parking lot was full, our VIP parking was full, and the event was full.”
To consider raising attendance over 15,000 people at Winstock would require some major changes to the entire setup, Dick said.
So, the plan for Winstock right now is to put on a good show, and if they reach the maximum of 15,000 people, the committee will just call it a sellout, according to Dick.
Ollig, president of the Winsted Chamber of Commerce, has served on numerous committees with the Langenfelds. He was pleased when he learned they would be this year’s grand marshals.
”Every community has certain individuals, who through their involvement, make the community better. Dick and Judy are such people,” Ollig said.
“They have involved themselves in countless civic and Holy Trinity events over the years.
“They are just good, honest people always willing to help an individual or an organization.
“The day the Langenfeld family decided to move to Winsted was a very good day for our community.”
Dick and Judy have three children:
• Brian, who lives in Winsted. He has one son, Riley, 1.
• Jennifer, who is married to Jeff Halberg. They live in Winona with their two sons Mitchell, 13, and Lance, 9.
• Tim, who is married to Amie. They live in Lester Prairie and have one daughter Alexis, 7.