By Jennifer Kotila
HOWARD LAKE, MN Omar Glessing, former president of Security State Bank of Howard Lake, was known for being involved in, and a generous supporter of, Howard Lake, St. James Lutheran Church, and Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted schools.
Glessing, 94, passed away last Monday at Good Samaritan Society-Howard Lake, where he had been a resident since November 2001.
He served as the president of Security State Bank from 1964 to 1983, when he retired.
“He was a very pleasant person to work for, very easy-going,” recalls Linda Bakeberg, who was one of the last people Glessing hired before retiring from the bank.
Because Glessing enjoyed knowing what was going on in his business and throughout the community, he worked out of a glass-enclosed office at the bank.
Before becoming a banker, Glessing attended Cokato Normal Training and taught school at Grass Lake for three years.
He attended the Minnesota School of Business, and began his banking career as an assistant cashier at the Dassel State Bank.
Being involved in different banking associations, Glessing was president of the Wright County Bankers Association, treasurer of the Independent Bankers of Minnesota, and was a member of the agricultural committee of the Minnesota Bankers Association.
While at Security State Bank, Glessing was very active in the Howard Lake Business Association, helping to plan the Good Neighbor Days celebrations and other community events.
He also gave generously at benefits throughout the community, and sponsored many events.
“Omar was very involved in the community, both church- and school-wise,” said Bakeberg. “He was at every church dinner in town, and all the football and basketball games.”
Being an avid hunter, Glessing successfully harvested a trophy moose in Ontario, Canada in October of 1959.
Glessing had the moose head mounted and hung it in the bank. He also installed a speaker and a microphone so when children came into the bank, the moose would talk to them.
“And, every once in a while, the moose would just beller at the kids,” remembers Pastor Michael Nirva of St. James Lutheran Church.
“Omar was by far one of the most interesting characters in town, as well as being one of the most generous members of the community,” Nirva said.
After retirement, Glessing rented an office space in the corner of the Howard Lake Drug building, where he would continue to track stocks and bonds, listening to WCCO, and surrounded by his manual typewriter and manual adding machine.
Having an office near the drugstore, which was the center of activity, allowed Glessing to keep on eye on whatever was going on downtown.
Glessing married Verna Reiter June 7, 1941, and their marriage was blessed with one son, Rolland, who lives in Plymouth and is married to Jean.
Glessing has two grandchildren; Dr. Brooke Baggenstos, who is married to Dr. Peter Baggenstos; and Peter Glessing. They all live in Minneapolis.
“He was very dedicated to his grandchildren,” Rolland said of his father.
To give back to their community and be remembered, the Glessings started three scholarships for HLWW students.
Each scholarship is worth $1,000, and they are given to students who are furthering their education in fine arts, agriculture, or athletics.
A lifelong member of St. James Lutheran Church, Glessing was involved in nearly everything the church had to offer.
In his youth, Glessing participated on the church’s softball team.
“Omar was the star pitcher and I played third base,” remembers Welton Zander, a long-time friend of Glessing.
Throughout the years, Glessing also taught Bible school, sang in the church choir, and served as both president and treasurer at different times.
Glessing also enjoyed bowling, which he did left-handed; and fishing.
He often went north, hunting and fishing with good friend Floyd Munson, or he and Verna would go rent a cabin with Zander and his wife, Harriet.
Glessing’s funeral service was last Thursday at St. James Lutheran Church.
He was buried at Howard Lake Cemetery.