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Howard Lake businesswoman was ahead of her time
Monday, Aug. 20, 2012

By Jennifer Kotila
Staff Writer

HOWARD LAKE, MN – Verna Amanda Glessing had a successful career in the banking business and generously supported Howard Lake, the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District, and local churches and civic organizations.

Glessing, age 94, of Howard Lake passed away Friday, Aug. 10, at her home.

“To whom much is given, much is expected,” said long-time friend and caregiver Mae Wannarka, quoting a Bible verse she thought both Glessing and her husband, Omar, who passed away last year, had fulfilled in their lives. “She was blessed in her work in banking, but gave generously of her ways and means.”

Glessing’s generosity and civic-mindedness stemmed from her faith. A member of St. James Lutheran Church in Howard Lake, Glessing lived a very Christian life, Wannarka said. She actively supported her church, as well as other churches in Howard Lake.

In her support of both church and youth, Glessing was the first secretary of the Walther League Youth Group, a Sunday school teacher, and a member of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League.

Civically, Glessing was a Howard Lake Lion, supported and volunteered at the Good Samaritan Society-Howard Lake, and was also a member of the auxiliary for the nursing home.

“She was very ecumenically and community-minded,” Wannarka added.

The Glessings started three $1,000 scholarships at HLWW, one each for fine arts, athletics, and agriculture, which reflected their interests, Wannarka noted.

At St. James Lutheran, Glessing was a member of the choir and loved singing, Wannarka said. She was also very supportive of the school music programs.

Glessing loved sporting events, Wannarka said, going to as many of HLWW’s events as possible. She and Omar also had season passes to Gopher football games and enjoyed watching the Minnesota Twins.

Glessing was a friend to all she came across. “It was hard to meet her and not feel like you were her friend,” Wannarka remarked. “She had a soft voice and her demeanor was very lovely.”

Being patient and understanding, Glessing was a very calming presence. Whenever Wannarka would get a little impatient while driving, Glessing would reach over and pat her hand and tell her to slow down, it would be alright.

“She was very calming, but fun-loving – funny,” Wannarka said. “She was a joy to be around.”

Glessing had unassuming, and a wonderful presence in her friends’ lives, Wannarka added. “There will be a very big hole for a while,” she added.

Up until the end, Glessing remained as active as possible. “She never gave up her zest for life – her love of living, and was always very faithful,” Wannarka said.

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