Barbara King, age 61, of Maple Plain, died Tuesday, March 4, 2008, at home, surrounded by love and family, after a courageous seven-month battle with cancer.
Born in Illinois to Ranald and Harriet Olson, Barb graduated from Iowa State University in 1968, with a degree in food science.
In 1967, Barb married Steven King, and they had two children, Erin and Adam.
Barb and Steve co-founded Landscape Structures in 1971, which eventually became a global commercial playground equipment company located in Delano. Barb’s role as president and Steve’s role as CEO was a testament to their commitment to each other and the business they created together. Their life-long passion for healthy living and their dynamic advocacy for enhancing the lives of children through play led to their personal and professional success.
Barb served on several boards of directors, including Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Landscape Architecture Foundation, National Association of Women Business Owners, and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Board of Trustees.
She was a lively and vibrant woman, who had an extraordinary zest for life and everything she did. Barb’s curiosity and enthusiastic love of learning and life were contagious. Anyone who had even the briefest interaction with her was profoundly affected.
Establishing and funding the Säjai Foundation in 2006, was one of Barb’s most rewarding achievements. This national non-profit organization’s primary goal is to work with park and recreational programs throughout the country to fight childhood obesity.
Barb and Steve loved spending time at their northern Wisconsin cabin and their home in Sanibel, Fla. Barb was an open and spiritual person who believed in the healing power of nature. She was a truly unique individual, and will leave an empty space in the world.
Although she has left this physical world, she will continue to inspire all those blessed enough to have known her. The lesson that Barb has left for all of us is to celebrate life and live it to the fullest.
Barb will be missed by those who called her wife, mom, nana, colleague, mentor or friend, and everyone lucky enough to have enjoyed her sense of humor, her lively spirit, her joy and irrepressible love of life. She is survived by her loving and supportive husband, Steve King; daughter Erin King; son-in-law Mark; son Adam King; daughter-in law Tara; cherished granddaughters, Isabelle and Charlotte; her father, Dr. Ranald Olson; sister LeeAnne Oimoen (Steve); mother-in-law Esther King; and numerous in-laws and nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the foundation Barb so passionately founded: The Säjai Foundation, Attn: Melissa Hanson, 6458 Vagabond Lane North, Maple Grove, MN 55311.