LaVonne Helen Lange, age 80, of Wood Lake, MN, died Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010, at Granite Falls Hospital.
She was born Oct. 28, 1930, the daughter of Henry and Frieda Herbeck in New Ulm. As a young girl, her family moved to a farm outside of Redwood Falls.
She graduated from the West Central School of Agriculture (presently University of Minnesota, Morris) in 1948.
LaVonne married Ervin Lange April 15, 1951, at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wood Lake. She was confirmed in the Lutheran faith, and was an active member of the church the remainder of her life. Three children were born to this marriage: Evelyn, Ted, and Tim.
While living in Wood Lake, LaVonne was a homemaker for much of her children’s youth, until the mid ‘60s, when they purchased a farm east of Wood Lake. She then returned to her farming roots, working in the fields, helping with harvest, and tending livestock.
In 1984, Ervin and LaVonne moved into town, where LaVonne worked as a school janitor at Wood Lake School for several years. Eventually, the couple served as janitors for St. John’s church.
After Ervin’s death in 1993, LaVonne was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer in her right arm. Ultimately, she retired to tend her yard and gardens, care for her mother, Frieda; and spend time with grandchildren.
She volunteered at the Echo site with the Meals on Wheels program, delivering meals, serving in the dining area, organizing party days, and working as assistant cook for a short while.
For many years, she served as project chairman of the St. John’s Women’s Society, planning and coordinating the Easter breakfast, harvest dinners, salad luncheons, and craft and bake sales; finally relinquishing the position in 2008.
An active participant in life, rather than a spectator, LaVonne organized destination day trips for women in the church, routinely attended area music concerts, enrolled in “senior college” classes at Southwest Minnesota State College, used the library as a source of reading material, and always had sewing and craft projects on the go. Her yard and flower gardens provided her with countless hours of work and joy, along with attending school events for her grandchildren.
The Sewing Club, a local group of women, provided entertainment and support for many years.
For 17 years, she battled cancer as it resurfaced repetitively somewhere in her body, only to be conquered for another day. In the spring of 2009, her health failed once again, with cancer developing in her bile duct area. Her unsinkable spirit, faith, and determination sustained her for almost two years.
LaVonne is survived by her children, Evelyn (Jim) Fowler of Winsted, Ted (Tamara) Lange of Chaska, and Tim Lange and companion Elena Padilla of Clarkfield; eight grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren: Shane (Heather) and children, Linnea, Joseph, and Eliza of Edina; Sarah Fowler of Hastings; Wade Fowler of Chevy Chase, MD; Melissa (Paul ) Olson and son, Roman, of St. Louis Park; Emma Fowler of Winsted; Erin (Jon) Denzer, daughter Mya and stepson Noah, of Benson; Samuel Lange of St. Louis Park; and Courtney Lange and companion Matthew Balland son TJ, of Granite Falls.
She also leaves behind a brother, Richard (Ursula) Herbeck of Canby; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.