Betty Lange of Redwood Falls was born on her family’s farm three miles east of Seaforth, and, like many others from her generation, Lange lived the life of a farm kid.
As the oldest of the family, Lange said there was always work to do, whether it was milking cows or helping with the cooking.
“We picked corn by hand,” said Lange, adding she was also responsible for mowing the lawn on the farm.
Lange’s family lived close to the river, which was a source of enjoyment for her, but it also brought tragedy to the family, as her brother drowned at a young age. One can tell, Lange still recalls that event with much sadness.
Starting her education in country school, Lange was able to continue her education at St. Anne’s High School in Wabasso. She graduated in 1951.
With school completed, Lange had developed a plan. So, she moved to Redwood Falls where she worked at Backer’s Variety Store.
“I worked the lunch counter,” said Lange, adding that meant often interacting with the local business leaders of the community.
Lange recalls one of the most popular items at the Second Street shop was the ice cream.
One of Lange’s local claims to fame was being a candidate for snow queen in Redwood Falls in 1953, which she said is a fond memory for her.
It was in 1954 when the next chapter of Lange’s life began. That was the year she married Ruben Lange. Lange said her husband was someone she knew of in the neighborhood.
After getting married, the Lange couple then moved to the Wanda area, and the life of a farm wife began for Lange.
“We lived on the farm near Wanda until 2000,” said Lange, adding they had a traditional farm raising crops like corn and soybeans.
Lange also served in the role as mother for their six children, four boys and two girls.
Unfortunately, tragedy again struck the family when one of Lange’s daughters died of cancer.
In her earlier years, Lange said she enjoyed traveling to see all of her children, grandchildren (there are 13 of them) and great-grandchildren. (Lange has nine.)
She added one of her great-granddaughters is getting married. Her children live in Florida and California, but she also has some closer to home, with one in Redwood Falls, one in Wabasso and another calling St. Francis home.
Lange said she is still able to see those who live closer to her quite a bit. Lange said she has done some traveling in her life, adding she has seen quite a bit of Europe and has been to Australia. The place Lange said she enjoyed most is Italy.
“The history there is astounding,” she said.
Lange has been part of the Redwood Falls community for 20 years, and said she got involved with the Redwood Area Senior Center when she and Ruben moved to town.
“A friend invited me,” said Lange, adding she really enjoys coming daily.
Lange said she appreciates the new senior center location in the Redwood Area Community Center, adding she likes coming to play cards.
“We have very good food,” she said, adding it comes from the Roadhouse in Wabasso.
Lange also serves as a volunteer leader for the Bone Builders program at the senior center. The Bone Builders program is one of the things Lange said she enjoys most, adding they meet at the RACC Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m.
“We use weights, doing a lot of slow motion resistance exercises,” said Lange, adding there are 15-plus people who are part of that group who participate on a regular basis.
Each session lasts about 45 minutes. Her volunteer activities in the community have also included calling Bingo at Sunwood nursing home.
“One of my friends was the activities director there, and so when we moved to town she invited me to join in,” said Lange.
Lange brought plenty of work experience with her when she came to town, as she was employed at the nursing home in Wabasso for 31 years, filling a variety of roles in the kitchen and working in the laundry area as well.
Lange also served as a Mary Kay consultant for a number of years, although she said she gave that up to take care of her mom. So she never got to the level of getting the coveted pink Cadillac but always enjoyed the chance to meet and talk with people.
Lange has also led the Rosary at her church for a number of years. Yet, most of her spare time is spent at the senior center.
“I like it here very much,” Lange said, adding every day she is available you can probably find her there.
Lange said the senior center offers a variety of opportunities for people who are part of the Redwood area and encouraged people to come and check it out for themselves.
“Just come and see if you like it,” she said.
Although the senior center is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the state’s stay at home order, when it does open again Lange invites everyone to come.
Meals are served daily through Lutheran Social Services. The meals are served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.
Learn more by calling (507) 644-6464, and look for future announcements about when the Redwood Area senior center opens its doors again.