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Published November 12, 2013, 08:28 PM

Barb Lander, longtime Grand Forks community fixture passed away Monday

Longtime Grand Forks resident Barb Lander, well-known for her community work and as a member of one of the city’s founding families, died Monday.

By: Christopher Bjorke , Grand Forks Herald

Longtime Grand Forks resident Barb Lander, well-known for her community work and as a member of one of the city’s founding families, died Monday.

“She was a force to be reckoned with,” said the Rev. James Shannon, rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where Lander had been a deacon. “But she was a loving force, an encourager of the faith.”

Lander was 83 and had been living with her daughter in Oregon, he said.

In addition to work with the church, she was involved with the Community Violence Intervention Center, the PEO women’s organization, and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, was a supporter of the North Dakota Museum of Art and a volunteer with Meals On Wheels and for Altru Health System, according to friends.

“Nobody ever had to ask them to get involved, because they have been from the start in almost every community activity that has come along for almost 40 years,” according to a 1989 profile of Lander and her husband, Ed.

Ed Lander, who died in 1989, was the grandson of E.J. Lander, who came to Grand Forks in 1881 and ran the E.J. Lander & Co. real estate and farm holdings.

“They were an outstanding couple and two of the leading people in the community,” said Herald columnist Marilyn Hagerty, the Landers’ friend and the writer of the 1989 profile. “Barb was a busy gal.”

Neighbor Laura Jane Paulson, a friend of Lander since the 1950s, remembered her as one who was generous with her time and the center of her Cottonwood Street neighborhood. The two women shared a trip to Switzerland during the 1997 flood, she said, and Lander often shared her Hawaii condo with friends and offered it for Christmas vacations in charity auctions.

“She was game to do anything you had in mind,” Paulson said. “She had a great circle of friends and everyone liked her.”

Lander was also a speech therapist, a field she majored in at UND, and she was for a time owner of The Collage, a shop in downtown Grand Forks.

In the 1990s, Lander was a chairwoman of the Grand Forks PFLAG group and active in events promoting societal acceptance of homosexuality, an issue she came to support through a son who is gay.

Shannon got to know Lander over the last 10 years as the woman “who owned the kitchen at St. Paul’s” and someone who acted on her beliefs.

“She did it and got others involved with her,” he said. “We’re just overwhelmed by this.”

A memorial service is planned for Lander at 3 p.m. Nov. 16 at St. Paul’s Episcopal at 319 S. Fifth St.

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