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Fargo couple killed in motorcycle accident remembered for service to church

The congregation at Fargo's Peace Lutheran Church mourns the loss of two of its most devoted members this week. Rob and Deb Baumbach spent much of their lives helping others in the parish and community.

The Baumbachs were killed Sunday evening when the motorcycle they were driving collided with a pickup at the junction of Cass County Highways 81 and 18, about 10 miles south of Fargo.

The couple, both 43, spent many Sunday mornings shuttling congregation members who were unable to drive to and from church.

The Rev. Dan Forsberg served at Peace Lutheran for the past seven years before moving to a Valley City, N.D., congregation in November. He knew the Baumbachs well and respected their dedication to the church and fellow parishioners.

"They were very active members, and they chipped in wherever they could," he said. "Both of them enjoyed life to the fullest."

Lynn Thorp became friends with the couple as a neighbor and member of their church. She recently moved out of her house and into an apartment with the help of Deb Baumbach, who often helped Thorp around the house, took her out to eat, and drove her to church and other errands.

But Baumbach wasn't just there to assist Thorp; she was there to be a friend, Thorp said.

"They didn't necessarily want to get credit for (what they did)," Thorp said. "They just did a lot of wonderful things."

Monte Scheel took turns with the Baumbachs to get parishioners to church.

"They went over and above the call of duty," Scheel said. "We're going to miss them terribly."

In addition to what they did in the community, the couple was also very devoted to each other, Forsberg said. Rob made breakfast in bed for Deb the morning of their deaths.

The Baumbachs were married for almost 22 years and had two sons, 21-year-old Jory and 18-year-old Nick, who is a senior at Fargo North High.

Rob's brother, Kevin Baumbach, said the family is doing as well as can be expected.

"It's not easy," he said.

Charges are pending against the driver of the pickup, who failed to stop at the intersection, and Kevin Baumbach said the family has mixed feelings about the accident.

"Personally, I have no hatred (toward the driver)," he said, "but if they weren't there, it wouldn't have happened either."