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Former Minn. Rep. Arlan Stangeland dies

Arlan Stangeland, who served as Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District representative from 1977 to 1990, died here Tuesday. He was 83.

Stangeland died at Essentia Health St. Mary’s hospital after a sudden illness, said Duane Morey, director of Dobmeier Funeral Home in Barnesville, which is in charge of arrangements.

Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said that despite being political rivals, the two maintained a friendship over the years. Peterson unseated Stangeland, a Republican, in 1990 after Strangeland had served 13 years in Congress.

“I just saw him a couple of months ago. He looked great,” Peterson said, adding that Stangeland did a good job when he served the 7th District.

“I didn’t always agree with his political positions, but he worked hard and I think represented the district well on the agriculture committee,” Peterson said.

Stuart Stangeland, the former congressman’s youngest son, said his father was someone who made friends easily.

“The greatest thing about him was his love of people. There was never a stranger he couldn’t talk to,” Stuart Stangeland said.

He added that after leaving Congress, his father made his home near Lake Lizzie in Minnesota lakes country.

“His love — in addition to people and farming — was fishing. He just loved the outdoors, and he loved the lakes,” said Stuart Stangeland, who has four brothers and two sisters.

During his retirement years, Arlan Stangeland became part of a group of gentlemen who met once a week to have coffee and share stories.

They called themselves the ROMEOs, short for Retired Old Men Eating Out.

Lyle Severson, one of the founding members of the group, remembered Stangeland on Wednesday as having an easygoing manner and a good sense of humor. Stangeland was also very conservative, according to Severson.

“Of course, I’m conservative,” Severson said. “When you have that in common, things do go better.”

Stangeland was born Feb. 8, 1930, in Fargo. He graduated in 1948 from Moorhead High School.

He then farmed near Barnesville, where one of his sons still operates the family farm.

Stangeland served on the Barnesville School Board from 1976 to 1977, and he was a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1966 to 1975.

In 1990, while Stangeland was in Congress, it was reported that he made several hundred long-distance calls using his House credit card to call the residence of a female lobbyist.

The political controversy that ensued was seen as a major factor in his election defeat that same year.

Article written by Dave Olson of the Forum News Service