Former Rep. Stangeland Mourned in Minnesota

Posted July 9, 2013 at 5:37pm

More than 250 people attended funeral services for ex-Rep. Arlan Stangeland on Monday, bidding farewell to the Minnesota Republican who died July 2 at his home on Lake Lizzie in Detroit Lakes, Minn. He was 83.

The funeral, held in Barnesville, Minn., was held at the Dobmeier Funeral Home. Former GOP congressional candidate Jim Hagedorn spoke at the service, according to Dobmeier Funeral Director Duane Morey.

Stangeland, who represented Minnesota’s 7th District from 1977 to 1991, was first elected to Congress in a special election after then-Rep. Bob Bergland, a Democrat, left to become President Jimmy Carter’s Agriculture secretary.

Stangeland last served on both the Agriculture and on the Public Works and Transportation committees and was known for his work on the 1985 farm bill.

He also faced controversy during what would become his final term in Congress, when, in January 1990, reports surfaced that he made 341 calls to a former consultant and House employee, Eve Jarvis. Stangeland told The Associated Press the “bulk” of the calls were business calls but that “some of them may have been personal.”

A marginal district economically and politically, Stangeland won 58 percent of the vote in 1977 after Bergland, a Democrat, won 72 percent of the vote three months earlier. However, Stangeland would earn more than 53 percent of the vote only twice in following elections, and he was defeated by current Rep. Collin C. Peterson in 1990 after Peterson ran unsuccessfully against Stangeland in 1984 and in 1986. Peterson said Stangeland was someone who got along with everyone.

“He was a farmer, a product of the area,” Peterson said. “We didn’t always agree, but we got along. He was a conservative guy, but today he’d probably be considered a moderate.”

The son of Norwegian immigrants, Stangeland was born Feb. 8, 1930, in Fargo, N.D., and graduated from Minnesota’s Moorhead High School in 1948. A farmer, he began his political career in the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1967 before working on the Barnesville school board in 1976.

Stangeland is survived by his wife, Virginia, his seven children and his 10 grandchildren.