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Walter Langland

| Winter 2023-24 Inspire(d)

Probituary - A Notice of Life!

Walter Langland was Interviewed by family friend Heidi Ludeking

Walter Langland served in both WWII and the Korean War. Interviewer Heidi Ludeking had the privilege of spending time with Walt in 2016 when she chaperoned him and her father on an Honor Flight for Veterans to the monuments in Washington DC. During World War II, Walt worked in Italy typing up transfer orders for people and objects from one base to another and to get servicemen back home. He worked stateside during the Korean War, processing mail.

It was on that trip that Heidi learned of Walt’s contributions of service not only to his country through his time in the Army, but also to his community when he returned. 

His 40 consecutive years of elected office included the Iowa Legislature, the first Decorah Community School District board following its reorganization, Farm Bureau, the Board of Supervisors, and the Hospital Board. Alongside these posts, he also served as superintendent of Sunday School at Highland Lutheran Church and sang in a Barbershop Quartet, enjoying the close harmony of the group. He grew up on the home farm just outside Spring Grove, Minnesota, where his son, Steve, still farms. Walter and his family were stewards of their land, receiving the State of Iowa Soil Conservation award for six miles of terracing on the farm, and their strip and contour practices in 1978. In 2027, it will become a Heritage Farm, being held by the Langland family for 150 years.

Walt was born on the farm in 1927, the youngest of nine children, and was actively helping on the farm until he turned 94. Walter married his high school sweetheart, Adeline Lovsteun, in 1950. This year, Walt celebrated his 96th birthday and they celebrated 73 years of marriage. 

What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?

My mom always said not to smoke and to respect others. That matches a life philosophy I later read, “What maintains one vice would bring up two children.”

What’s your advice to others?

Walter Langland

Be friendly but be cautious about who you are real friends with. Choose friends that enjoy your lifestyle.

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

I wanted to be a civil engineer. After I graduated from Luther College with a degree in math, science and physical education, I was going to go to Iowa State University to study engineering, but I joined my brother on the farm instead. I spent my first few years teaching and working on the farm until it became too much, and I left teaching. 

Try to describe yourself in one sentence. 

I enjoy seeing people and talking to them.

If you could eat one thing every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? 

I enjoy my time at Mabe’s, Family Table, and Culvers, as a way to get out and see people and enjoy time with friends. I usually see someone I know or recognize. 

Walter has had Guardian Angels protecting him though life. He shares more about his experiences here:

My first Guardian Angel ensured I returned safely from service in Italy. I wanted to fly back to the US but was denied and had to type up my own orders to return home by ship, a six-day trip I had encountered before and did not want to repeat. The plane I would have taken home never arrived stateside, crashing in the Alps on its way to Germany. 

The second was on my honeymoon with Addie to Niagara Falls. We were out in a boat and the motor was not latched properly and fell into the water. I could have fallen in or tipped the boat trying to grab it in the middle of the lake. We were not swimmers, and that Guardian Angel was keeping us in the boat.

My third time was on the farm when the silo loader malfunctioned. My yells were heard by a contractor on the farm to turn off the loader just in time. 

 What advice would you give to a teenager who is making decisions about studying and college?

Pick a career that you could continue to use in some way for the rest of your life. Even after you are married and raise a family.