Faribault Banker Lived Life of Philanthropy
Richard J. Carlander, 84, was laid to rest today following a Celebration of Life Service at Peace Lutheran Church in Faribault. Much like the man being recognized it was a humble service.
I have a notion it was the kind of service he would have wanted. Simple and dignified.
I met Richard (I always called him Dick and he never corrected me) not long after I moved to Faribault in the late 1980's. He knew Jack Hyde was selling KDHL and it's FM radio station and asked me into his office one day.
"Gordy," he said, "Have you considered buying the station?"
I had no such notion. The sale was going to be well over a million dollars and for a guy making less than $30,000 at the time the thought of paying that back just did not seem possible.
Richard told me he would help me work out the details of the purchase because he wanted the stations to remain local. He said, "You can do it."
Dummy me. I should have listened to the man who was wise beyond his years and more generous than any person I have ever known.
I went to many events where he was in attendance over the years and he genuinely did not like a lot of attention. Before failing health he would often eat at Bashers when I was there and more than a few times he picked up my meal cost.
Most of the following information has been provided by the family of Richard J. Carlander.
The long-time President of the State Bank of Faribault was born in St. Paul, Mn. on March 24, 1937, to John and Lucille (Swoffer) Carlander. The family moved to Faribault in 1938 to a residence on 8th Avenue across from the old Faribault Golf and Country Club.
He developed a love for the game of golf and became very good at it. Richard earned 6 golf letters at Faribault High School.
He graduated in 1955, won the Club Champion title at Faribault Golf and Country Club in 1957.
At 16, Richard began his career at the State Bank under the leadership of his father, John Carlander. He began as a part-time bookkeeper in 1953. After high school graduation Richard went to the University of Minnesota. He returned home to begin his full-time career at the State Bank in 1959.
"On a summer day in 1962, a lovely woman by the name of Lorraine Zielske waltzed into the bank to chat with her cousin's wife, Arlene, who worked as a teller. Rumor has it, Richard inquired as to whom this captivating woman was and promised Arlene a steak dinner if she could get a date lined up with Ms. Lorraine."
"Arlene got the steak dinner, Richard got the girl and the rest is history."
They were married on November 2, 1963, at Peace Lutheran Church in Faribault. Welcomed their first child John the following year, daughter Kimberly in 1966, and Matthew in 1974.
Richard was elected President of the State Bank of Faribault in 1968. He was quoted many times saying, "There is no substitute for experience." For the next 35 years he remained President and was elected Chairman of the Board in 2003.
He was treasurer of the Minnesota Bankers Association for two years and was honored in 2009 with the Legacy of Community Banking Award for 50 years of banking services.
Richard gave not only financially to many organizations but also donated his time serving on a variety of boards, organizations and committees. Here is a partial listing:
- Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce
- Faribault Area Senior Center
- Paradise Center for the Arts
- Friends of Buckham Memorial Library, Inc.
- River Bend Nature Center
- Falcon Scholarship Fund
- Rice County Historical Society
- United Way of Faribault
- South Central College Scholarships
- Faribault Foundation
- Faribault Lutheran School
- Cannon Valley Lutheran High School
- The Hannah Lips Foundation
- Ruth's House
As I noted earlier Richard was a genuinely humble man who did not seek adoration or praise but he was very "thrilled to be inducted into the Faribault Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 by Faribault Sports Inc." In 2009 he was the recipient of the Book of Golden Deeds Award. Faribault High School Distinguished Alumni "High Flyers" Award in 2017 given the name "Godfather of charitable giving."
Other awards came from the Faribault Jaycees, Boys Scouts, Girl Scouts, Big Brothers Big Sisters, United Way of Faribault, Sertoma Service to Mankind Award in 2002.
During the sesquicentennial for Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Mn. Lorraine and Richard Carlander were among 150 recipients (individuals or couples) of special Sesquicentennial Awards for Support and Advancing the Mission of Gustavus, Advancing the Status of the College or bringing Dignity and Honor to the college.
This is just the tip of the generosity Richard J. Carlander showed over the years. I know he donated to virtually every church in Faribault at one time or another.
A Christian man who lived a life of service to his God by helping others. Richard would often tell me how blessed we are to live in Faribault. He truly meant that.
I have missed seeing him around in the community and again was too busy in my mind to visit when I learned of his failing health. Shame on me. His lesson to us was your time is as valuable to give as your money.
I hope someday I will see him in Heaven where I'm certain when he arrived on June 26, 2021 he heard the words found in the Holy Bible concerning the Jesus parable about the man who entrusts various sums of money to his servants before going on a trip. When he returns he asks them to give an accounting of what they did with the money they had. In Matthew 25:23 Jesus says about the master message to the servant:
"His lord said unto him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy lord." 21st Century King James Version.
Richard Carlander said we are truly blessed to live in Faribault. I think he was right. I believe where you live is what you make it.
Keep scrolling to see some awesome pictures to ponder God's wonders.