2013-03-21 / Front Page

Suburban couple chooses Strasburg for their quiet, peaceful retirement

By Terri Lang

The Ibarras are looking forward to retiring in the peaceful town of Strasburg. Left to right are Graham and his parents, John and Angie Ibarra. John will be doing some photography (film, not digital, he emphasizes) and will be assisted by Graham. The Ibarras are looking forward to retiring in the peaceful town of Strasburg. Left to right are Graham and his parents, John and Angie Ibarra. John will be doing some photography (film, not digital, he emphasizes) and will be assisted by Graham. John and Angie Ibarra wanted a quiet place to spend their retirement years. The Ibarras lived in Minnesota for about 50 years, and have spent the past 15 years in Vadnais Heights, a suburb of St. Paul, Minn. They were tired of the big city traffic and found Strasburg to be a nice place to retire.

Angie has ties to the Strasburg area as she was born at Krassna, a farming settlement that was located about 10 miles west of Strasburg. Her parents were the late Johanna and Ignatius Reinbold. Angie’s grandparents, who were early settlers of North Dakota, were Ignatius and Barbara (Wangler) Reinbold and Peter and Magdalena (Vetter) Zacher.

She grew up with three siblings and attended a one-room country school near Krassna. She wrote about her childhood and life on the prairie, along with a short history of the Germans from Russia who created the community of Krassna, in her book “Tales of a Community That Was.” In August of 2011, Angie introduced her book during a tour in several towns in North Dakota, including Linton and Strasburg. The book is available at the Emmons County Record and at www.ecrecord.com.

Angie’s family farmed until 1944 and then moved to Aberdeen, S.D., where Angie entered fifth grade. She completed her high school education atAberdeen Central High School in 1955 and attended the University of Minnesota. She graduated from Metropolitan State University with a degree in criminal justice and sociology. She is a former flight attendant, homemaker, substitute teacher and licensed private detective.

Angie also was an owner of her own private detective agency and employer of security guards. She later worked for ADP, an international company specializing in background checks, and retired from ADP in October of 2012.

John was born in St. Louis, Mo., in 1939, but spent much of his childhood in Mexico, where his father was a Lutheran missionary. John attended school in Torreon, Mexico, and graduated from high school in 1956. Following graduation, he returned to the United Sates and joined the U.S. Air Force. He was stationed in Korea and later transferred to Fortuna, N.D., where he worked in the electronics division of the Air Force’s radar station for three years.

After his discharge in 1962, John moved to Minneapolis, Minn., and began working at 3M as an electronic technician. In 1966, he worked on the equipment and installation for the NASA Apollo Mission. He did research work for 3M for over eight years and then took a leave of absence.

In the early 1970s, John began working with young people who had troubled lives in the inner city of St. Paul. A private individual funded a program to help those young adults, and John used his expertise to introduce them to technology.

“I used the sport of boxing (John was a boxer in the Air Force), as a way to attract these young people to the program,” John said.

John was also an expert in photography and used his skills to teach them how to rebuild cameras and build lighting equipment. He was involved with that program for over five years, and during that time, they produced motion picture films for industry and equipment safety training films for OSHA and other safety organizations.

He started his own photography business in Stillwater, Minn., and also worked at various electronic companies, retiring from those ventures in January of 2012.

John plans to continue his photography in Strasburg, capturing images of historical photographs, mostly of North Dakota sites. He did work for the Historical Society in Minnesota and had his pieces exhibited during the Stillwater 150th anniversary celebration.

He also plans to take time to enjoy some of his hobbies, including listening to music. He has a large collection of jazz and classical music on vinyl records. He is also a licensed bicycle racer under the U.S. Cycling/U.S. Olympic Committee and as the oldest competing cyclist in the state of Minnesota, he has acquired several medals.

Angie will be keeping busy with several of her hobbies that she did not have the time for in recent years.

“I am already involved in the Tri-County Tourism Alliance and will be active in that group,” Angie said.

Angie also plans to spend her time working on genealogy, as she has a great interest in that. It was over five years ago that the Ibarras signed up to do an ambassadorship promoting businesses and tourism in North Dakota. After attending several meetings with the German-Russian Heritage Foundation,Angela started getting involved in genealogy.

She decided to begin writing a book when she found that Dekalb University in Illinois, had a country school project. She may decide to do some additional writing in the near future at the request of her book publisher.

Emmons County Record Publisher Leah Burke has asked her to consider writing a column for the paper, and one of the columns she wrote in the past for a Minnesota newspaper will appear in the Record’s Easter edition.

“At my age though, if I do not want to do anything, then that is okay,” she said. “I want to catch up on things that I never had the time to do.”

Ethnic cooking will be one of those activities. Angie formerly wrote an historical food column in their local paper which would feature an historical event accompanied by a recipe.

The Ibarras will also be busy with home projects as they purchased the home that was previously Mary’s Corner Gifts in Strasburg, and plan to do some remodeling. Years ago, back in the 1940s and through part of the 1980s, that home was owned by the Kraft family who owned the Kraft General Store in Strasburg.

“After the Kraft family learned we purchased this home, they contacted us and told us about the history of it, and we have been in contact ever since,” Angie said

Angie recalls playing with one of the Kraft girls as her grandparents, Peter and Magdalena Zacher, lived across the street with their daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Ray Bichler. Ray was a former owner of the Blue Room, which was then known as the Matt-Ray Ballroom. The Bichlers later moved to Spokane, Wash.

Angie is looking forward to catching up with some of her relatives in the Strasburg area, and she and John are looking forward to a much more peaceful place where they can enjoy their retirement years, along with traveling to California, Minnesota, Mexico and other parts of the world.


The Ibarras have four grown children. Graham, who is 47, will be living with them in Strasburg and helping his dad with photography. Their son, Phillip, 45, is a supervisor for a plastics company in the St. Paul area and has two children, Kyle, 12, and Ryan, 10. Their 38-year old son, Peter, lives in California and works in the movie industry as an artist. The Ibarras’ second youngest son, John, Jr., died in an accident five years ago when he was 34 years old.

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