Waterfowl Hall of Fame honors four area men

Published 9:10 am Saturday, February 27, 2010

On Feb. 6, the Minnesota Waterfowl Association inducted 11 men into their newly created Hall of Fame, and four of the inductees have strong local connections.

The ceremony held at the Mall of America Ramada Inn, Bloomington, cited Ray Hangge, the late Robert Head, Richard Lindell and Tom Tubbs for their waterfowl conservation activities which started over four decades ago. They were also recognized for organizing a group of sportsmen in Albert Lea during February 1967 that has evolved into what’s now the state-wide Minnesota Waterfowl Association.

The original name they selected was the Southern Minnesota Waterfowl Lake Improvement Association. This was soon changed to the Southern Minnesota Waterfowl Association. By 1970, the campaign to improve waterfowl and wildlife habitat, clear up the waterways, prevent further drainage of wetlands and fight against ravages caused by carp began to gain the attention of other sportsmen, conservationists and the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). As a result, and with the help of lobbying, publicity and a newsletter, the Albert Lea organization soon expanded to include new chapters in Waseca, Owatonna, Faribault and other communities. And in time the organization grew even more and made a more realistic name change to the present Minnesota Waterfowl Association of Hopkins.

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Here’s more information about the four local inductees:

Ray Hangge

Hangge was the first president of what’s now the Minnesota Waterfowl Association in 1967. Hangge spearheaded the organization’s Save the Game Lakes initiative in the region.

As an Albert Lea businessman, he owned and operated the Dairy Queen, 504 S. Broadway Ave., from 1956 to 1986.

Hangge was a speaker at the Second International Waterfowl Symposium in St. Louis during 1973. He was also one of the Golden Fifty honored by the state’s DNR in 2001, an award for 50 years of working to save the region’s wetlands. Hangge was also a speaker at the First Duck Rally held on the grounds of the state capitol several years ago which was attended by more than 4,000 waterfowl hunters.

He’s now retired, yet through the years Hangge has had a strong interest in waterfowl hunting, plus his newer outdoor sports involvement, muskie fishing.

Robert ‘Bob’ Head

Head is considered to be one of the four founders of what’s now the Minnesota Waterfowl Association. Head was an enthusiastic pheasant and duck hunter and an active conservationist. His Hall of Fame citation says he developed a floating carp barrier used at the outlets of several area lakes.

Head was employed for about 40 years by the Rock Island Lumber Co. (Rilco) and Weyerhaeuser before retiring in 1983. He died in August 2004.

Richard ‘Dick’ Lindell

Lindell was an avid waterfowl hunter on Bear, Freeborn and Geneva Lakes during the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, and in Manitoba and Saskatchewan in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. Lindell was also a strong advocate for cleaning up the state’s lakes and was a strong promoter for the Lake Dedication Law passed by the state legislature. He is cited for helping to have the State Duck Stamp bill passed to provide funds for the management of lakes and wetlands.

An article in the Tribune’s May 8, 2007, edition featured “Dick’s Quack Shack” and his collection of about 200 mounted birds in his Albert Lea home.

Lindell is a retired postal worker.

Tom Tubbs

Tubbs is a past president of the Minnesota Waterfowl Association and former owner of Albert Lea’s Ben Franklin store in the Skyline Mall until about 1988.

His Hall of Fame citation specifically honors him for the invention of the Tom Tubbs Wood Duck Nesting Box which was sold by mail order from Albert Lea for about four years and later by a Robinsdale firm. All proceeds went to the Minnesota Waterfowl Association to help finance wildlife conservation and preservation projects. One of his boxes is now part of an exhibit at one of the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C.

Another of his concerns was for roadside ditches and their use as nesting habitats for birds. As a result of his concerns, the state has changed how it manages roadsides for wildlife habitat.

Tubbs has been a resident of Rosemount for the past year and a half.

The other inductees into the Minnesota Waterfowl Hall of Fame are the late James Ford Bell, the founder of General Mills Inc., who helped shape waterfowl history in Minnesota and Manitoba; Paul Englund of Minnetonka, a premier waterfowl caller and maker of duck and goose calls who is known as Dr. Quack; the late Les Kouba, famous wildlife artist; the late Art Hawkins who became known as an expert in waterfowl management; the late Don Helmeke, an advocate of helping physically challenged men and women to hunt and fish; Harvey Nelson of Bloomington, a strong advocate for waterfowl and wetlands; and the late Jimmy Robinson, an outdoor writer for Sports Afield and the old Minneapolis Star.