Woman’s community involvement started with love of sports

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, February 28, 2023

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Margie Barber is the treasurer of the Albert Lea Pickleball Club, where she also serves on the board of directors. She is also involved with her church, does private tutoring and teaches classes at Riverland Community College.

Her involvement in the community started with her passion for sports.

“I grew up on a farm with four brothers, so I did what they did — played football or baseball or any sport there was,” she said.

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So when she saw pickleball was starting up in Albert Lea, she called a friend who was part of the pickleball group. He invited her to a meeting and asked her to join the board of directors.

“Now I teach pickleball, have been for several years,” she said.

She called it an addicting sport, and said it was a more fun way to get exercise than riding a stationary bike or walking on a treadmill. She plays at least four or five times per week.

Prior to joining the group, Barber had never heard of the game, but described the game as “wonderful.” And after playing a couple times, members asked her to serve.

“I think that’s because I had computer experience, and they wanted me to be able to do the minutes and put together things for the tournaments that we were having,” she said.

Her favorite aspect of the game was the people, and noted the satisfaction in helping others. She also teaches the game on Thursday evenings through Albert Lea Community Education classes.

In addition to her roles in pickleball, Barber serves as financial secretary at United Methodist in Northwood. Her work involves spreadsheets.

Prior to joining United Methodist in Northwood, she was superintendent of Sunday school and did sermons at United Methodist in Glenville when the pastor was gone.

“They give you a topic and you come up with a morning sermon,” she said.

She and her husband, Jack, are also responsible for decorating the pine tree outside of Glenville, which is decorated year-round. They do it in memory of her father, who died on Christmas Eve while she was a senior in high school.

“I had gotten all of mom’s decorations, so we put those decorations on the tree, and it stays up all year long,” she said. “In July every year, we take down the old decorations — which are pretty well-worn from the weather — and then we put up new decorations for the entire year.”

She admitted it was a lot of work, but called the work rewarding and said whenever a train, truck or car came by, they’d ring their horns in acknowledgment.

Barber used to be involved with Women of Today, which she described as a group of women doing what they could to better their community.

Barber worked for an attorney for 20 years before she ran her own business for another 20 years teaching computer classes, some at Riverland Community College.

She also did bookwork for her husband’s welding shop on top of her own.

“I had a lot on my plate,” she said.

She described her eagerness to get involved in so much as part of who she was, though she admitted being involved in so many organizations at once could spread a person thin, and said she needed time for her family.

“I’m a very reliable person, and I enjoy helping people,” she said.

Her best piece of advice is the age-old adage, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

“Just hold back and think about it, because you can’t take back nasty words to people,” she said.

Barber has been married to her husband for 56 years. The couple resides in Glenville and has two sons. With the exception of one year in California, she has lived in Glenville her entire life.