Tricounty News

Grand Marshals - Bill and Barb Liedman

By Jean Doran Matua, Editor

Bill Liedman is a Kimball boy through-and-through. His parents (Carl and Annette) owned a barbershop and beauty shop in Kimball's City Hall and then in a house across the street (now Chickadee Tree Floral). Bill and his siblings grew up in the house on Oak Street that's behind what for years was Liedman's barber & beauty shop.

Carl and Annette came to Kimball in 1937, possibly before. Annette taught school in the District 80 country school, then went to beauty school and set up shop with Carl. (She later sold her business to Kerry Johnson-Nolan.) Carl died in 1982, and Annette died in 2000.

Bill was born in Litchfield and attended Kimball schools (he has some great stories to tell). Even when he graduated and went to college, he stayed in Kimball. Bill attended St. Cloud State University, and drove school bus in the mornings before driving north to college each day.

The histories of Bill Liedman and of Kimball are deeply intertwined. Bill recalled being in the back of Hinz's store when the creamery blew up (on the site where the post office now stands). Bill was about in the first grade and fire chief Loren Spaulding put a fireman's hat on him and had him direct traffic so people didn't drive over the fire hoses.

Many years later, Bill picked up his mail from his P.O. box early one late spring morning on his way to school. He noticed a lot of glass all over and then realized it had been an explosion because the glass was outside the building. This was the morning the post office blew up (1976) and authorities hadn't arrived yet.

He met Barb and, in Bill's words, he "rescued her from Bloomington." Other than the few years they lived on Lake Augusta, the couple has lived in Kimball all their married lives.

Together they raised three sons, all of whom are engineers: Sean is a systems and weapons engineer in the Navy, currently working in the Pentagon; Jesse is an electrical Engineer at Rockwell in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Chris is a mechanical engineer for Sebesta Cole in Coon Rapids. (Does anyone else think there's a definite connection between Bill's math abilities at work here?)

Bill and Barb also are grandparents of five: Luke (18), Jake (17), Grace (10), Dillon (10), and Brady (8). They treasure the time they get to spend with their grandchildren.

Bill's rsum would include 30 1/2 years teaching, 34 years as scoutmaster (and helping to raise up 11 Eagle Scouts, he quickly added), 21 years as a volunteer firefighter (now retired), about 15 years president of the Kimball Golf Club, and founding member (and president for two years) of the Ducks Unlimited chapter in Kimball.

"I didn't do anything else, did I?" Bill asked Barb in their interview Saturday. "I didn't have time."

Barb's rsum includes 11 years working at Gannon Elevator, owning the bowling alley with Bill from 1980-93 (while her family was growing up), 24 years as bowling league secretary. Mostly, she describes herself as an "at-home mama," and the "silent partner at home turning the wheels."

"The town's moved up the hill," noted Bill, meaning north across Hwy. 55. He thinks that's hurt downtown a bit.

Three people nominated the Liedmans to be Grand Marshals of Kimball Days this year. So far as they know, riding in a car at the head of the Kimball Days parade this Sunday is their only official duty. Wave hard and smile at these great representatives of our community!