Lloyd Lambert Barthel, age 90, died peacefully on January 11th, 2023 at Guardian Angels Care Center. Lloyd was born March 18th, 1932, on the family farm in Otsego Township, (Albertville), to Gotthard and Veronica Barthel. He grew up on the farm using horse drawn equipment which drove his lifelong passion to find an easier way to get things done. Lloyd graduated from Elk River High School in 1949.
He married Maxine (Susie) Maue in 1953. They made their home in Columbia Heights and after a few years, moved to Elk River. They were blessed with four children: Jim, Mike, Marilyn and Brian. They were married 65 years and enjoyed many adventures together until her death in 2018.
In 1961, Lloyd purchased a 700 square foot blacksmith shop in Elk River and did work for local farmers. Always an innovator, he grew the business into the 80,000 square foot Elk River Machine Company. In his quest to find an easier way, he was responsible for a number of new innovations including the “Combo” Combination Press Brake & Shear and the Hydra-Steer Trailer (used for transporting long loads such as Prestressed Concrete I-Beams).
He loved to build things for having fun with the family including a go-kart, hang glider, potato guns and dune buggy. Driven to find an easier way to do things, his spark of creativity helped make short work of his never-ending to-do list of projects and repairs. He found great joy in modifying equipment to do more than it was designed for.
Lloyd was very involved in the Elk River community. He was a member of the Elk River Volunteer Fire Department for 21 years and was the Fire Chief from 1971-1981. Lloyd served as a board member of the Bank of Elk River for 26 years. He belonged to the Elk River Chamber of Commerce, the Elk River Rotary and the Knights of Columbus. He was Elk River’s 1994 Small Business Person of the Year. Fellow Elk River businessmen described Lloyd as “quiet, unassuming and soft-spoken...when he speaks, you listen.” Lloyd volunteered in 1997 as project manager for the new Church of St. Andrew. He and Susie were recipients of the Guardian Angel’s Life Enhancement Award in 2012.
Fishing was Lloyd’s favorite sport especially when he could compete with his friends or share his love of fishing with his grandchildren. The same could be said for snowmobiling and billiards.
Lloyd’s love of all things mechanical required more space leading him to acquire some storage buildings including an idle cabinet shop. Eventually, the cabinet shop became home to the non-profit TLC Toys. In his last years, he thoroughly enjoyed making wood toys, the comradery of the toymakers and sharing his knowledge of equipment maintenance.
Survived by his children: James (Sandra) Barthel, Michael (Dorene) Barthel, Marilyn (Thomas) Eisenschenk, Brian (Susan) Barthel, 14 Grandchildren, and 13 Great-grandchildren; siblings: Rolland (Marnette) Barthel, Doris Mae (Del) Schoeder; sisters-in-law: Iris Lueck, Sharon Maue, Jan Barthel.
Lloyd was preceded in death by his parents, his spouse Susie, and siblings Kathy Stromgren, Franny Lyrek, Gordon Barthel and Kenneth Barthel.
Funeral will be Thursday, February 2nd, 2023 at the Church of St. Andrew, Elk River, MN with a livestream option. Visitation at 10 a.m. Mass at 12:30 p.m. Interment at St. Andrews Cemetery. Lunch following. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to Alzheimer’s Association, Guardian Angels of Elk River or TLC Toys, Inc.
The service will be streamed and can be accessed by clicking the blue button below this obituary.