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Robert L. Birnstengel

Robert L. Birnstengel

Beloved partner, father, friend and nature conservationist passed away peacefully on Saturday, September 1, 2018, in Duluth, MN.

Bob was born February 24th, 1937 in South St. Paul, Minnesota. He graduated from Cass Lake High School in 1955 and from Bemidji State Teachers College in 1959. He served in the U.S. Army.

Soon into his career, Bob joined the United States Forest Service in Budget & Finance on the Chippewa National Forest in Cass Lake and he retired as a Fiscal Policy Branch Chief in Washington D.C. in 1994. The Forest Service was a natural choice for Bob as he was drawn to forests and wildlife.

Bob purchased natural and semi-natural lands in northern Minnesota which he could protect, manage and restore with the help of the USDA, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and other conservation organizations. He obtained conservation easements to protect his lands from future development, negotiating for opportunities with conservation agencies to take over the lands he was restoring to put them in conservation in perpetuity.

Bob believed strongly in the link between wildlife, nature and human health. His habitat conservation is a legacy he leaves for us all.

Bob began dreaming as a young man of living in the woods on a lake; away from it all. He built a house on Lake Garfield near Laporte and lived there with his loving partner, Kathleen Lahti, for many years. Family and friends visited often and enjoyed many picnics, bonfires and saunas by the lake.

Bob was well-read and kept up on current affairs. He treated visitors to great conversations and had an endearing side that never ceased to amuse.

Bob is survived by his devoted partner, Kathleen Lahti; his loving children John Birnstengel, Pamela Busing and Mary Parker; and his grandchildren, Lauren Parker and Samuel Birnstengel and several cousins.

Bob was mentored and influenced by his closest uncle, Joe Lausche, who also worked for the U.S. Forest Service in the Chippewa National Forest and shared his love of trees and the forest. Joe's daughter, Barb, influenced Bob's conservancy as well.

At Bob's request, no service will be held.