Lifelong Anokan, former mayor dies at 84

Lorraine Hostetler, a lifelong Anokan who committed many years to serving the community, died May 12 at the age of 84.

Lorraine Hostetler
Lorraine Hostetler

Hostetler was Anoka’s first and only woman to be mayor of the city, elected in 1983. She served two terms as mayor, followed by four years on the city council.

Hostetler was the daughter of Harry and Genevieve Bennett, born Sept. 4, 1927.

She married Don Hostetler in 1947 and the couple raised four children in Anoka, moving into a new home on Yoho Drive where they were at the center of a very social neighborhood, said youngest daughter Lisa O’Donnell.

“She was such a gracious hostess,” said O’Donnell. “They really loved having people over.”

Don Hostetler died in 2008 and the funeral service for Lorraine took place on what would have been the couple’s 65th wedding anniversary.

Once her kids were grown and gone from home Hostetler took advantage of opportunities to work and get involved in the community, said O’Donnell.

Until then she had been busy raising four children and supporting her husband’s parts business on West Main Street, National Bushing.

Hostetler (center) with council members Jerry Cotten (left) and John Mann. Photos courtesy of the Hostetler family
Hostetler (center) with council members Jerry Cotten (left) and John Mann. Photos courtesy of the Hostetler family

Family, friends and those who served with her on the council remember Hostetler as being committed to her family and the community, always striving to make Anoka a better place.

Her service to the city started with her 1978 appointment to the city’s park board.

“I think that was what really led her to run for mayor,” said O’Donnell.

During her tenure on the council, her daughter said Hostetler was particularly proud of working to get Walker Plaza built, a place she would eventually live during last few years of her life.

“She was a dynamic person, a person that took action when she saw something that needed to change,” O’Donnell said.

Her community service, that included a number of organizations in addition to the city council, was close to her heart.

“At the heart of it she loved Anoka,” said O’Donnell. “She was really proud and wanted to make Anoka a better place.”

Jerry Cotten, a lifelong friend of the Hostetlers who also served with Lorraine on the city council, remembered her as a fair decision maker.

“Lorraine handled herself well, nothing daunted her,” said Cotten. “She was interested in what was going on and she wanted to do the right thing for everybody.”

Stephen Halsey, a one-time city council member and mayor of Anoka and now a 10th Judicial District Court judge, said Hostetler was studious and treated everyone with respect.

“She would get upset when people would look out for the interests of one individual or group,” said Halsey.

Halsey grew up knowing the Hostetler family, but really got to know Lorraine during their time together on the Anoka City Council, he said.

It was Hostetler who encouraged his own run for mayor, according to Halsey.

After two terms she decided she wanted to be on the council and not the mayor, so she encouraged Halsey to run in her place, he said.

“She was a very good role model for me as mayor,” said Halsey, who served two terms as mayor.

She serves on the board of directors for the Minnesota League of Cities for several years.

The Hostetlers loved to travel and at one time owned a houseboat which they later traded in for a motor home so they could travel the country.

While in her 60s Hostetler battled breast cancer and won, adding another 20 years to her life. She took great pleasure in spending time with her grandchildren, and especially her great grandchildren, said O’Donnell.

Hostetler is survived by her children, Sandy (Steve) Thorsen, Mike (Condello), Linda (Steve) Sexton and Lisa (Brian) O’Donnell; grandchildren, David (Angela) Thorsen, Katrina (Tom) Develice, Jason (Brenda) Hostetler, Krista Hostetler, Carra (Brian) Carr, John and Matthew Sexton, Caitlin and Derek O’Donnell; great-grandchildren, Connor, Devin, Mason, Madalynn and Garrett; siblings, Mary Lou (Bud) Sage and Dick (Helen) Bennett; and many nieces, nephews and friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Don; parents; and brother, Dan Bennett.

Funeral service was May 17 at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in Anoka. Interment was at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at [email protected]