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  • Chaska Historical Society

Volunteer Spotlight - Barb VanEyll

Barb is originally from Cologne where she lived with her family in an apartment located above her father’s bar in a small stretch of Main Street. She recalled helping her father opening and tending the bar. Her grandmother owned a farm in the area and came to Chaska frequently for milling and banking, so Barb was familiar with the Chaska community.

She wanted to move loser to the city, and after marrying Gary VanEyll they moved to State Street in Chaska. She recalled that living near the Oak Grove Dairy facility was a god-send as her growing family often ran out of milk. Barb was employed by Deli Express for 43 years in both production and quality control. She witnessed the company growing from Stewart sandwiches to Sween Company and Deli Express. Three generations of company growth have made the company a leader in freshly-made sandwiches and cookies for people on the go!

After retirement in 2018, Barb began volunteering at the History Center and has quickly stepped into a very active role leading the Membership function. Her helpful approach to those that visit the Center on Tuesdays reflects her love of history and interest in history. Barb is also very active in the American Legion Auxiliary and currently serves as their president. Her inspiration and passion to help and support veterans is her way for honoring the military service of her father, father-in-law and husband. The auxiliary has over 175 members and raises fund to assist veterans locally and through the Veterans home in Hastings. The annual poppy sales in May reflect the backing of the community. Barb is also a member of the VFW Auxiliary.

Barb has also supported her husband Gary in his active roles in City government - serving on the city council, Mayor of Chaska and as Fire Chief. This has resulted in difficult situations for her. She recalled a time in the City’s growth that unpopular decisions had been made and her house received unpleasant phone calls. But through it all, Barb says that the people of Chaska are so wonderful, and it’s no secret why the community continues to grow. She remarked that having her three children grow up in Chaska was a wonderful experience for them and hopes that new residents can enjoy the spirit of the best small-town.

By Sarah Carlson


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