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Moment of Silence—Barbara King

Barbara King was president of Landscape Structures, Inc. In 2004, Landscape Structures received the 2004 Manufacturing Company of the Year award from the Minnesota Association of Manufacturers.

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Barbara King, president and co-founder of Landscape Structures, Inc. died of cancer March 4, 2008 at the age of 61, at home with her family. A memorial was held at the company headquarters in Delano, Minn.

Landscape Structures is one of the leading playground equipment manufacturers in the world, employing 325 people. Since 2004, Landscape Structures has been an employee-owned company.

Ms. King had worked as a home economist for the Pillsbury Co., but became president of Landscape Structures as the business grew, ultimately taking on responsibility for financial, sales, marketing, operations and administrative management.

Barb King (left) and her husband, Steve King, FASLA, (right) founded the playground manufacturing company in 1971.
Photo: Landscape Structures Inc.

Barbara was active in the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), serving as a board member for the Minnesota chapter from 1993 to 1995, and as president from 1997 to 1999. In 2000, Barbara was selected Woman Business Owner of the Year by the Minnesota NAWBO chapter. She also served on the boards of the Landscape Architecture Foundation and the National Recreation and Park Association.

Barb was inducted as an honorary member of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2004. She took pride in founding the Säjai™ Foundation in 2006, a national nonprofit promoting healthy lifestyles for children and families. She served on the board and was a primary benefactor.

Barb and husband, Steve, both graduates of Iowa State University, she in food science and he in landscape architecture, quit their jobs in 1971 to start building playground equipment. Steve was the designer with an idea for space-saving, interconnected playground components and Barb ran the business.

“One of the bigger items for us was our legacy, and not selling out to somebody who would completely change the culture,” Barb King said in an interview last summer.

Barb pushed the company to incorporate more recycled content and consume less energy in its manufacturing and plant upgrades. The company also joined an international tree-planting organization to offset its pollution emissions.

Barb King is survived by her husband of 40 years, their two adult children, Erin and Adam, and two granddaughters.

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December 7, 2019, 3:39 am PDT

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