Photo provided by Sugar Lake Lodge.
The Siseebakwet Board of Directors is comprised of 15 full-time and self-proclaimed "snowbird" residents of Sugar Lake. The Board meets six times per year and is always available for contact via email.
Siseebakwet is a unique 1350 acre clear water lake. The name comes from the Ojibway word “Ziinzibaakwad,” and means “sugar,” hence the reason the lake is often referred to as Sugar Lake.
The mission of the Siseebakwet Lake Association is to preserve, protect, and enhance our lakes: and to provide social opportunities to our watershed and membership area.
In support of our mission, the primary goals are:
Support approved environmental practices.
Monitor and respond to changes in water quality.
Inform, educate and assist members and governing bodies regarding practices affecting our lakes and environment.
Provide social opportunities.
Working together we can fulfill our Mission Statement.
Here are the 2019 Siseebakwet Board of Directors:
Gwynne, and her husband Fred, have lived on Siseebakwet Lake for 23 years and are owners of Sugar Lake Lodge. Gwynne is serving her second term on the Lake Association Board and chairs the Social Committee. She is the current Chair of the Child Protection Task Force and a member of the CASE Committee in Grand Rapids, has served on the United Way of 1,000 Lakes Board, Camp Fire and the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation. “We have an amazing asset in our lake and the Siseebakwet Board works so very hard to protect it. It’s a pleasure to work with some amazing Board members.” Gwynne enjoys three adult children, four grandchildren, sailing, cooking, travel and fishing with John Otis!
Bruce and his wife, Adele, reside on the southwest corner of Siseebakwet Lake and have enjoyed the lake and surrounding area for over 33 years. Bruce served 3 years on the board, including serving as past President. Bruce is currently on the Weir subcommittee and has been active with assisting in grant application to fund this project. His passion is to preserve the water and fishing quality of this fantastic lake. He volunteered to be the monthly lake sampler from May through September in conjunction with the RMB environmental laboratories lake monitoring program. Bruce and Adele have two daughters and four grandchildren that enjoy visiting Grandpa and Grandma at the lake. Both enjoy the outdoors from daily walks with their dog Gabbe, fishing, small game hunting to golfing at beautiful Sugarbrooke Golf Course.
Bruce started coming up to Sugar in 1964 when his dad, and his two brothers bought a family cabin on the north shore close to the public landing. He was in heaven then and still is now. Bruce says, "...incredible beautiful lake for swimming, skiing and sailing , sand beaches for sand castles and woods for playing in plus the ultimate bonus, skiing in the winter time at Sugar Hills right across the lake and Quadna just down the road. Everybody loved it so much they got their own cabins. So eventually it was the 3 Freeman brothers in a row, the King family in the big house and then my sister next to them in the log cabin I built for her. Now I have my dad’s place and am enjoying remodeling the 1936 little cabin, as I am a builder and designer down in the cities. My wife Pam and I and our 3 kids and grandson love coming up whenever we can. If you see somebody out on the lake windsurfing or kiting, it’s probably me. I love the water in this lake. So grateful to spend time here with family and friends. The lake life is a good life. Very thankful to all the board members and especially Bill Grantges for protecting this unique lake from invasives. The only bad part is I can only come up for some long summer weekends. Wish it was more."
Doug Hardt is just entering his second year living in Sugarbrooke Estates. Doug is a pastor for the Seventh-day Adventist churches extending along the Iron Range and up to International Falls and Ely. The Hardt family moved here from Lincoln, Nebraska in May of 2015. Doug’s wife, Tatiana (or “Tanya”) is a native of Sochi, Russia where the 2014 Winter Olympic games were held. They have two children, Nicole, 13, and Michael, 9. The family has spent eight years previously living in the former Soviet Union and Middle East and has been exposed to many different cultures and living conditions. Doug says, “My family has greatly enjoyed living on Sugar Lake. It is the best living conditions that we have had as a family. We love nature and we have a real treasure on the shores of Siseebakwet. I want to do anything I can to help preserve it and continue to make it a great place to live.”
Sharon and her husband, Jim, have owned their property on the south side of Sugar Lake for 25 years. They have lived year-round at the lake for the past 15 years. Both Sharon and Jim are retired educators from the Grand Rapids school district. Sharon is serving her first term on the Lake Association Board and was elected to serve as secretary at the October meeting of the board. Sharon is committed to protecting the beauty and cleanliness of the water in Sugar Lake. She looks forward to working with the other dedicated volunteers on the board. Sharon and Jim have four adult children, 11 grandchildren, and 6 grand"dogs". They have enjoyed many family celebrations at the lake, including birthdays, graduations and a wedding. Sharon loves the outdoors and enjoys flower gardening and ice skating on the lake (when conditions allow).
Betsy’s maiden name is Hoene. Her grandfather (from Duluth) bought property along the north shoreline of the lake in 1921 and built a two story home, screened boathouse, two guesthouses, a garage , woodshed and a tennis court for his twelve children, including her father, Phil Hoene. Betsy and her nine siblings grew up coming to “Sugar Lake” for two weeks each summer. The “cabin” was sold (now King’s) and the shoreline divided (now Freemans, Borgh). Betsy feels lucky to be married to her lawyer (retired Medtronic) husband, David G. Martin, who agreed to move from his twenty acre cabin property on Little Trout to move to the north shore of Siseebakwet (Dr. Doelle’s) in 2003. “My soul sings whenever I look out at the lake” she says.
Betsy has worked as a junior high teacher, litigator in a large St. Paul law firm and a district court judge in Washington County, Minnesota (Stillwater). She retired in 2013 but still serves as a senior judge. She has served on the board of directors of the St. Paul YWCA and Mitchell Hamline School of Law. She’s a member of the St. Paul Garden Club, a book club for 34 years; she hunts (duck and pheasant), fishes, golfs, plays pickle ball, and downhill and cross country skis. Betsy and David have Jagger the black lab and Gary the 17 pound cat as immediate family and many nieces, nephews, Godchildren, and step great grandchildren and grand nieces to entertain on the lake. Betsy served as secretary of the Siseebakwet Lake Association board in 2015-2016 and will now work on New Members and Communications committees in hopes of building up our membership and being better at communicating.
Abby (Bobich) Oxborough and her husband, Tim moved back Sugar Lake after years of living out of backpacks in various obscure locations around the world. Abby, the daughter of Sugar Lake Lodge owners Fred & Gwynne Bobich, grew up on the lake working at the resort and has returned to help grow the resort’s Leadership Center. Abby is currently getting her Master’s in Experiential Education and runs various leadership development programming at Sugar Lake Lodge focused around experiential learning and team building.
Tim and Abby and their two dogs (Stanley and Stewart) are elated to be back on the shores of Siseebakwet and invite you to come out to Otis’s on a nice summer day to say “hey!!!”
Roger Quern, treasurer
Roger and his wife, Sharon, have owned property on the South West shore since 1985. They built a garage in 1986 and finished off the interior to use as a temporary cabin while they were weekend visitors. In 2012 I retired from the Lakeland Companies working for 42 years as an accountant and later CFO. Planning for retirement we built a home in 2007 and have been permanent residents since retirement. I was elected to the board in the early 90’s and started as Treasurer October 1, 1995. One accomplishment I feel good about is working with former President, Jim Parson, to have the Lake Association apply and become a 501c3 non-profit organization. I also converted from manual booking to computer for easier reporting and record keeping. The lake is truly a gem that we need to work together to keep for future generations to enjoy.
Tom huettner, President
Tom, with his wife Paula, have owned a place on Sugar Lake since buying land on the SW shore in 2006 and completing their lake home in 2010. They have three children ages 20, 18 and 11 as of November 2016. Tom and Paula were raised in Omaha, NE and moved to Minneapolis from Chicago in early 1994 when Tom took a job with Cargill. Tom left Cargill at the end of 2014 to focus on his own investment endeavors in commercial real estate.
Tom is an avid volunteer to non-profits that focus on the health and welfare of kids by providing refurbished bikes to those in need (Tom managed a bike shop in Omaha in high school and college). Says Tom, “Sugar Lake is our refuge to enjoy life’s simpler pleasures like the serenity of nature, the laughter of family and friends, a good camp fire under the stars and the changing of the seasons. We have an incredible asset in Sugar Lake and our obligation is to maintain it for all future generations to enjoy”.
BILL HAGENBUCK, VICE PRESIDENT
Bill and his wife Deb have lived year-round on the south side of Siseebakwet Lake since 2012. Bill’s parents purchased their 200 feet of lakeshore from Sugar Lake Lodge in 1968 and the “cabin” was built in 1969. Bill is serving his second term on the Lake Association Board and continues in his multi-year role as Vice President drawing on his career as a project manager. Bill’s additional contributions include serving on the Lake Management committee as “Receiver of Notice” by representing SLA with the Itasca County Environmental Serviced Department on variance and shore line permitting activities; assisting the Damn Weir subcommittee with fund raising; co-chairing the Road Clean events each spring and fall with his wife Deb; and helping with any winter activities when other board members are warmer. The Hagenbuck’s intend to remain in their newly remodeled lake home for the rest of their lives and look forward to passing their home and pristine lake shore to their children and grandchildren in the same or better condition than when Bill first arrived with the 12 foot aluminum rowboat he purchased with lawn mowing money at age 13, the boat is still tied to the dock each summer.
Deb and her husband Bill have lived year-round on Siseebakwet Lake since 2012. Deb first came to the lake in 1974, when she and Bill were engaged to be married and has been part of the lake community ever since. Deb is continuing to serve in her second term on the Lake Association Board and is a full time reading tutor for Americorps, tutoring K-3 at King Elementary in Deer River. Her passion for books and reading led to her suggesting the successful Stone Soup theme for the first year’s Damn Weir fund raiser which she co-chaired with Bill. She hand addressed over 260 envelopes for the first mailing and hand wrote over 70 thank you notes for the first year pledges and donations. Deb currently serves with Bill as co-chairs for the Road Cleanup each spring and fall and is also responsible for the Neighborhood Watch. The Hagenbuck’s intend to remain in their newly remodeled lake home for the rest of their lives and look forward to passing their home and pristine lake shore to their children and grandchildren in the same or better condition than when she first came to the lake with Bill.