President of the First Ingqvist State Bank, Hjalmar is the brother of Birgit Tollefson, the husband of Virginia and the father of Corinne, Christine Ingqvist (now Mrs. Keith St. Clair) and Chip Ingqvist. His nephew is David Ingqvist, pastor of Lake Wobegon Lutheran Church for 30 years.

Hjalmar served as mayor of Lake Wobegon in 1962, but chose not to run for reelection after a lengthy and fraught debate over a bond issue for sidewalk repair and streetlight installation which had city council members quoting the Bible at one another into the wee hours of the morning. Hjalmar left at 10 p.m. saying "Politics brings you into contact with all the people you'd do anything to avoid."