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Tri-County News
Kimball, Minnesota
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June 9, 2011     Tri-County News
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June 9, 2011
 

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Thursday, June 9, 2011 CO ity Tri-County News. Kimball, MN mmun Page 3 !i:;:i::: :::iii:?i;iiiiiiiii;iiiiNii!iNii ---::::: ..................... Seventy years married, and still sweet on each other Card of Thank you so much for the cards, phone calls and visits after mom's (Donna Walkley) passing. Thank you also to Father Tom for the beautiful service, the choir and all the people who put on the luncheon. It was greatly appreci- ated. Thank you. The families of Donna Walkley Ann00vers0000 Mozena 50 th John and Gerry Laakso in their rural Fair Haven home. From the wall of windows in the living room, they enjoy watching nature. The couple has been married 70 years. John is a retired SCSU professor; he's 96. Gerry is 92. Staff photo by Jean Doran Matua. By Jean Doran Matua, Editor You wouldn't know it by looking at them. They don't look or act their age. And they certainly don't look like they've spent 70 married years together. But they have. John and Gerry Laakso were married June 7, 1941, in Montrose, Gerry's home town. Two ministers performed the ceremony, one of them was Gerry's uncle. It is more than the "double-tying" of wedding vows that has kept them together all these years. They had met nearly three years earlier. John was fresh out of Winona Teachers College, and Montrose needed a teacher. He was a science and math teacher, and they hired him. John rented a room from Gerry's grandparents, with whom Gerry was living; this was the second of many happenstances in their relation- ship. Gerry was a "year out of high school, and her younger sister gleefully told her about the new teacher in town. "We've got a new teacher, and you should see him!" she told Gerry. So they did. They drove to school and waited until they saw John walk- ing with the superintendent. "I'm gonna to marry him," Gerry remembered telling her sister that day. "I wish I had that kind of premonition," said 'John last week. He hadn't even noticed her that day. He quickly added, though, that he would not have resisted- indeed could not have resisted- had things been otherwise. After two years in Montrose, john was let go (so they could hire another brand-new teacher at only $90 per week). He moved on to his next teaching job. Gerry stayed behind and waited, a year. Shortly after they were married, John served in th.e military during World War II. First in the Army as a flight instructor, and then as a navigator in the Navy. The G.I. Bill allowed John, after the war, to further his education and increase his earning power for his growing family. Eventually, he earned his Ph.D. from St. Cloud State University, and taught science there for many years. He was head of the chemistry depart- ment there when he retired in 1979. At the time he retired, the University decided to bulldoze their home of many years to make way for a parking lot. At the same time, an older couple in rural Fair Haven had some land to sell, at a reason- able price, as they needed to move to town. The Laaksos bought the land northeast of Fair Haven and commissioned a cozy house to be built way in the back of it. From their house, they can- not see roads or houses or any other buildings, only fields, a pond, and woods and meadows. They both enjoy the peace and quiet in their country home. They garden, and live well off the fruits of their labors all year long. And their home is surrounded by wildlife. We ran a story a fewyears back about a deer that came crash- ing through their living room window, scampered around for awhile, before finally finding its way back out the same way it came in - through the window. (There are still hoofprints in the hardwood floor.) "It's been a good existence, a great life." One summer they had a young bear visit them every day for a week or so. They also have their dogs and birds to keep them company. One daughter and John Laokso her husband live in a house along the road, at the beginning of the long winding driveway to the Laaksos' home. Along the way is an old Finnish log home, moved to the site from Cokato by the land's former owner. The cabin seems to suit the land, and the Laaksos too. It stands as a reminder of simpler, less compli- cated times. And a tribute to our hardy pioneer stock whoworked hard and enjoyed simple pleasures in life. Their secrets The Laaksos attribute their longevity to a lifetime of making the right choices. Neither of them smoked or drank, for starters. Gerry was diagnosed 20 years ago with diabetes. .Given the option of pills and shots, she chose to man- age her diabetes with diet instead. "He has to eat what I cook," she quipped, noting that the healthy diet has benefitted them both. "It has not been a problem," John said enthusiastically. Gerry believes she knows the secret to their stay- ing happily married for 70 years. "I made sure before we got married that he was the right guy," she said. "And if it didn't work, it wouldn't be my fault." Seventy years have proved her right. "Life is full of happenings," John said, "and you have no idea where things will end. We had no idea." Making the right choices along the way- in response to those happenstances - is what John attributes to both living a long time and living happily together for a long time. A family of educators Together, the Laaksos raised four children, two daughters and two sons, all of whom are educators. Their daughter Gretchen just retired last week after 17 years in the Kimball schools. "It seems that the species is continuing," John said of the generations of Laakso teachers. Their granddaughter, also a teacher, got married this past Saturday. The Laaksos' anniversary cele- bration was Sunday. Perhaps his favorite thing is when former students come up and thank him. "It's great to be recognized," John said. Still looking forward The couple has rarely stopped to look back on their lives. Instead, they seem to enjoy each day - each moment - for what it's worth. As an example, they've planted about 400 trees on their land, never really expecting to see them grow up. And now they live among a beautiful forest of trees. They're still looking ahead rather than back. "It's been a good existence," John said. "A great life." .......................... i Dean and Karen Mozena of Kim- ball will celebrate their 50th wed- ding anniversary with an open house from 2-5 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at their home at 8324 163rd Street, Kimball. Dean and Karen were married June 24, 1961, in Kimball. Hosting the event are their chil- dren. No gifts, please. Donations to the Apostolic Lutheran Church (KALC) Debbie Rokala will be joining a mission trip to Russia, Aug. 9 thru Sept. 6, 2011. If unable to attend& wish to help, please send donations to the church. Note in memo "Russian Trip" Thank You! With new discounts and rates, now is the time to take another look. I Thomas Ehlinger Agency, Inc. 39A Maus Drive #3 Kimball, MN 55353-0010 (320) 398-3645 www.tehlinger.c0m AMERICAN FAMILY American Family Mutual Insurance Company and its Subsidiaries American Family Insurance Company Home Office - Madison, W153783, BC-221385 - 5/11 MOREl S ATTIC new 'l H  CSAH 17, WATKINS - ._ #gO ' . JCT OF MN #24 & HKRCTY t _ d TrIP -eat Roo ,,,a #./ e-mail nanasattic@meltel.net | u. Findsl  PHONE 320-282-8906 | - -Next sale dates - July 7 "~ 10 = | AgA',AFFIQ.ISN'T.ACCPrBCPlEDIT.OB.pEB.ff CARDS N Q.P.BI-.__C. R EST.RM..O.NopREMISESSSSSSSJ UCTIONI Thursday, June 9, 8 am-6 pm Friday, June 10, 8 am.7 pm Saturday, June 11, 8 am.l pm 5536 County Road 146, South Haven 7 miles north of Kimball or 4 miles south of Luxemburg on Hwy. 15; 1 mile east of County Rd 146 OR 6 miles north of Fairhaven OR 7 miles south of St. Augusta on County Rd 7 1.3 miles west on County Rd 146 For more information, please call Lisa at 320-654-8070 or Theresa at 320-274-0299