John Calvin Mauk, Jr., age 100, died Monday, Dec. 31, 2007, at the Waconia Ridgeview Hospital.
He was born Jan. 23, 1907, to John Calvin (Jack) Mauk Sr. and Elizabeth Margaret (Maggie) (Easterling) Mauk in a log house on what was then the 70-acre family farm a mile east of Middleville Town Hall. He was the fourth of seven children.
John attended Riverside Country School. After grade school, John stayed at home and continued to work on the family farm.
In 1931, in the depths of the Great Depression, John married Doris Wicker. Their first home was on “the 70,” where John had been born, and two of their three children were born there.
In 1934, the year of the great drought, John lost the “70” to foreclosure when an interest payment was not made that fall. In the next six years, John moved his family to a succession of three rental farms at Dassel, Howard Lake, and Waverly, before moving onto, and subsequently buying, a 40-acre farm a mile east of the one where he had grown up.
John supplemented the farm income with fur trapping in the winter, and worked at a variety of jobs. He dug ditches, painted houses and barns, did paperhanging, worked one winter at a lead plant during WWII, worked on the highway, and did various other jobs. In his last job before retirement, John laid drainage tile behind a backhoe, and did various construction tasks from block laying and cement finishing to carpentry and plumbing.
After retirement, he was the caretaker at the Howard Lake Cemetery for a number of years. John remained active, raising rabbits, breeding hounds, cutting trees for firewood, and generally keeping busy.
As a young man, John was baptized into the Christian faith in the Crow River at Albright’s Dam. He, Doris, and their children attended Sylvan Church of Christ, where John also served as Sunday school treasurer, until the church closed. They then transferred to the Howard Lake Church of Christ, where John served as deacon, elder, and treasurer, and did a lot of work maintaining the building.
Later, John attended the Fair Haven Christian Church, where he often played the harmonica and sometimes sang verses of his favorite hymn, “Life’s Railway to Heaven.” After moving to the Howard Lake Good Samaritan Care Center in 2004, he attended First Presbyterian Church of Howard Lake as long as he was able.
John’s greatest interest was the outdoors. He was a skilled trapper, had amazing eyesight, and was an excellent marksman with rifle bullet, shot, or slug.
John lived in Minnesota all his life, mostly within a few miles of where he was born, but he visited both coasts and traveled to 26 other states.
After Doris’s death in 1988, John continued to live on the farm until he went into adult foster care in 2003, and in 2004, entered the Howard Lake Good Samaritan Care Center. He continued to be interested in farming and wildlife, and enjoyed sing-alongs and listening to the Minnesota Twins on the radio.
In addition to his wife, Doris, John was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Mabel Mauk; brothers Frank, Roy, Steve, Everett, and Archie; and son-in-law Elwood Anderson.
John is survived by his daughter, Ardis Anderson of Ogena, Wis.; sons Bob (Jean) of Edcouch, Texas, and Jim (Carolyn) of Laurel, Md.; seven grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren by marriage who have adopted him as their own; and a host of other relatives and friends.
The funeral took place Thursday, Jan. 3 at 1 p.m. at the Swanson Peterson Funeral Home in Howard Lake with the Rev. Byron Black officiating. Organist was Patricia Munson. The congregation sang “Life’s Railway to Heaven” and “How Great Thou Art.” The Fair Haven Trio sang another song John requested, “Supper Time.” Interment was at Sylvan Cemetery.
Pallbearers were grandsons Stanley Anderson, Bob Mauk II, Chris Mauk, and Paul Mauk; nephews Harvey Mauk and Lester Mauk; and neighbors Bob Berg and Ron Grindeland.
Funeral arrangements were by Swanson Peterson Funeral Home of Howard Lake and Cokato.