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George “Joe” Arthur Saukkola

George “Joe” Arthur Saukkola, age 81, of Kimball, died Sunday, May 11, 2008, at his home.

He was born June 14, 1926, in Kingston Township, Meeker County, the son of Karl (Charles) and Hanna Effina (Matsen) Saukkola.

George grew up and attended District No. 61 country school for his education. He received an honorary diploma with the class of 2001 at Kimball Area High School.

He enlisted in the US Army, serving from 1944 until 1946. George was stationed in the South Pacific during World War II as a paratrooper in the 11th Airborne Division, and received a Bronze Star.

George was united in marriage to Doris Holm Jan. 20, 1945, in Little Rock, Ark. They had eight children, and made their home in the Kingston area. Doris preceded him in death July 26, 1988.

George was united in marriage to Helen Koskiniemi Oct. 21, 1989, at the Spruce Grove Apostolic Lutheran Church in Wolf Lake, Minn., and they lived in the Kingston area.

George was an auctioneer for 55 years. He farmed from 1946 until 1978. He also did livestock trucking and sold cemetery monuments.

He will be remembered for his sense of humor and love of a good story or joke.

A member of the Kingston Apostolic Lutheran Church, George served on the church board for many years. He also served on the Kimball School Board for 18 years, and was a member of the Johnson-Kelly American Legion.

He enjoyed fishing, threshing shows, and was an avid collector of antique cars and tractors.

George and Helen also enjoyed spending the past 13 winters in Texas.

He is survived by his wife, Helen of Kimball; children, Susan (JeRay) Buerkle of Ramsey, Ronald (Darlene) Saukkola of Kimball, Carol (Bruce) Selin of Snohomish, Wash., Deanna (Lloyd) Scheeler of Kimball, Douglas (Susan) Saukkola of Kingston, Rick Saukkola of St. Cloud, and Shirley (Jeff) Gilpatrick of Kimball; and daughter-in-law Diana Saukkola of Grove City

George is further survived by 23 grandchildren, Audra Hyatt, Kristina Sherer, Jason Saukkola, Blaine Saukkola, Amy DeWenter, Mathias Selin, Rebecca Selin, Kirsti Selin, Kaatri Selin, Margaret Selin, Levi Scheeler, Jacob Scheeler, Samuel Scheeler, Caleb Saukkola, Emily Aho, Isaac Saukkola, Kimberly Simmonds, Randy Saukkola, Jared Saukkola, Jonathan Gilpatrick, Erin Gilpatrick, Jenifer Gilpatrick, and Erika Gilpatrick; 11 great-grandchildren; and three sisters, Mary Hokkanen of Kimball, Evelyn (John) Dorn of Belle Plaine, and Verna Dahnke of South Haven.

In addition to his first wife, George was preceded in death by his parents; a son, Larry; granddaughter Kali Jo Gilpatrick; four brothers, John, Robert, Arthur, and Carl; and three sisters, Mabel Saukkola, Eva Hokkanen, and Helen Whitacre.

Funeral service was Thursday, May 15 at 11 a.m. at the Apostolic Lutheran Church in Kingston, with Pastor Orval Wirkkala and Sven Johansson officiating. Interment was at the Apostolic Cemetery in Kingston.

Visitation took place Wednesday, May 14 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Johnson Funeral Home in Dassel, with a prayer service at 7:30 p.m., and continued Thursday for one hour prior to the funeral service.

Arrangements were by the Johnson Funeral Home in Dassel.