Howard H. Hokkanen, age 87, longtime resident of Annandale, died Monday, June 24, 2013, at St. Cloud Hospital.
He was born on the farm near West Albion April 26, 1926, the son of Oscar and Sarah Hokkanen.
Howard attended the Gunnary country school and Annandale High School. During his high school junior year, a tornado hit the family farm and there was so much work that he quit school to work on the farm. In 1962, he received his high school diploma when he passed the GED tests at St. Cloud College.
Howard continued to work on the farm and, for a short time, he worked at the Ford Motor Plant in St. Paul.
He was united in marriage to Adeline Lappi April 23, 1949, at the Apostolic church parsonage in Cokato. The couple lived and worked on the family farm.
In 1977, they built a new home on the farm, and have enjoyed living there for 36 years. Howard stopped dairy farming in 1962, and continued to crop farm. He also started working for the Agriculture and Stabilization and Conservation (ASC) that year as a Federal crop insurance agent for Wright, Hennepin, and Carver counties.
In 1973, Howard became the manager for the Cokato Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and also worked as an insurance agent for the company. He worked as the manager for 23 years, was on the board of directors for 58 years, and recently retired as an insurance agent in 2012.
Howard enjoyed fishing since he was a young boy when his father took the boys fishing on rainy summer days when they could not work on the farm, and he continued to enjoy many fishing outings with family and friends.
He was active on his bowling team and enjoyed winning several championships. Howard loved sports, and enjoyed playing in casual baseball, football, and basketball games. He continued to follow all the professional Minnesota sport teams throughout his life; especially baseball.
Howard loved living on the farm, and he loved his family and enjoyed keeping up with all their activities. He liked nothing better than to visit and enjoy meals with his family and friends.
He is survived by his wife, Adeline, of Annandale; children, Darlene (Dave) Zylstra of Maple Lake, Patty (Steve) Hohag of St. Michael, and Ken (Bev) Hokkanen of Chaska; grandchildren Kelley (Erik) Johnson, Joe (Jody) Zylstra, Alison (Ben) Menk, Ryan (Lisa) Zylstra, Ashley (Jeremiah Flintrop) Zylstra, Ben (Laurie) Hokkanen, and Sara (Clint Gunkel) Hokkanen; eight great-grandchildren; a nephew, George (Frances) Abernathy; a niece, Liz (Virgil) Carlson, and many other relatives and friends.
Howard was preceded in death by his parents, Oscar and Sarah; brothers Walter, Rayno, and Elmer; sisters Anna, and Elma; and a half-sister, Mayme Abernathy.
Funeral services took place Saturday, June 29 at 11 a.m. at Good Shepherd Free Lutheran Church in Cokato, with the Rev. Lyndon Korhonen officiating. Burial followed at Riverside Cemetery of French Lake Township.
Visitation was Friday, June 28 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Good Shepherd Free Lutheran Church in Cokato, with a prayer service at 7:30 p.m.; and continued Saturday, one hour prior to the service.
Memorials preferred to the Good Shepherd Free Lutheran Church of Cokato and CentraCare Health Foundation (St. Cloud Hospital).
Arrangements were by Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home of Cokato; www.swansonpeterson.com.