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Mark A. Kotila, 62

Mark Allen Kotila, age 62, of Cokato, passed away on his beloved farm, Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, doing what he loved to do, working on his latest mechanical project.

He was born Feb. 26, 1952, in Cokato, to Nels and Ardyce (Morris) Kotila. Mark grew up on the farm north of Cokato, and lived there his entire life.

Mark married his high school sweetheart, Joan Raisanen, Nov. 17, 1973. They were blessed with 13 beautiful children.

Mark attended the auto mechanics course at Hutchinson Vo-Tech the very first year it opened. He worked at Cokato Motors Sales in his early years, until he and Joan took over running the family dairy farm full time.

In 1998, Mark sold his cattle and rented out his cropland, and concentrated on his excavating business with his son, Nels, where he worked until his death.

A very talented person, Mark had many hobbies, including mechanics, especially rebuilding and souping up ‘50s vehicles, his favorite being his ‘57 Chev. Some of the highlights of his life were taking sauna, ice fishing on Lake of the Woods, motorcycling out in the mountains, camping along the North Shore, and enjoying winter siestas in Mexico on the white sand of the Caribbean Sea with Joan. He loved wheeling and dealing, and spending endless hours in his shop fixing equipment and visiting with friends and neighbors who stopped in to see what his latest project was. He was an innovative inventor, and gardening and cooking were also enjoyable to him.

Mark had a gentle and friendly nature, and had a gift of bringing laughs and entertainment to many of us with his ability to mimic people and tell humorous stories of his latest adventures. Most of all, he enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, and had a special spot in his heart for his grandchildren.

He is survived by his wife, Joan; and children: Annika (Sam) Mattila of Cokato, Nels (Mary) of Cokato, Mitchell (Anna-Reeta) of Cokato, Bridget (Jeff) Ylitalo of Cokato, Jack (Leah) of Gillette, WY, Natasha (Greg) Jurvakainen of Cokato, Colin of Gillette, WY, Julie (Pat) Lake of Wolf Lake, MN, Ashley (Nathan) Lake of Cokato, Tatiana Kotila of Scottsdale, AZ, Jordan of Cokato, Taylor Kotila, and Shauna Kotila, both of Cokato.

He is further survived by 41 grandchildren, and four step-grandchildren; sisters Karen (Larry) Goga, Kathy (Del) Young, Susie Hutchins, and Ruth (Darrel) Miller; father-in-law Paul Raisanen; sisters and brothers-in-law; many nieces and nephews; and other relatives and friends.

Mark was preceded in death by his parents, Nels and Ardyce; mother-in-law Millie Raisanen; and brother-in-law Chuck Hutchins.

The funeral service took place Thursday, Aug. 28 at 11 a.m. at Cokato Laestadian Lutheran Church. There was visitation from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, with a prayer service at 7 p.m.; and continuing Thursday, one hour prior to the services, all at the church. Interment was at the Cokato Finnish Cemetery.

Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home & Cremation Services of Cokato is honored to be of service to the family.

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