George “Doug” Halonen, age 74, of Cokato, passed away Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, at his home.
He was born Sept. 14, 1942, in Sioux Falls, SD, the son of Charles and Tyyne (Oikelmus) Halonen. George was baptized as an infant and was later confirmed in his faith as a youth.
He graduated from White Bear Lake High School in 1960, and continued his education at the University of Minnesota, from where he graduated with a doctorate of education degree. He was a Bush Fellow and a Fulbright Scholar.
George (“Doug”) was united in marriage to Martha Nevala. This marriage was blessed with five children, Anne, Caroline, Tim, Terry, and Nora. Doug and Martha resided in Cokato, and shared 54 years of marriage. Doug was grateful for the unconditional (health) care and support from his wife for decades of marriage.
In 1967, Doug was employed as an instructor at Ridgewater College in Hutchinson. He had a passion for education and he did his doctoral thesis in support of virtual learning.
Doug represented the US as Fulbright Scholar Education Delegate in Germany. In 2002, he retired as a dean of students.
Doug said he never worked a day in his life. Warren Macemon was an important mentor in his professional life.
He also served as a Lutheran lay pastor for over 35 years.
Doug loved traveling, growing strawberries, and socializing. He especially enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren, whom he loved dearly.
He is survived by his wife, Martha Halonen; daughter Anne Heier (Duane), and their children, Kelli, Karl, Kate, and Shawn; daughter Caroline Rice, and her children, Kristina, Lauren, Tommy, Jayson, and Annelise; son Terry Halonen, and his children, Katrina and Brian; son Tim Halonen (Wendy), and their children, Taylor, Nolan, Larce, and Landon; and daughter Nora Prodzinski (Kirk), and their children, Grant, Karson, and Quinn.
Doug is further survived by sisters, Gladys Kariniemi, Sylvia Muhonen and her husband, Wally, Virginia Lehtola and her husband, Ernie, and Lillian Ylitalo; brothers, Fred Halonen and his wife, Thelma, Ed Halonen and his wife, Connie, Ray Halonen and his wife, Betty, and Don Halonen and his wife, Florence; step-brother Bob Jurmu and his wife, Mim; brothers-in-law Paul Raisanen, and Jerry Anderson; sister-in-law Lorraine Hilluka; many dear brothers and sisters in faith; hundreds of cherished nieces and nephews; 20 godchildren, and many beloved in-laws.
Doug was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Tyyne (Oikelmus) Halonen; step-mother Anna Jurmu; brothers Paul Halonen, and Carl Halonen; sisters Judy Mattila and her husband, Mervin, Mildred Raisanen, and Sharen Anderson; brothers-in-law, Paul Kariniemi, and Paul Ylitalo; sister-in-law Eunice Halonen; and step-brother Clifford Jurmu.
Memorial services took place Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 1 p.m. at Stockholm Community Center in Cokato. Pastor Fred Kilpela officiated at the services, and musical selections were “Amazing Grace,” “Old Rugged Cross,” “How Great Thou Art,” “God Be With You Until We Meet Again,” “In Jesus Name We Press On,” and “Revival.” Private family burial was at Cokato Finnish Cemetery.
Doug’s grandchildren were his casket bearers.
Arrangements were with by the Dobratz-Hantge Chapel in Hutchinson. Online obituaries and guest book are available at www.hantge.com; click on Obituaries/Guest Book.