Nels Mark Kotila, age 43, of Cokato, was called suddenly to his Heavenly home Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, while he was in the field doing the work he loved.
He was born Dec. 29, 1975, in Litchfield, to Mark and Joan Kotila, and grew up on the family farm north of Cokato. Nels lived within a half-mile of the farm his whole life, except for a short time in town.
He graduated from Dassel-Cokato High School in 1994.
Growing up, Nels helped his dad milking cows and growing crops on their farm. He enjoyed many hours working and learning alongside his dad in the shop and in their excavating business. He was very mechanically gifted, and was capable of fixing most things.
Nels had a great enthusiasm for life. He had many hobbies, which included working on heavy equipment, tinkering in the shop with his brothers and dad, ice fishing, snowmobiling, camping, motorcycle trips, visiting, and cooking. He always enjoyed being with family and friends, but most important to him was his childlike faith.
Nels and Mary were wed Aug. 16, 2014. They were married for five short, blissful years, and lived life to the fullest. The couple was blessed with two daughters and a son.
Nels’ big smile and kind, gentle ways will forever be remembered.
He is survived by his wife, Mary (Wittenberg, Mattila); children Kevin (Savannah) Mattila, Allison (Hunter) Josephson, Hanna and Gretchen Mattila, and Louise, Kate, and Russell Kotila; and grandchildren Wynn and Lucy Mattila, and Gus Josephson.
Nels is further survived by his mother, Joan Kotila; siblings Annika (Samuel) Mattila, Mitchell (Eetta), Bridget (Jeffrey) Ylitalo, Jack (Leah), Natasha (Greg) Jurvakainen, Colin (Kayla), Julie (Patrick) Lake, Ashley (Nathan) Lake, Tatiana (Eric) Wittenberg, Jordan (fiancée Linda Haataja), Taylor (Josh) Wuollet, and Shauna (Kyle) Davison; father- and mother-in-law Paul and Sue Wittenberg; sisters and brothers-in-law; many aunts and uncles; nieces and nephew; and other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his dad, Mark Kotila; and grandparents Nels and Ardyce Kotila, and Paul and Millie Raisanen.
Nels’ funeral service took place Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 11 a.m. at the Cokato Laestadian Lutheran Church.
There was visitation Tuesday, Nov. 5 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the church, with a 7 p.m. prayer service; continuing Wednesday one hour prior to the service.
Arrangements were with the Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home in Cokato; www.swansonpeterson.com.