John Arthur Rokala, age 87, of Dassel, died Friday, March 8, 2019, at the Cokato Manor.
He was born May 3, 1931, at General Hospital in Minneapolis, to Levi and Ina (Hasti) Rokala. When John was young, the family moved to Kingston, where he attended Kingston District #1 for his elementary schooling, and graduated from the Dassel High School in 1949.
John entered the United States Army, where he served for two years, from 1955 until 1957.
He was united in marriage to Maxine Klammer Jan. 10, 1959, at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cokato. The couple first lived in Minneapolis, where John was employed at Gopher Stone and Wrecking. They moved to Cokato, where John was employed at DeKalb Hatchery, and also in St. Cloud, until they moved to the Rokala family farm in 1965. They had four children; Mark, Michael, Jodi and Jill.
John loved playing baseball, reading, and farming. He was loved by all the children on his bus route and would always receive a hearty hello or bye when he picked them up and dropped them off.
He loved his family dearly, and enjoyed the times that they spent together. John will be missed by his family and his many friends.
He is survived by his wife, Maxine Rokala of Dassel; children, Mark (Julie) Rokala of Washington DC, Michael Rokala of Satellite Beach, FL, and Jodi (Alaa) Ghazi of Damascus, Syria; eight grandchildren: Danyah Ghazi, Kenan Ghazi, Maya Ghazi, Kassim Ghazi, Lea Ghazi, Henry Rokala, Lillian Rokala, and Andrew Rygwall; siblings Maryann Harkman of Cokato, Audrey (Ron) Peterson of Green Valley, AZ, Carl (Beverly) Rokala of Dassel, and Margaret Mattila of Brainerd; a sister-in-law, Lucy Rokala of Litchfield; and numerous nieces, nephews, and other relatives.
John was preceded in death by his daughter, Jill Rygwall; son-in-law Chad Rygwall; parents, Levi and Ina Rokala; sister Ruth Janckila; brother Milton “Bud” Rokala; and brothers-in-law Harlan Harkman, and Curt Mattila.
John’s funeral service took place Tuesday, March 12 at 11 a.m. at the Good Shepherd Free Lutheran Church in Cokato, with the Rev. Rob Edwards officiating. Interment followed at the Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery in Cokato.
There was visitation Monday evening, March 11, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the church, continuing Tuesday, one hour prior to the service.
Military honors were provided by the Johnson Kelly American Legion Post of Kingston. The US Army Military Honor Squad folded and presented the flag.
Arrangements were with the Johnson Funeral Home in Dassel.