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Roger Salmela, 89

Roger Henry Salmela, age 89, of Cokato, passed away Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, at the Cokato Manor.

He was born Dec. 29, 1929, in Minneapolis, to Henry and Helen (Anderson) Salmela. Roger grew up in Robbinsdale, and in 1944, the family moved to Cokato, where his parents purchased the Cokato Bakery.

Roger graduated from Cokato High School in 1947.

He then joined the United States Navy, and served at the Great States Navy Station in Illinois.

Following his service, he attended the University of Minnesota, earning bachelor of arts and master of arts degrees. He went on to teach, first at Benson High School in Omaha, NE, and then Peru State College in Peru, NE.

In the late ‘70s, Roger joined the Peace Corps, and he spent time in Thailand.

Roger enjoyed many sports; in his younger days, he played baseball and softball. He was an avid golfer, and enjoyed cars, and talking politics. He was also a good piano player. Roger enjoyed travel, especially going to Florida and wintering in Palm Springs.

He took very good care of his mother, Helen, once his father, Henry passed away.

Roger is survived by a son, Kirk (Debbie) Salmela of Ft. Collins, CO; their children and grandchildren, Chase (Megan) Salmela, Parker, and Murphy, of Mattoon, II; Sophia (Collin) Powell, Briar, Blaine, and Genevieve, of Highlands Ranch, CO; Ian (Ashley) Salmela, Savannah, and Hudson, of Firestone, CO; and Mitchell Salmela of Ft. Collins, CO; his sister and her family: Marlys Ortquist of Cokato; her children, Rene Ortquist, Robin (Tim) Kelly, Rise (Ron) Beckman, Rori (Doug) Carlson, Ruthie (Ron) Klima, Reid (Cheryl) Ortquist, Rahn (Pamela) Ortquist, Raquel (Chad) Kirchoff, and Blake Ortquist; 26 grandchildren; and 40 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Helen Salmela; an infant brother; and brother-in-law Dennis Ortquist.

A memorial service took place Friday, Sept. 6 at 11 a.m. at Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cokato, with visitation one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment was in French Lake Mission Cemetery, Kingston Township.

Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home of Cokato handled the arrangements; www.swansonpeterson.com.

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