Mechanic 05

Howard Edwin Latvala

December 30, 1929 ~ November 2, 2023 (age 93) 93 Years Old

Howard Latvala Obituary

Howard Latvala, 93, of Bemidji, MN died Thursday, November 2, 2023 at Moose Lake Village.

Per Howard’s wishes, no services will be held. Private family inurnment will be in Greenwood Cemetery, Bemidji.

Howard was born into a large family in 1929, a child of his emigrant father’s second family during the Great Depression of the 1930’s; then followed by WWII when 5 older brothers were inducted into army service. He soon learned the value of wild food; fish, game, fur, and forest products to help sustain what the tiny farm did not produce. Electricity was not available until REA came through in 1950, so many services were not available. Ingenuity and hard labor brought families through the crisis.

At age 18 he enlisted into the Army to receive a year of intensive training in radar repair and guided missiles (even though he had never flipped a light switch): then served as a repairman for gun aiming radars for and AAA battalion located at Hanford Atomic Works in Washington State. He missed being on one of the first troop ships sent to the Korean War, then sent a year later as NCO of a counter mortar radar unit that provided coordinates for our artillery to fire back at hostile forces. Enlistment ended and he left the Army with rank of SFC.

As a civilian he sought schooling in the Twin Cities while working at a custom welding shop at night. The rat race of city life was replaced with the outdoors when he was asked to plant trees with Mn Forestry, then transferred to a fisheries crew (now DNR) for a short time. The fisheries job lasted 35 years with various assignments from near the Iowa border, west central counties, to the Canadian border in various capacities at 7 major sites. During this time, he married June Hoehne of Frazee, who became a teacher at Bemidji. Their union lasted more than 43 years before she died prematurely of ALS after being a bed patient at home for many months. They had camped and toured in most of the states coast to coast, plus rebuilding a farm near Bemidji. Both were into crafts work: she an expert seamstress: he in carpentry and wood carving for a lifetime.

Survivors include his daughter, Heidi (Andy) Keck with two children of Walnut Creek, CA; son, Greg of Coon Rapids and son Douglas (Lina) with five children of Cambridge; two younger brothers; two younger sisters; a host of nieces and nephews and his friend and caregiver, Judy Bernhardt of Bemidji.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife; 13 siblings and a great many relatives, friends and co-workers.

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