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Harvey Jokela


Harvey Henry Jokela, age 100, a lifelong Green Valley/Wolf Lake area resident, peacefully entered the glory of Heaven on Monday evening, November 5, 2018 surrounded by his loved ones at Diamond Willow Assisted Living in Park Rapids, Minnesota.

Harvey was born on August 22, 1918 in Green Valley Township, Becker County, Minnesota to Henry and Hulda (Wirtanen) Jokela. At the age of two, Harvey’s father was killed in a construction accident requiring Harvey and his siblings to live with other family members. As a young teenager, he and his younger brother, Eddie, lived primarily on their own on the farm Harvey would eventually buy. In his late teens, he met his future wife and soulmate, Gladene Ziegler, who blessed his life with 72 years of marriage. Their courtship was interrupted by World War II when he volunteered to serve his country in the United States Navy. They were married on October 19, 1943 while Harvey was still in the navy but home on a short leave. Harvey served in the Atlantic Theatre of World War II aboard the USS Bainbridge, a naval destroyer that was assigned to escorting aircraft carriers and hunting German Submarines.

At the end of the war, Harvey received his honorable discharge and returned to Green Valley Township where he and Gladene purchased a farm. They were blessed with three sons: Mark, Niles and Joel; and finally a precious daughter, Colleen. Harvey worked hard providing for his family, farming and logging. He later purchased another farm and also supplemented his income by working as a surveyor for the Becker County ASCS Office and surveyed almost all of the farms in the county.

Harvey was a gentle man-gentle to those around him, to animals, to the earth. It was a gentleness born of strength-the strength of someone in control of himself, who understood his place in the world. He was a man of the earth, a farmer but more so a woodsman. A man who would stop plowing a field to move a bird’s nest or simply admire some wildflowers. He was a man of curiosity who always kept abreast of the news and who was fascinated by the world’s intricacies. A man who grew up walking to his neighbors to visit or spend an occasional day in school, and who learned to plow with horses and cut hay with a hand scythe. He was a man who welcomed the invention of modern farm equipment-not only for the efficiency but because it spared his horses the hard labor of plowing and pulling logs. He embraced the advancements of electricity, TV, and in his last days was entertained with smartphones and touchscreen tablets. He was a man who loved to laugh, visit, and tell stories. He was proud of his Finnish heritage with DNA that tested over 97% Finnish. He enjoyed speaking his native tongue and teaching it to others, especially his daughter-in-law. A lifelong member of Christ Lutheran Church in Wolf Lake, he was a Christian who often said: “It is in God’s hands.” Maybe that is why he didn’t deal with much stress. Or maybe it was his giving nature; material things were to be used, or better yet, shared. He would often bring someone into his house in troubled times, or simply give of what he had without thought of cost or return. In the end he was a gentle, giving, Christian man who loved unconditionally and was the rock of his family.

He will be lovingly remembered by his four children: Mark (Jamie) Jokela of Osage, Niles Jokela of Arvada, Colorado, Joel (Tamra) Jokela of Vergas, and Colleen (John) Carlson of Champlin; his six grandchildren: Justin (Ariece) Jokela of Arvada, Colorado, Zak (Alex) Jokela of Billings, Montana, Kristi Jokela of Arvada, Colorado, Sibinee Jokela of San Francisco, California, Kurt Carlson and Ryan Carlson both of Champlin; two sisters-in-law, Cecelia Ziegler and Olga Maki as well as many nieces and nephews.

Harvey was preceded in death by his wife, Gladene; his parents; two brothers: Albert and Eddie and three sisters: Frances, Alice and Margie.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, November 11 at Christ Lutheran Church in Wolf Lake with the Rev. David Walsh officiating. The organist will be Mary Harvala. The active casket bearers will be Randy Jokela, Jon Peter Jokela, Brian Aubin, Lara Daniels, James Ziegler, Kelly Ziegler, and Lee Ziegler. The honorary casket bearers will be William Niskanen, Justin Jokela, Zak Jokela, Kristi Jokela, Sibinee Jokela, Kurt Carlson and Ryan Carlson. Interment will be made in the Wolf Lake Cemetery next to his wife. Visitation will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Jones-Pearson Funeral Home in Park Rapids and will continue on Sunday at the church beginning at 1 PM.

Arrangements are entrusted to Jones-Pearson Funeral Home. To leave online condolences or to view the video tribute please visit

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