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Terry Karkela 1954 – 2024

Terry Alan Karkela, age 69, beloved husband, father, grandpa and friend passed away Saturday, March 9, 2024 after a seven-year courageous battle with Frontotemporal Dementia.
Terry was born July 7, 1954 in Wadena, MN to Howard and Joyce (Roeske) Karkela. Terry grew up on a farm in Sebeka, MN with his three siblings. Terry attended Sebeka High School, then furthered his education at the University of Minnesota later graduating from U of MN Law School.
Soon after law school, Terry moved to Perham to begin his practice of law. During this time, he met Mary McDonald and they were wed on April 3, 1982 and were blessed with two wonderful daughters, Katie and Holly. He cherished his time with his daughters, actively participating in their activities. In 1996, they moved to Little Pine Lake which was one of Terry’s lifelong dreams. Some of his favorite memories were times on the water with his family. He treasured hunting with Katie, golfing with Holly, and traveling with Mary. He was blessed with four grandchildren: Mia, Ava, Colton, and Hudson who affectionately knew him as Papa.
Terry loved serving the Perham community. Up until 2017, he was an active member of many community boards and committees and also served as mayor for six years. Along with his partners, he successfully managed Karkela, Hunt & Cheshire Law Firm. He was an active member of the Minnesota State Bar Association for the Real Property Section. He was elected into the American College of Real Estate Lawyers in 2011 after being nationally recognized as a premiere real estate attorney as well as being selected as one of Minnesota’s Super Lawyers for several years in a row.
Terry is survived by his caring wife Mary; daughters: Katie (Doug) Hoffman, and Holly (Seth) Rooney; four grandchildren: Mia (8), Ava (5), and Colton (1) Hoffman and Hudson (1) Rooney; his mother Joyce Karkela; sister Gail (Dave) Silver; brother Dave Karkela; along with nieces and nephews.
Terry was preceded in death by his father Howard Karkela; his sister Kathy Cavanagh; and father and mother-in-law Robert and Alice McDonald.
Memorial gifts may be given to Patriot Assistance Dogs in Detroit Lakes, MN or The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration.
Visitation will be 4-7 p.m. with a prayer service at 7 on Sunday, March 17 at Calvary Lutheran Church in Perham. Visitation will resume from 9-10 a.m. followed by the funeral service at 10 on Monday, March 18 at Calvary Lutheran Church. Burial will be in the church cemetery and a reception will follow at Perham Lakeside Golf Club.
Schoeneberger Funeral & Cremation Service, Perham, MN (218) 346-5175. Online condolencess may be left at

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