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Floyd Harvala 1934 – 2024

Floyd Delwin Harvala “The Wild Finlander”, age 89, of Menahga MN (formerly of Osage and Park Rapids) passed away on Sunday, February 4, 2024 at Green Pine Acres Nursing Home. Heart disease, and later Alzheimer’s, slowed Floyd in his later years and ultimately took him from us.
Floyd was born on April 16,1934 to Hugo B and Lila (Yoki) Harvala, the eldest of eight children. He was born in the sauna and grew up on the family farm in Carsonville Township. He began country school a year early by following his friend and neighbor Clifford Hendrickson to school. The school was located on the north side of the farm adjacent to the township road. Six years of country school was followed by two years in Osage. Floyd and Clifford were two of the first to be able to ride the bus to high school in Frazee, graduating in 1951. After high school he cut pulpwood, worked for a mine on the Iron Range driving heavy dump trucks, later driving a gravel truck on a road construction project. In 1953 Floyd was working on a gym/shop addition to the Park Rapids High School with Hugo B.
It was during this job when Floyd started courting Irene Kuismi, who was working at State Bank in Park Rapids. Lunch breaks became an opportunity to see each other. But then Floyd began his electronics education at Devry Technical Institute in Chicago in January of 1954.
It then became a long-distance courtship. In the Spring of 1954 Floyd needed a loan to continue school, so he went to a bank in Detroit Lakes with Hugo B and Lila. It turns out the loan was used to buy a wedding ring. Floyd and Irene were married August 15,1954 and moved to Chicago, and so began their journey together and became an amazing team!
Floyd finished the electronics course in 1955 and he and Irene moved back to Osage, MN where he began his career in TV repair working for Louis Noeske. Their daughter Renee arrived in June of that year and Jon was born two years later. Floyd eventually bought the business and the Harvala family moved to Park Rapids. In 1959 Floyd and Irene had a home built in Park Rapids where he also ran the business out of a walkout basement. Irene began keeping the books. Randy joined the family in 1961.
The ups and downs of running a small business required a reset. In 1964 Floyd sold the inventory to Park Electric and began working there. The Park Rapids house was also sold and the Harvala family moved to Osage. In 1965 Floyd became General Manager of Team Electronics in Moorhead, commuting from Osage. In the spring of 1966, the Osage house was rented and a home in Moorhead purchased. The Fall of 1967 found the Harvala family back in Osage. Floyd was doing contract repair work part-time in Moorhead and at the same time working out of a new garage in Osage. He eventually added the service of putting up/installing TV towers and radio station towers to his business. Floyd always said that he did not make a very good employee, so he had to run his own business.
In 1971 Floyd began working out of a TV and appliance business on Main Street in Park Rapids. By 1972 he purchased a building on East 1st St, leased space to the appliance business and by 1973 had acquired that appliance inventory. Harvala Sales and Service was now in the TV and Appliance business. Irene began working more at the store. Jon and Randy also worked at the store part-time and eventually full-time. Floyd continued to grow the business and employed many good people over the years. A house and an attached garage/warehouse was built across the alley while at the same time, the appliance store was built. Son-in-law Burt Hill “The Mild Finlander” also came into the business in 1986 and Renee gradually took over the bookkeeping from Irene. But in order for Floyd to “retire”, Randy took over the electronics business while Burt and Renee took over the appliance business in 1995.
Floyd also served Park Rapids by being elected to the City Council, serving from 1985 to 1991. He was then elected Mayor in 1991 and served until 1995. In “semi” retirement, Floyd finally became an employee again by working for Irene in her Finnish and Scandinavian import business called “Irene’s Favorite Things”. They traveled to many “Finn Fests” around the U.S. as well as other festivals. Floyd loved meeting and talking to people and these festivals gave the salesman in him an outlet. While working, and in retirement, Floyd & Irene enjoyed many other trips – winters in Hawaii plus numerous trips to Finland and Montana.
Floyd is survived by daughter Renee (Burt) Hill, son Jon (Mary Ann) Harvala, and daughter-in-law Tina Harvala. Seven grandchildren: Nicholas Hill (Rachael Pietila), Kathryn Branson, Karen (Phil) Skaro, Amanda Harvala (Trevor Hendrickson), Garrett Harvala (Cara Paulson), Daniel Harvala and Dylan Harvala. Twelve great-grandchildren: Sylvia Hill, Aidan Pietila, Mataya Branson, Marcus Branson, Milauni Branson, Raylan Skaro, Bobbi Ann Skaro, Tyson Stopher, Serena Hendrickson, Ariella Hendrickson, Zaylynn Harvala, and Zorah Harvala. Siblings: Jean Salmela, Harvey Harvala, Judy (Don) Henderson, Joe (Pam) Harvala, Connie (Dick) Kovala and Jacob Harvala. Plus numerous nieces and nephews. Floyd was preceded in death by his wife Irene in May of 2023, his son Randy Harvala in 2017, his parents, sister Adelyn Harvala, brother-in-law Gordon Salmela, sister-in-law Priscilla Harvala, grandsons Aaron and Mathew Harvala and great-grandchildren Zappa Floyd Harvala and Cayden Hendrickson.
In Floyd’s own words: “I passed to my great reward on Sunday, February 4, 2024.”
“Thank you for caring!”
Goodbye Dad (Grandpa)! Jumalan Rauhaa! (God’s Peace!)
Visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, April 12 at Pickerel Lake Apostolic Lutheran Church and continue one hour prior to the service at the church.
Memorial Services will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, April 13, 2024 at Pickerel Lake Apostolic Lutheran Church. Inurnment will be at Pickerel Lake Cemetery.
Arrangements are entrusted to Wevley Funeral Home of Sebeka. Online condolences may be left at www.wevleyfuneralhome.com.
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