Elmer L. Hovland, 90 years old, passed away peacefully on March 29, 2012 at the MN Veterans Home surrounded by his family.
Elmer LeRoy Hovland was born on June 20, 1921 in Kenneth MN to Nels J. Hovland and Mary (Remme) Hovland. He was a graduate of Luverne High School and worked at AR Woods Manufacturing in Luverne. It was here that he met his future wife, Harriett Querna. They were united in marriage June 2nd, 1943. He entered the United States Army April 10, 1943. During his military career, he served as tank unit commander for Company D of the 32nd Armored Regiment of the 3rd Armored Spearhead Division. He served in WWII and fought in battles in Northern France and Belgium, through the Siegfried Line in the Ardennes and through Germany to the Elbe River. While in Europe he was awarded the Silver and Bronze Star Medals for his achievements against the enemy in Belgium in January of 1945. He was also credited for rescuing two Jewish young boys who escaped from a death march in central Germany. These two young men immigrated to America and became US citizens. Elmer and the two young men were reunited after 57 years at an Army reunion for Company D in Falls Church, Virginia. He was discharged from the service in September of 1945 as 1st Lieutenant.
Upon his discharge from the service they lived in several communities before settling in Luverne. His career as a carpenter included such notable buildings in Luverne such as the Rock County Bank and First National Bank. He built many homes and was known for his quality workmanship.
He was a 40-year member of the Norse Glee Club and an active member of Blue Mound Lutheran Church near Kenneth, MN and Grace Lutheran Church in Luverne. He also participated in productions by the Green Earth Players such as Fiddler on the Roof and others. His greatest joy was taking the family on camping and boating vacations. He also enjoyed fishing and golfing.
He is lovingly remembered by his four children and seven grandchildren – Jon (Charlene) of Sioux Falls and their children Amy (Todd) Ibis of Sioux Falls and Grant (Kara) of Sioux City, IA; Steve (Corrine) of San Francisco, CA; Mark (Deb) of Luverne and their children Heather (Andy) Hess of Lakeville, MN and Erik (Jessica) of Dallas, TX; Christine (Tom) Surprenant of Eyota, MN and their children Elissa (Dallas) Rosin of Montpelier, ND, Aaron of Winona, MN and Kiersten of Sioux Falls. He also has 10 great grandchildren. He is survived by one sister Rosie (Kenneth) Sandstede of Hills, MN and sisters-in-law, Evelyn Hovland of Alexandria MN and Marie Querna of New Richland, MN together with many other nieces and nephews.
His wife, Harriett, died on July 29, 2000. He was also preceded in death by an infant sister, Esther, his brother, Leo Hovland, sisters Hilda Jaqua ,Gladys Watts, Peryl Berning, and Amelia Frakes.
Elmer will be remembered for his strong Christian faith and loving commitment to his family and country.