Helmer “Haaky” Lawrence Haakenson, age 102, of Luverne, died Saturday, October 30, 2021, at the Minnesota Veterans Home in Luverne. He was born to Lars and Anna (Freim) Haakenson on February 20, 1919, at the family home in rural Rock County. He attended country school grades 1-7 finishing with 8th grade in Luverne.
In 1940, Haaky enlisted in the army. He was trained to fix radar sets. He spent the majority of his military years in Kodiak, Alaska. He was honorably discharged in 1945.
Haaky attended Dunwoody College in Minneapolis where he completed their Electrician program. He worked for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Sioux Falls, SD for the majority of his career, retiring in 1981.
Haaky married Joan Serie on February 8, 1947, at St. Stephen Catholic Church in Minneapolis. They lived in Minneapolis until 1948 when they returned to Luverne. Initially, Haaky worked in Luverne but spent most of his career in Sioux Fall. Often he spent weekends doing electrical work for friends and family.
He enjoyed golfing. He walked with his brother-in-law Jack Carlson until Jack lent him golf clubs. That was a start that lasted to age 98. He played couples bridge with his wife Joan. They also enjoyed dancing.
Haaky worked on his family tree after his sister Ethel showed him all her research. During his research he learned his dad Lars spelled his last name Haakonson on his citizenship papers. As a result, Haaky changed his tombstone to Haakonson insisting that was the correct spelling.
He was a member of St. Catherine Catholic Church, Luverne; the Knights of Columbus serving as Grand Knight for 2 years; VFW serving on the firing squad 1980-2005; Last Man Club earning the title as he was the last survivor. He had the honor of meeting Mary Pawlenty and her husband then Governor Tim Pawlenty as Mary adopted the Luverne group. Haaky, along with his son Mike, traveled on the Southwest Minnesota Honor Flight for World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., April 30-May 1, 2010.
Haaky was a faithful servant as shown by his Perpetual Adoration time replacing his wife Joan after her death in 2004, Eucharistic Minister, serving as an usher for funerals after he retired, Honor Guard for veterans’ funerals, treasurer with Joan for St. Catherine, assisting the VFW bingo games at the Minnesota Veterans’ Home, removing snow for seniors who lived near his home, and assisting at Senior Dining.
Four days before his 100th birthday, He moved into the Oaks Assisted Living facility and then Minnesota Veterans Home. He said the facility was home and the best place to spend his remaining years. The health care workers took great care of him.
Haaky is survived by his children and spouses, Cheryl and Bob Dodge, Concord, CA; Marsha and Gary Gabrielson, Gary, SD; Sandy and Dave Parpart, Delano, MN; Mike and Pam Haakenson, Luverne, MN; Mary and Mark Aukes, Luverne, MN; grandchildren, Troy and Tami Burnett; Chad (Lisa) Gabrielson; Mandy (fiancé Terry Hendrix) and Eric Parpart; Andy (Meghan) Haakenson and Lindsay (Tyler) Kashdan; Jake (Christina) Aukes and Mariah (Sam) VanOrman; great-grandchildren, Spencer Burnett, Aubrey Burnett, Alyssa Gabrielson, Talia Gabrielson, Brielle Haakenson and Baby Haakenson April, 2022; and his sister, Lorraine Eggimann, Santa Maria, CA.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Joan in 2004; and two sisters, Ethel Carlson and Helen Probst.
We will not forget you. We have your name written on our hearts. Blessed be his memory.
Visitation will be Tuesday from 5-8 pm, with Parish Prayers at 7:30 pm followed by a Rosary Service, at the Dingmann Funeral Home in Luverne. Visitation also one hour prior to the service at the church on Wednesday. Funeral Mass will be 10:30 am Wednesday at St. Catherine Catholic Church, in Luverne, officiated by Monsignor Gerald Kosse. Burial with full Military Honors provided by the Luverne American Legion & VFW, will be in the St. Catherine Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are prefered to the Minnesota Veterans Home, in Luverne, or St. Catherine Catholic Church.
To live stream the funeral service please visit http://www.facebook.com/DingmannFH
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