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Clarence Koehler

STAPLES — Funeral services will be held for Clarence Koehler, age 90, of Staples, Minn. (formerly of New York Mills, Minn.) on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011, at 11 a.m. at St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in New York Mills with Pastor Ryan Stout officiating. Visitation will be on Tuesday from 4-7 p.m. at the Karvonen & Son Funeral Home in New York Mills. Visitation will also resume one hour prior to the funeral at church. Clarence will be laid to rest in St. Peter’s Cemetery, New York Mills, Minn.

Clarence Koehler, age 90, of Staples, Minn., died Saturday, Feb. 19 at Lakewood Health System Care Center in Staples.

He was born Feb. 7, 1921, in Pine Lake Township, rural Perham to Adolph and Martha (Rothiger) Koehler. He spent most of his childhood in Pine Lake Township except for three years when the family lived in Idaho.

Clarence enlisted in the U.S. Navy on Jan. 10, 1940, and was honorably discharged on Feb. 6, 1946. Most of his time in the Navy was spent as a Gunner’s Mate Second Class aboard the battleship USS Pennsylvania, with shorter times aboard the USS O’Brien and USS Steamer Bay. While a crewmember of the USS Pennsylvania, Clarence survived the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He was active in the Northern Minnesota Chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association for many years. After his military service Clarence worked on the Great Lakes ore boats for a number of years.

On Dec. 22, 1947, Clarence was united in marriage with Marion Jane Peltoniemi at the Apostolic Lutheran Church in New York Mills. Their marriage was blessed with three daughters: Carol, Mary and Laurie. Clarence and Marion spent the next 41 years owning and operating Koehler’s Resort on Big Pine Lake. They sold the resort in 1989 and moved to New York Mills. Marion passed away on Dec. 28, 2003, just six days after their 56th wedding anniversary. Clarence continued to live in their home in New York Mills until moving to Lakewood Manor in Staples in May 2007.

He enjoyed hunting, fishing, cutting wood and watching the Minnesota Twins.

Clarence is survived by daughters, Carol (Bill) Riley, Pine River, Mary (Michael J.) Brauch, Staples, and Laurie (Paul) Jorgenson, Otsego; grandchildren, Michael, Christina, Priscilla, Robert, Katharine, Abigail and Jason; great-grandchildren, Mikala, Britney, Joeseph, Kaitlyn, Payne, Sydney, Christopher, Emily, Isaac and Bailee; brother-in-law, Carl (Marilyn) Peltoniemi, Wadena; sister-in-law, Bernice Koehler, Cottage Grove; nephews, Dale Brasel, Eric Peltoniemi, Kip Peltoniemi; nieces, Kathy Houston and Joan Tait; and close family friend, Ellen Wood, New York Mills.

Preceding Clarence in death were his parents; wife, Marion; brother, Raymond; and sister and brother-in-law, Esther and Fred Brasel.

Arrangements were provided by the Karvonen & Son Funeral Home of New York Mills, Minn.