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Elmer J. Soukup

PINE RIVER — Elmer John Soukup, age 95, of Pine River, died on Dec. 17, 2011, at Whispering Pines Good Samaritan Society-Pine River. Services for Elmer will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 22 at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Pine River. Interment will be at Ponto Lake Cemetery. Visitation will be Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Kline Funeral Home, Pine River, and one hour prior to the service.

Elmer John was born Feb. 15, 1916, in Sleepy Eye, Minn., to Joseph and Mary (Lang) Soukup. During WWII, he served in the 239th Signal Battalion in Africa, Italy, France and Germany. A month after discharge, he married Hildegarde Hammerschmidt on Nov. 14, 1945, in Wabasso, Minn. He had an entrepreneurial spirit, buying a milk route and driving truck for Stark Creamery of Sleepy Eye. In 1959, he and Hildegarde bought Napanee Beach Resort on Lake Hattie near Backus, Minn. He also drove school bus for the Backus School District for many years. He enjoyed running the resort and visiting with the many friends that returned year after year. He was a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church and Knights of Columbus.

Elmer was an avid outdoorsman. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, but especially trapping. He was a member of the MN Trapper’s Association and trapped from the age of 12 until 93.

His kitchen door was always open, warmly welcoming friends of all ages. He loved spending time with his family and was especially interested in the lives of his grandchildren.

Elmer is survived by children, Leo (Ruth) Soukup, of Bemidji, Karen (Jerry) Tank, of Bemidji, Verdale (Kathy) Soukup, of Backus, Fred (Roxanne) Soukup, of Pequot Lakes, Joleen Soukup, of Durham, N.C., Bob (Lori) Soukup, of Backus; daughter-in-law, Debbie (Bevan) Schraw, of Duluth; 23 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren; sister, Lucille Simonson; brothers, Edward (Pat) Soukup and Victor Soukup.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Hildegarde; son, Lonny; grandson, Steven; two brothers; and one sister.

Arrangements are with Kline Funeral Home, Pine River.