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John Niemi

Feb. 11, 1924-Dec. 10, 2007

John W. Niemi, 83, of rural Callaway, died at his home on Monday, December 10, 2007, under the care of Hospice of the Red River Valley.

John William Niemi was born to Jacob and Esther (Barlund) Niemi on Feb. 11, 1924 in Shell Lake Township, rural Osage. He attended the District 82 (Linman School) country school; then Detroit Lakes High School. John moved to Fargo and studied at the Hansen Auto-Diesel/Welding and Auto Body Repair trade school. He graduated from the Federal Aircraft School in Fargo and became employed by Hayes Manufacturing Corp. of Grand Rapids, Mich., building Navy planes.

John entered the United States Army during World War II, serving in England. He was at Omaha Beach in France and the Battle of the Bulge. He was wounded in Germany and received the Purple Heart, five Battle Stars and one Silver Star honoring his service. John returned home after his discharge from the service, and was united in marriage with Blanche Rousu on June 15, 1946 in Henning, Minn. They lived in Ponsford, where John owned and operated a service station. The station was sold in 1947 and they moved to Chisholm and then Cherry, Minn. (1947-54), where he drove truck on the Iron Range.

In 1954 they moved to Menagha, where they farmed and John drove school bus. They moved to Seattle from 1966-70, returning to Callaway, where John drove truck for Clem Foltz and Kost Brothers. John and Blanche shared 61 years of marriage.

John was president of the Wadena County Farmers Union and had served for 19 years as the president of the Becker County Farmers Union. He enjoyed working in his woodworking shop, playing the accordion, fishing, hunting and telling jokes.

John is survived by his wife, Blanche Niemi of Callaway; daughter, Ailene (Gary) Rosentreter of Lake Park; sons, Donavon Niemi of Yelm, Wash., and Kenneth (Donna) Niemi of Callaway; sisters, Olga (Bob) Powell of Woodinville, Wash., Elma (Vester) Neighbors of Bainbridge Island, Wash., Elsie (Don) Torkelson of Juntura, Ore., and Aino Dougherty of Fort Worth, Texas; brother, Heino "Jack" (Frieda) Niemi of Oregon City, Ore.; 11 grandchildren; and 12 great grandchildren.

Preceding him in death were his son, Arnold "Arnie" Niemi; his parents; and two sisters, Lempi and Eilene.

Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, with a 7 p.m. prayer service, at the David-Donehower Funeral Home in Detroit Lakes, continuing for one hour prior to services at the church on Saturday.

Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 15 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Callaway, with the Rev. Del Stohs officiating. Interment is set for 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 17 in the Minnesota State Veteran's Cemetery in Little Falls, Minn.

The David-Donehower Funeral Home in Detroit Lakes is serving the family.