Olav Haugen, 89, Albert Lea

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Olav Ragnvald Haugen was born March 11, 1917, on the family farm, which was located between St. James and Madelia, to Hans and Laura Haugen. He died Jan. 7, 2007 and services were already held. He had 10 older half-sisters and brothers, and four younger sisters and brothers. Two of his siblings survive.

The family moved to rural Angus in his early childhood, and then to the Albert Lea area when he was 12. He had vivid memories of the move to Albert Lea when he and his dad rode in the railroad box car with the cattle and equipment.

It was at East Freeborn Lutheran Church, northeast of Albert Lea, that he met Edith Stephensen. They were married Jan. 4, 1939, in a marriage that lasted 68 years and three days. They were inseparable – when you saw one of them you knew the other was close by. Four children were born to them: Al (special friend Pauline Hart), Larry (Leslie), Sandi (Rick) Wallestad, and Brenda High. They have 10 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren (and countingl).

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Olav worked at various occupations in his early life. He worked at a creamery, cut cord wood and drove truck for his brother in the Crookston area, often hauling livestock and freight to and from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. It was while living in Crookston that Olav and Edith, were married. Al joined the family there. They moved to Albert Lea in 1940 where Olav worked as a toolmaker for Enderes. In 1942 they moved to Tacoma, Wash., where he worked in a plywood mill and then as a sheet metal worker building aircraft carriers at the Todd Shipyard for the duration of World War II. Larry and Sandi were born there.

After the war the family moved back to Albert Lea where he worked as a toolmaker again, and then joined Donovans, a cattle feed manufacturer. Brenda completed the family in 1950.

In 1961 the next big career change came as they bought the Gambles Hardware Store in Amboy. They enjoyed working together there until they sold the store in 1983 and retired.

But Olav wasn’t just working. He was an active leader of the Twin Lakes 4-H Club for many years. He was on the church councils of both Lunder and Jackson Lake Lutheran churches. He served as mayor of Amboy for 11 years, including being elected for one term as a write-in candidate. Other activities included active involvement in the Lions Club and the Chamber of Commerce.

Since that time they have traveled extensively, seeing far more of the world than they ever thought they would. They enjoyed traveling the U.S. and Canada in their RV, taking extended trips to about every point on the compass. Their other travels have included trips to Europe, South America, Africa, Australia and the Orient. As snowbirds they spent winters in several locations, and came to spend more and more time in the Yuma, Ariz., area. They finally decided to &8220;settle down&8221; there three years ago and bought a winter home in the Yuma Foothills.

Over the years Olav and Edith have developed many friendships, both at home and in their travels, which they greatly treasure.