Harald Petersen, 86, of Albert Lea

Published 9:48 am Thursday, May 10, 2012

Memorial services for Harald Jorgen Petersen, 86, of Albert Lea, will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Alden. The Rev. Jeff Laeger-Hagemeister will officiate. Interment will be at Alden Cemetery. Military honors will be accorded by Freeborn County area veterans organizations. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. To sign the guest book, go to www.bayviewfuneral.com.


Harald died Tuesday, May 8, 2012, at St. John’s Lutheran Home.

Harald Jorgen Petersen was born on Dec. 3, 1925, in Tyler, the son of Andrew and Dagny (Paulsen) Petersen. He was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran faith. Harald graduated from Alden High School in 1944. He enlisted in the Army Air Corp. In 1946 he attended St. Olaf College. On July 26, 1946, Harald was united in marriage to Marie Helland at Lime Creek Church in Emmons. Harald graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1950, farmed and taught high school sciences in Glenville until 1963. The family then moved to Estherville, Iowa, where Harald was vicepresident at the Iowa Trust and Savings Bank until 1973. Harald and Marie lived in Okoboji, Iowa, for two years then moved to Minnesota, living in Emmons, Alden and Albert Lea. Harald started a trucking company in 1989 and enjoyed 18 years of over-the-road trucking throughout the United States. Harald was recognized in 1998 as Outstanding Senior Citizen of Freeborn County. In 2001 Harald and Marie received a Jefferson Award presented to them in Washington D.C. by the American Institute for Public Service. In 1989 Harald traveled to Jamaica and served orphans and the needy by constructing a vocational school in Accompong and an orphanage in Montego Bay. He led mission teams to Jamaica from 1990 to 2008. His instruction to all when visiting Blossom Gardens Orphanage was to “hold the babies until your arms ache because this will be the only love they receive today.” He helped individuals in Jamaica by constructing homes and by providing academic scholarships. His mission work continues to influence the work and commitment of numerous individuals in their own mission projects and in JACOM, Jamaica Accompong Connection of Minnesota, a Freeborn County organization that provides support and leadership in helping Jamaicans learn skills and gain education that will lead to economic independence. Harald also served the communities he lived in through numerous projects. He was chairman of Morin Lake Days, Alden, in 1988 and worked for many years to beautify the city with flowers. He organized youth in church projects which included the construction of an outdoor chapel at Good Earth Village Camp. Harald approached life with integrity and a fierce determination to make the most of every opportunity to make the world a better place by sharing his talents and gifts.

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Survivors include his wife and partner in all things for 66 years, Marie; children: Barbara (Richard) Wurtzberger of Sleepy Eye, Karen (David) Whitehouse of Maple Grove, Annette Petersen of Albert Lea and David Petersen of Columbia Falls, Mont.; grandchildren: Christoffer (Kim) Whitehouse, Mitchell (Tiffany) Swanson, Andrea Rhodes, Marissa (Gerald) Coleman, AnnMarie (Marten) Staehnke, John (Christy) Wurtzberger, Andrew Petersen, Allyson Petersen, Sharon (Craig) Deutsch and Sarah Whitehouse; eight great-grandchildren; brother, Alvin (Dorothy) Petersen; many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Harald was preceded in death by his parents; daughter, JuliAnne Petersen; nieces: Eileen Petersen and Robin Lair; nephews: Frank Petersen, Jeff Paulsen and Tom Paulsen; brothers: Alfred Petersen and Roland Petersen; sister-in-law, Ardys Collen; and brother-in-law, Laurel Helland.