SERVICES: Visitation will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday at Faith United Lutheran Church in Iron. Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Monday at Faith United Lutheran Church with visitation one hour prior to the service. Arrangements are with the Range Funeral Home in Virginia.
Edwin John Takala, 91, farmer, agricultural teacher and humorist, passed away Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009, at his farm home in Iron. Ed was known for his wit, Finnish stamina (sisu) and lasting community contributions. Ed was born on May 13, 1917, to John and Hanna (Hakola) Takala. He attended a two-room school house and in 1934, graduating from Cherry High School. Ed continued his education at the Eveleth Junior College, completing his degree in Agricultural Education from the University of Minnesota in 1938.From 1938-1940 he served as vocational agricultural instructor at the Alango High School. He married Frances Stanich and they had a daughter, Mary. They were later divorced.
Ed served in World War II from 1943-1946 as United States Army Staff Sergeant in the 50th Armored Infantry, 6th Armored Division. He was awarded the Bronze Star, Combat Infantry Badge, Campaign Medal for Rhineland-Central Europe, and the Victory Medal in the European Theatre of Operations.Upon his return from World War II, Ed resumed teaching as a vocational agricultural instructor in Embarrass from 1946-1970, reviving the Embarrass Community Fair which continues to this day.
Ed married county public health nurse Madeline Niemela in 1950. They raised four children — James, Sally, Matthew and Theodore.While teaching, he operated the home farm, assisting and encouraging his children in 4-H and FFA projects as well as church, sports and school activities.After the Embarrass school consolidated with Babbitt, he advocated for creation of ISD 710 (2142) which preserved the remaining county schools. After Embarrass closed, Ed taught at Cherry High School from 1970-1971, continuing as Veteran’s Agricultural Instructor until 1979, when he retired to his farm.He initiated the St. Louis Valley/Livestock Association and revived Cherry Area Fair adding a Rodeo which ran for over fifteen years.
Ed was active as an FFA adviser and 4-H leader, serving 25 years as the sheep barn superintendent at the St. Louis County Fair.He was a member of Faith United Lutheran Church and served on its council. Ed belonged to a number of organizations and often served as president. Some of these included VFW, Toastmasters International, Knights of Kaleva, Iron Range Historical Society, Iron Senior Citizens, NAFEC, ASC, FHA, and the Cherry Co-op Store. He was a member of the Arrowhead Development Committee and MEA Legislative Council.
Ed enjoyed writing as a hobby and self-published humorous limericks, as well as his autobiography which was also published in Finland. He compiled and edited the Clinton Township Anthology for its centennial celebration. Ed, then 75, also did a tandem sky dive for the event.
Survivors include children and spouses, Mary Nisenbaum of Oakland, Calif., James (Janette) Takala of Iron, Sally Takala (Bruce Boyce) of Waseca, Minn., Matthew (Connie) Takala of Pine City, Minn., Theodore Takala (Teresa Ries) of St. Cloud, Minn.; grandchildren, Samantha (Aaron) Polk II of Las Vegas, Nev., Benjamin and Adam Nisenbaum of Piedmont, Calif., Lindsay (Jake) Grass of Pine City, Minn., John Takala of Iron, Rudy Takala of Pine City, Minn., Bryan and Jay Takala Boyce of Waseca, Minn.; great-grandchildren, Aaron Polk III and Preston Polk; numerous nieces and nephews.
Edwin was preceded in death by his parents; siblings; Sylvia in child hood, Arthur Takala, Signe Peterson, William Takala and Mildred Carlson; wife, Madeline; an infant daughter; and son-in-law, Joel Nisenbaum; nephews, John Takala, Phillip Peterson, Arthur Peterson and Floyd Carlson.