George Henry Happel passed away at Perham Living on September 8 at the age of 95.
George was born on July 27, 1917, in a house located near Perham on land homesteaded by his grandfather. His parents were William and Gertrude Happel.
He was married to his beloved wife, Agnes (Stromberg), for nearly 55 years and together they had three sons.
George lived through times of war and times of peace and through the Great Depression. He often recalled being thankful for having a job at 18 years of age working for the Civil Conservation Corps. After leaving the Corps, he "rode the rails" and went West to cut timber. George enlisted in the Navy in 1938 and served over seven years on various ships, including the Indianapolis. A significant moment in George's naval career was when his ship pulled into Pearl Harbor to be refueled the day after the attack. George began farming in 1947 after his Navy service and incorporated conservation farming practices early on. In addition to farming, George operated a business known as Happel Excavation.
George was a skilled machine operator and could weld, repair and build almost anything. He was well known and respected for being a very hardworking, capable, honest and honorable man whose word was his bond. He loved nature and being in the woods and spent decades caring for his beloved land, tilling the soil, and cutting wood. He enjoyed hunting, reading, and gardening. The coffee pot was always on at his home and he was always ready to visit over a cup of coffee.
George was active in his community and his church. He was involved in the Perham Pioneer Village and the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Association in Rollag, MN, and was a member of the VFW.
He was interested in the world and traveled extensively over the course of his life, including trips to China, Europe, Africa and Washington, D.C. while in this 80's and 90's. George lived a full and productive life. In fact, until six months ago, he was still working on his farm and living independently in the house he built 65 years earlier. He will be dearly missed by many relatives, friends, and neighbors.
Preceding George in death are his Agnes, son Daryl, brother Robert Happel, sisters Bernice Bunn, Gertrude Krogman and Helen Hillstrom. He is survived by his sister Margaret Neiman, sons Dennis (Joan) Happel, Daniel (Kathy) Happel, grandchildren Christopher, Sarah, Andrew, Travis and Faith, nine great-grandsons and numerous nieces and nephews.
A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, September 12, 2012 beginning at 11:00 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Perham, MN with Pastor Rob Pesola officiating. Burial will follow in the Perham Village Cemetery with full military honors conducted by Perham VFW and MNARNG Honor Guard. Visitation will be held on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 from 5-7 p.m. at the Schoeneberger Funeral Home, Perham, MN. Visitation will also be held at the church one hour prior to the funeral.
Memorials in remembrance of George can be made to Relay for Life and sent to United Community Bank, Attn: Carol Brasel, 155 2nd St SW, Perham, MN 56573.