Earl James Damm, 63, of Wadena, passed away Nov. 26, 2008, surrounded by his family. He battled dementia, ALS, and cancer with immense strength and courage.
He was born in Sauk Rapids, Minn., on Jan. 29, 1945, to Eugene and Catherine (Lang) Damm. When he was 3 years old, his family moved to Bluegrass, where he was raised. He then resided in Wadena all his life. He attended School District 14 of Bluegrass and graduated from Wadena High School in 1964. After school, he enlisted in the Navy to serve his country during the Vietnam War from 1964-1969 aboard the USS Oriskany. After the service, he met Paula Jane Knuttila from Perham. After three short weeks of dating, the couple was married on April 10, 1971. He and Paula were happily married for 37 years.
For almost 40 years, he worked as a heavy equipment operator/road construction worker with Kern and Tabery Construction of Wadena. After retiring from road construction, he worked part time for the Wadena Post Office until fully retiring in January 2008. He enjoyed hunting with his friends and children, muscle cars (especially GTOs), road work, fishing, family, outdoors, western movies, and car restoration. He prided himself in hard work. His laughter, memories, and stories were never-ending. He was a great man who loved his life, family and friends. His strength, humor, positive attitude, kindness and faith touched the hearts of all who knew him.
The Mass of Christian Burial was held Wednesday, Dec. 3, at St. Ann's Catholic Church in Wadena, with the Rev. Donald Wagner as celebrant. Interment was in Calvary Cemetery in Wadena. Honorary pallbearers were all of his grandchildren. Active pallbearers were Brad Loween, Dwight Kern, David Nyberg, Brian Politiske, Gerald Schwartz, Brad Kern, John Stigman, Scott Wright, Tim Popowski and Steve Kern. Arrangements were with the Johnson Memorial Home in Wadena (www.johnsonmemorialhome.com).
Survivors include his wife, Paula; son Erik Damm of Britt, and Dana Damm of Wadena; daughters, Hally Damm of Wadena, Amy (Chris) Lillguist of Sebeka, and Laurie (Travis) Christianson of Sydney, Mont.; five grandchildren, three stepgrandchildren, all of whom he was very proud; special friends, Chad, Alexa, and Colby Graphenteen, and Andrea Westby; and six sisters, Elaine (John) Nyberg of Spring Lake Park, Joanne (Lloyd) Schwartz of Wadena, Irene (Rich) Politiske of Roseville, Marge Kern, Delores (Dave) Stigman, and Deb (Doug) Wright, all of Wadena.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Eugene and Catherine; and brother-in-law, Franklin Kern.