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Toivo Eskola

Toivo Emil Eskola, 82, of New York Mills, passed away May 23, 2009, at the Elders' Home in New York Mills.

He was born July 11, 1926, at home in Newton Township, rural New York Mills, to Peter Emil and Sanna (Aho Maki Niska) Eskola. He grew up on the family farm three miles south of New York Mills with his only sibling Alma. He was baptized in 1927 by Matt Erkila and confirmed by John Paana on June 29, 1941, at the Apostolic Lutheran Church. He attended District 105 country school. He worked on the railroad when he was 16 years old. He worked on various farms throughout the area and North Dakota. He was drafted into the Army on Nov. 30, 1950 and served during the Korean War. He was assigned to the 37th AAA Gun Battalion in Japan. He was honorably discharged from active duty in October 1952 at the rank of Private E-1. He then was an Army Reservist until November 1956. He worked in the mines on the Iron Range, paper mills in Cloquet, Taconite plant in Silver Bay and then he worked at St. Paul Ramsey Hospital in maintenance from 1965 until retirement in 1986. On June 29, 1984, he married Luella Schwartz in Pike, Minn., and they would have been celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary next month. He enjoyed primitive camping and spent many vacations in the Perham area. After he retired, he thoroughly enjoyed many tour bus trips with Luella throughout the lower 48 states. He was born of Finnish immigrants and was very proud of his heritage. He had a great sense of humor in his quiet nature and always had a smile on his face. His favorite saying was "you can always tell a Finn, but you can't tell him much" with an added chuckle. His health has recently been declining and after a month of hospitalization in Merit Care Hospital in Fargo, he was then transferred to the Elders' Home in New York Mills.

Funeral services were held Tuesday, May 26, at the Apostolic Lutheran Church in New York Mills. The pallbearers were Caleb Hill, Jordan Hagel, Joey Hagel, Jaric Tharaldson, Leonard McLeod and Dennis McLeod. Military honors were provided by Charles D. Center VFW Post 3289 of New York Mills. He was laid to rest in Woodland Cemetery, New York Mills. Arrangements were provided by the Karvonen & Son Funeral Home of New York Mills. Condolences may be sent online at

Survivors include his wife, Luella Eskola of New York Mills; stepdaughters, Marlene (Wayne) Johnson of Bemidji, Teresa (Jon Ebersviller) Stoderl of Perham, and Brenda (Doug) Hill of Brainerd; stepson, Jim (Robyn) Hagel of Ottertail; seven grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; sisters, Alma McLeod of New York Mills; four nephews; a sister-in-law, Bernice Bollig; brothers-in-law, Wilfed (Margaret) Schwartz, Ralph (Dot) Schwartz, Don (Sandy) Schwartz, Nick (Joyce) Schwartz, Alvin (Pat) Schwartz; many other relatives; and a host of friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother-in-law, Kenneth McLeod; a niece; and his stepson, Mike Hagel on March 25, 2009.