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Aboard a busy ship in the Pacific

This was a special week at Fair Oaks Lodge for two reasons. It was the week our folks, still residents in the community, had a chance to take part in what happens in the future by casting their vote, a vote that carried every bit as much weight as that of the most prominent citizen on main street.

Changing one's address is just that: a change of address, with the same interests in the politics of their town that they have always had. We are grateful for any iota of togetherness that dispels the feeling of being left out, not counting anymore.

The annual Halloween treat party is another way, when we have the fun of putting treats in the hands of adorable little princesses or angels, of fearsome pirates or even devils, and many others. We missed them last year when the event was canceled because of flu.

This week well known and respected lawyer Carl Peltoniemi sits in the seat of the storyteller. Carl was born in 1923 in New York Mills to Walter and Thora Peltonieimi. He has one sister. Walter was a farmer as well as post master.

After high school, Carl attended Moorhead State University, then joined the Navy. He went to Northwestern College in Chicago and St. Paul College of Law.

Carl was sent to serve in the Asiatic-Pacific theater as captain and navigator of USS LST 943 (Landing Ship Tanks), which delivered tanks and troops from their ship to the beach (an amphibious assault ship). The LST saw action in Okinawa as well as Iwo Jima. She had seven officers and 124 men.

A clear photo of the LST-943 claims a well earned place of honor on Carl's wall. She was in the thick of the battle at Red Beach with Kamikaze pilots aimed her way, missing by inches. The air was full of anti-aircraft shells.

LST 943 is credited with downing two Japanese zeros. She was decommissioned in 1946, falling to the cutting torch in 1947. While it obliterated the craft, her brave service record will stay in the annals of history.

Carl married Marilyn Baglien in 1947. While in college Carl worked as a claims adjuster in St. Paul. They have three children.

After graduation, Carl's first position as a lawyer was in Duluth, then to Wadena where he practiced law until his 84th birthday.

When Carl was offered a judgeship, he turned it down. He liked being a lawyer. He recalled that in all of the 57 years, he has worked with only two homicides.

Carl has been intensely interested in forestry, serving as president of the State Forestry Association two terms. Besides planting many species of trees in his back yard, Carl owned an 80 acre plot of pine in the Nimrod area.

Until certain health issues get straightened out, Carl is spending some time under our big roof. Marilyn comes over on her motorized chair from their apartment at Fair Oaks to spend afternoons with him.