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John Pietila

John Pietila

Feb. 7, 1946-Oct. 14, 2013

John A. Pietila, 67, of Lake Park, died Monday, Oct. 14, 2013 in his home, under the care of Hospice of the Red River Valley.

John Alan Pietila was born to Helen and Emil Pietila on February 7, 1946 in Park Rapids. He graduated from Menahga High School in 1964 and attended Bemidji State College, where he graduated in 1968 with a BS degree in mathematics education.

John met Anita Swanson at Bemidji in the Lutheran Student Center, and they were married June 1, 1969. They lived in Deer Creek, where he taught math and coached football. In 1970 they moved to Lake Park, where he taught math and coached for 32 years, retiring in 2002. He also worked on the railroad, farmed, and worked in construction.

John was a member of Lake Park Lutheran Church, a charter member of the Lake Park Lions Club and a member of the Minnesota Education Association. He was a highly skilled carpenter and creative craftsman who made furniture, toys, gifts, and completed other household projects.

John also enjoyed restoring cars, including a 1931 Ford Model A and a 1951 Pontiac Chieftain, among others. John took great joy in flying his Ultralight plane, and even built a hang glider.

John was preceded in death by his parents, brother Emil Evald Pietila and sister, Joyce Pietila.

Surviving John are his wife of 44 years, Anita; children, Karen Dill of Tacoma, Wash., Kathryn (James) Jensen of Anchorage, Alaska, Kim Pietila of Detroit Lakes and John (Leslie) Pietila of Richfield; grandchildren Talya, Liam, Kyra, Caleb, Connie, and Jack; and brothers Alden Pietila, Jerome (Marie) Pietila and Tom Pietila.

Memorials may be given to the Lion's Club Diabetes Research Fund.

A memorial gathering was held from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16 at Wright Funeral Home in Hawley.

The memorial service was held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 17 in Lake Park Lutheran Church, Lake Park, with interment in the church cemetery.

There is an online guestbook at