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1928 Clarence 2018

Clarence Raymond Pihlaja

September 24, 1928 — April 3, 2018

CLARENCE RAYMOND “Ray” PIHLAJA September 24, 1928 – April 3, 2018    Clarence Raymond “Ray” Pihlaja, age 89, a lifelong Snellman, MN area resident, peacefully went to be with his Lord on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at the Oak Crossing Nursing Home in Detroit Lakes, MN with his loved ones at his side.    Ray was born on September 24, 1928 to Arthur and Impi (Longfors) Pihlaja at his family home in Shell Lake Township of Becker County, MN. He grew up helping on his parent’s farm and attended the Shell Lake Country School. As a young man, Ray entered the US Army where he proudly served his country as an infantry man on the battle lines of the Korean War. He received his honorable discharge on November 5, 1953 and returned home to Minnesota. He was united in marriage to Donna Rose Trotterchaud on June 18, 1955. Their marriage was blessed with four children: Dan, Susie, Carolyn and Patti. In their early years together they ventured to Chicago where Ray worked road construction. In 1959, they returned to the Snellman area where they purchased a farm where they made their home, raised their family and lived out the rest of their days. Ray continued working road construction until the mid-1960’s when he and Donna purchased a fine herd of Holstein dairy cows and began farming full time. They worked side by side in milking and caring for their cattle. Ray also enjoyed the rigors of transforming the rugged land into a productive farm and raising the crops needed to feed his herd. In the mid-1970’s Ray sold the dairy cows and started raising angus beef cattle which he enjoyed working with until the time of his retirement. Clarence loved the outdoors and especially enjoyed hunting and fishing the area forests and lakes. He and Donna enjoyed traveling and had purchased a 5th wheel Camper that they pulled throughout the United States often taking grandchildren with them on their adventures. They had also traveled abroad to Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and Alaska and visited almost all of the lower 48. Ray was a faithful and active member at Gethsemane Lutheran Church of Snellman and was instrumental in the building of the church. His life was deeply saddened by the death of his precious wife, Donna in 2004. Above all, Ray treasured his family and enjoyed times spent with his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.    Ray will be lovingly remembered by his four children: Dan (Murlene) Pihlaja of Snellman, Susie Zick of Detroit Lakes, MN, Carol (Dan) Olson of Fargo, ND and Patti (Steve) Terry of Santee, CA; 17 grandchildren; 20 great grandchildren; his sister, Ruth Hanson of Detroit Lakes, MN; as well as many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.    He was preceded in death by his wife, Donna; his son-in-law, Jerry in 2012, his granddaughter, Carly in 1982, his brother, Elmer; brother-in-law, Reuben and sister-in-law, Rosie.    Funeral services will be held 11 AM Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Snellman with Rev. Scott Muehlberg officiating. Sue Zick will be the pianist and his granddaughter, Gail Clendening will be the soloist and will sing, “God Will Take Care Of You”. The active casket bearers will be his grandsons and the honorary casket bearers will be his granddaughters. Interment will be made in the Snellman Cemetery. Military honors will be provided by the Star Of The North Marine Corps League and the Wolf Lake VFW Post. Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 PM Friday, April 20, 2018 at the Jones-Pearson Funeral Home in Park Rapids and will continue for one hour prior to the service at the church.     To view the video tribute or to leave online condolences please visit www.jonespearson.com
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