Harold William Hietala
05/20/1946 - 07/11/2020
Harold W Hietala passed away July 11 at Silver Bay Veterans Home. He was born to Arne and Ellen Hietala, raised in Pike and educated at Pike-Sandy School 14, Embarrass High, Virginia Jr College, UMD, and the U of M. In 1968 he was a summer term geologist for Hanna Mining, then taught school in Austin Mn. In 1969 he enlisted in the Army serving in Viet Nam in the XXIV Corps Artillery where he earned the Bronze Star, achieved the rank of Sergeant E-5 and began his battle with PTSD. After arriving home Harold worked for the MN Dept of Health in Mpls then moved back to the Iron Range working for St Louis County for 35+ years in Environmental Services, first with the Health Dept and from 1991 as Solid Waste Program Administrator until retirement. He served as Pike Town Board Supervisor and 10 years on the state Water Well Contractors and Mineral Explorers Advisory Council, was a Knight of Kaleva and a Jr Curling instructor to many area youth.
He met Janet in Jr College. They were married in 1973 and built their home in Pike raising daughter Mindy and son Eric. Grandchildren and Great-grandchildren came along to brighten his life. Harold was social and enjoyed his old classmates, the many friends made throughout Environmental Services, Kaleva and Curling through the years. Hunting, fishing, wild ricing, shedd hunting, gold panning “out west”, logging, potato planting, riding his Harley, visiting Linda……. You name it, he did it.
Harold loved his family and will be deeply missed by wife Janet, daughter Mindy (Paul) Martin, son Eric (Bethany), grandchildren Tanya Montgomery (Mike – children Amelia, Allen, Aiden, Alec and Aliza), Allen (Beth – children Will and Kate), Brendan (Anna- children Aria, Erika and Isabelle), brother Marvin (Marge) Hietala, special sister (neighbor, friend) Linda Gish, brother in-law Richard (Cindi) Knipfer and family, nieces Wendy, Shelley, close nephew Steven, and many cousins, especially Ron, Roger, Chuck and his lifelong friend William Raida. He was preceded in death by niece Donna and other relatives.
He was a perpetually brisk walking, task oriented, slim Finlander rushing through life…..an honest, loving, decent man. He will be missed.
In respect of the fact that Harold spent his life as a public servant concerned for and working for the public good, in this time of Covid a private memorial will be held. Arrangements are with Range Funeral Home in Virginia. To sign the online guest book or to send condolences, please visit www.rangefuneralhomes. The family thanks staff of A wing at Edgewood and staff at Silver Bay Veterans Home for their care of Harold.