Range Funeral Homes


Howard Victor Paakkonen, Sr.

01/22/1921 - 10/06/2019

Howard Victor Paakkonen, Sr., 98, passed away peacefully on Sunday, October 6, 2019, at Diamond Willow Assisted Living in Mountain Iron surrounded by his family and friends.  Howard was born January 22, 1921, to Andrew and Elizabeth (Koskala) Paakkonen at their home in Cloverdale, MN.  As a young boy, he attended Greenway Schools and later enlisted in the U.S. Navy Seabees. Beginning March of 1942, he was stationed in the Pacific where he served during WWII. Three years later, on October 7, 1945, he received an Honorable Discharge.

After the War, the younger Howard worked with his older brother, Wayne, logging and running a sawmill. Howard always possessed an entrepreneurial spirit and decided to forge ahead in the new venture, leaving behind a self-created milk route, original tins cans and all.  By 1951, he was hired by Pacific Isle Mining Company, which later became Inland Steel and is presently known as ArcelorMittal.

On June 9, 1951, a new chapter began in the life of Howard Victor Paakkonen when he was united in marriage to Elsie Snell in Hibbing. The couple began their life together at the original Paakkonen homestead in Cloverdale, welcoming seven children. The mining company moved the family to Black River Falls, WI, in 1969 and then to Britt in 1976. Howard retired in 1982 from the Minorca Mine in Virginia.

Howard was exceptionally proud of his Finnish heritage and often held phone conversations using his fluency in the language with relatives abroad. His Sisu kept him busy during 37 years of retirement. He was a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the Cook VFW Post 1757, and the CCC alumni group at Ironworld. He was a true ‘jack of all trades’, and he enjoyed helping others, hunting, fishing, and spending time with his family and friends. He could often be heard exclaiming “what the put!” and shaking his head, while watching his grandchildren’s antics.

Howard is survived by his children, Howie (Cheryl) of Nashwauk, David (Debbie) of Mountain Iron, Karen (James) Fitz of Maplewood, Sue (Michael) Dahlgren of Two Harbors, Dale (Vanessa) of Mahtomedi, and Dennis (Cindy) of Wakeman, OH; 17 grandchildren; 12 great grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Elsie; son and daughter-in-law, Richard and Cindy of Cook; an infant daughter; 4 sisters; and 2 brothers.

A memorial service officiated by Pastor Ellen Taube will be held on Monday, October 14, 2019, at Messiah Lutheran Church in Mountain Iron at 11 am with visitation one hour prior. Arrangements are with Range Funeral Home in Virginia. To sign the online guest book or to send condolences, please visit www.rangefuneralhomes.com.

4 thoughts on “Howard Victor Paakkonen, Sr.”

  1. carol keister says:

    Ted, Joe and family, I’m sorry for the loss of your dear one. I appreciate his service to our country and he has my utmost respect. May God hold you all close and give you his comfort. Love, Carol and Mike Keister

  2. Margaret Randazzo says:

    So sorry about Uncle Howard, the last of his family.
    I am so impressed with his obituary. There is much I didn’t know. What a good man who raised a wonderful
    family and served our country. God bless you all.

  3. Margaret Randazzo says:

    The above is from Margaret Randazzo.

  4. Julia Schrom says:

    Dear Family, Great Uncle Howard was amazing. His memory even at 98 was spot on. I’m so glad I was able to visit with him in July. I’m sure my Grandma Helen, the oldest of the Paakkonen kids has welcomed her little brother with open arms and love. Great Uncle Howard was the best man at my parents, Jim Rogers and Margaret Kowalski’s wedding. Aunt Elsie sent us pictures…the only ones we have.
    I’ll never forget being out at Dewey Lake for the Fitz 4th of July extravaganza when my adult daughter, Angela Emery asked Uncle to teach her Finn. They went around the room, she would say…how would you pronounce this pointing to a chair, he would say Chairie, on and on it went. She finally said. Ok, Ok, I’ve got it…pointing to the table she said….and this Uncle Howard is a Tableee, Uncle starting chuckling and laughing, must have went on for 5 minutes. From that moment on I was Julie….Tableee’s Mom. Every time we would talk or see each other he would chuckle about it. When he was leaving Ted’s wedding he told someone to go get Julie Tableee’s Mom to say goodbye. That goodbye was very difficult because I knew it would be the last time I saw him on Earth. Uncle Howard and Aunt Elsie raised amazing kids. Go Rest High Uncle! You beat them all, almost 99! I will hold you forever in my heart.
    God Bless you all. Cousin, Julia…aka Tableee’s Mom

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10/14/2019 at 11:00 am
Messiah Lutheran Church, Enterprise Drive South, Mountain Iron, MN, USA

Visitation begins at 10:00 am