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Harry Russell Ekelund

July 28, 1931 ~ June 24, 2020 (age 88)


Harry Russell Ekelund, 88, of McGregor, died Wednesday, June 24, 2020 in Aitkin, MN.

Harry was born along with his twin brother, Herman on July 28, 1931 in Aitkin to Richard and Ethel Ekelund.  He started working with his Dad, logging and working on the sawmill at age 14.  Harry attended McGregor High School where he loved and excelled at football.  He was a running back, kicker and punter and co-captain of his team.

In 1950 he joined the Navy.  Harry served in the Korean War as a radio operator on a P2V patrol bomber.  He participated in Operation Castle Bravo, the largest nuclear bomb test ever over Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

On August 11, 1952, while stationed at Whidbey Island, he married his high school sweetheart, Barbara Barott in Mt Vernon, WA.

In 1954 Harry was honorably discharged and returned to McGregor to make his home.  He continued working at his dads’ sawmill, which eventually became Ekelund Lumber.  He retired after over 50 years.

Harry was a member of the McGregor V.F.W Larson-Duneen Post #2747, Dale Wayrynen American Legion Post #23 of McGregor,  NRA, Minnewawa Sportsmen’s Club and Grace Lutheran Church.

Harry carried the US Flag for the VFW for over 50 years for many parades, memorial services, and funerals.  He loved God, his country, and his family.

Harry was passionate about hunting and fishing.  He bowled on several leagues and loved trap shooting, which he continued to enjoy for many years.

Harry was preceded in death by his his wife of 64 years, Barbara; parents; his infant daughter Geri and his beloved daughter, Lori Ann; five brothers; Walley, Cliff, Pete, Ralph and his twin brother Herman; 1 sister, Doris.

He also lost three special springer spaniels, Lobo, Snuffy and Punk and had a special place in his heart for his sons’ yellow labs.

Harry will be lovingly remembered by his son, Steve Ekelund; granddaughter, Casey Belz (Ben) and the newest love of his life, his great-granddaughter Emily Belz; 2 sisters-in-law, Dorie and Janice and many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends who loved him dearly.

The family wishes to thank the nurses and staff at Riverwood Healthcare Center for their wonderful care of Harry. 

Due to Covid-19, services at Grace Lutheran Church in McGregor will NOT be held.  The family will be having private graveside services at Pine Needle Cemetery, McGregor.  Military Honors will be provided by McGregor V.F.W Larson-Duneen Post #2747 and Dale Wayrynen American Legion Post #23 of McGregor.  The family asks that NO flowers or cards be sent.  Memorials in Harry’s memory may be sent to the Riverwood Foundation, 200 Bunker Hill Drive, Aitkin, MN 56431.  To leave an online condolence, go to:  Arrangements are with McGregor Funeral Home, McGregor.

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