Leonard D. Skaalen, 93, of Harmony, formerly of Spring Grove
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 5:55 AM
Leonard D. Skaalen, 93, of Harmony, formerly of Spring Grove, died at Harmony Community Healthcare on Jan. 17, 2014.
Leonard was born on July 1, 1920 to Knute and Christine (Korstad) Skaalen in Boyd, Minn., the youngest of eight children. He attended and graduated from Boyd High School in 1938.
He worked for local merchants and farmers during his school years. He attended Business College before joining the United States Army. Leonard served with the 9th Infantry Division during World War II, serving in five Theaters of Operation, including Northern Africa and Europe. His service logged over 25,000 miles and took him to over 10 countries including England where he met and married his wife Rachel (nee Clifford).
Leonard and Rachel were united in marriage on Feb. 23, 1945 at St Mary's Church in Easton, Hampshire, England. They honeymooned in Bournemouth before Leonard was sent back to his unit. The story of their initial meeting was covered in many articles including MovieTone News.
Leonard participated in the Normandy invasion landing at Utah Beach on June 9, 1944. In 2005, Leonard was awarded the Medal of Jubilee of Liberty from the French government for his service during the invasion of Normandy.
Upon the end of the war, Leonard was sent back to the states where he went back to Boyd and spent the next year working to bring Rachel to the United States. He worked for the State Bank of Boyd under the GI Bill for a number of years before being offered employment with the First National Bank of Rushford in Rushford, MN.
Leonard worked as Cashier of the bank until 1957 when he was offered the position of Vice President with Onsgard State Bank in Spring Grove, MN. In 1966, Leonard and Rachel purchased the Harmony State Bank in Harmony, MN and owned it until 1987 when they retired from banking.
They moved to Eden Prairie, MN shortly thereafter and resided there until moving back to Heritage Grove of Harmony. They currently were residents of Harmony Community Healthcare where they resided since the fall. Leonard and Rachel loved each other dearly and enjoyed raising their family and traveling the world.
Leonard was active in numerous civic and banking organizations throughout his life including being a director of the Minnesota Bankers Association, Chairman of the Spring Grove School Board, Spring Grove Development Association, Church Council President of the Rushford Lutheran Church, Treasurer of the City of Rushford, Harmony Development Corporation, Houston and Fillmore County Bankers Assns, Lifetime member of the American Legion where he was Past Commander, member of the Rushford Fire Department for many years and numerous other organizations.
Leonard enjoyed being involved in work and civic related activities dedicated to improving the communities in which he lived and was instrumental in bringing and developing industry to Fillmore and Houston Counties.
Leonard enjoyed spending time with his family and grandchildren and loved watching and playing baseball, having played for the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues through 1940.
Leonard is survived by his loving wife Rachel; three children, Dr. Peter (Karen) Skaalen of Eden Prairie, MN, Diana (Laine) Satter of Edina, MN and Christopher (Debra) Skaalen of Harmony, MN; six grandchildren Michael Berglund, Alexander Skaalen, Ashleigh Skaalen, Samantha (Kyle) Koch, James Skaalen, Nicholas Satter and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Leonard was preceded in death by his parents; Knute and Christine Skaalen; sisters Gena Olson, Ellen Kjos, Josephine Grooms and an infant Sister; brothers Dolvin Skaalen, Kalmer Skaalen, and Morris Skaalen.
Leonard will be sorely missed by all who knew him.