Carl Wallace Stinar Peltoniemi, Sr., an attorney in Wadena for 55 years, died March 1, 2012 at Tri-County Hospital after a short illness. He was a resident of Fair Oaks Lodge, Wadena, MN.
Carl was born in New York Mills on August 23, 1923 to Walter and Thora (Stinar) Peltoniemi. He married Marilyn Lois Baglien of Pelican Rapids on June 19, 1948. They had three children, Eric, born in 1949; Carl, Jr. (Kip), 1951; and Joan, 1954.
Carl graduated from New York Mills High School in 1941 and attended Moorhead State Teachers College before enlisting in the United States Navy in 1942. In officers’ training at Minot State Teachers College and Northwestern University, Chicago, he studied such subjects as spherical trigonometry and became a navigator. He was commissioned an ensign in 1943. Carl’s maiden voyage was in a convoy from Norfolk, VA, up to New York City, and then down to the Panama Canal. After passing through the Canal Zone, he guided his ship (an LST) on an 8,000-mile, solo voyage to Hawaii—arriving on time, despite overcast skies. Carl participated in the invasions of Okinawa and Iwo Jima, made multiple supply runs to the Philippines, and took part in the initial occupation of Japan in Nagasaki. He finished his Navy service as a lieutenant and took command of the ship briefly after the war.
Following the war, Carl returned to Moorhead State and met Marilyn. They moved to Saint Paul where Carl attended night classes at Saint Paul College of Law (now known as William Mitchell College of Law) while working as an insurance adjuster and supporting a family. He graduated in 1951, second in his class. After working in a law firm in Duluth, he moved to Wadena in 1953 and started a private practice. He served as Wadena County Attorney for one term, and specialized in property and probate law, accumulating a vast knowledge of the families and properties in Wadena, Otter Tail and Todd Counties. He also worked with, and had close friends, in area financial institutions, real estate companies, co-ops, farming operations and in small businesses. After “semi-retirement” in the Nineties, Carl continued to practice law out of his house, officially retiring at age 84.
Carl was also a well-known tree farmer who operated “The Wobegone Forest” (a name he adopted before the famous radio show aired) between Sebeka and Nimrod. He served two terms as the first President of the Minnesota Forestry Association in the early Eighties, and was on the board of directors of Central Minnesota Small Woodlot Owners Association. During his six decades in forestry, he planted thousands of trees and was a proponent of multiple-use woods management. His later plantations promoted biodiversity and mixed-species growth. In addition to growing trees, Carl photographed nature, and would frequently travel to the North Shore, the American West and Alaska, stalking plants and animals with his camera. He published his photographs in the WCCO Weather Guide and wrote articles for the Minnesota Volunteer.
Carl served several terms on the Wadena County Park Board, helping to develop recreational and historical sites on the Crow Wing River. He was instrumental in acquiring and initiating the “Old Wadena” site. He also served on Wadena County Zoning Board, as well as on the Upper Great Lakes Regional Development Committee. In the late Nineteen-Sixties, he reorganized the long-dormant Wadena County Historical Society, and helped site and mark the path of the old Red River Trail through the county.
By no means was Carl “all business.” He enjoyed mixing with friends in Wadena, New York Mills, Bluffton and Nimrod, swapping stories, sharing conviviality and humor. He will be truly missed by family and friends of multiple generations.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister and brother-in-law, Marion (Peltoniemi) and Clarence Koehler; his father- and mother-in-law, Syverin and Sophie Baglien; sister-in-law, Mildred Baglien; and brother- and sister-in-law, Loren and Wanda Baglien.
He is survived by Marilyn (Baglien) Peltoniemi, his beloved wife of 63 years, of Wadena; his son Eric (Rosa Garcia) Peltoniemi, Saint Paul; son Carl or “Kip” (Mary Crimi) Peltoniemi, Minneapolis; daughter Joan (Bob) Tait, Overland Park, Kansas; grandchildren Maggie (Shane) Laughlin; Dana (Peltoniemi) Montoro; Robert Tait; Andrew Tait; Alejandro Peltoniemi; great-grandchildren Grace and Morgan Laughlin; nieces Carol Riley, Mary (Mike) Brauch; Laurie (Paul) Jorgenson; and nephew James (Kim) Baglien.
A memorial service was held at 11:00 a.m. on March 6, 2012 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Wadena, with Pastor Marilyn Breckenridge presiding. Military honors were provided by the Elmer Goche Post 3922, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Wadena, MN. Honorary pallbearers were Russ Jacobson, Ed Burkley, Scott Pettit, Paul Montan, John Erickson, Harry Harrison, John Hockert, and Al Neitzke. Interment will be in Wadena Cemetery at a later date.