SOUTH RANGE - William K. Harkonen, 83, a resident of South Range, died on Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, at Winona House of PortagePointe following a short illness. He was born in Atlantic Mine on Dec. 31, 1929, a son of the late Herman and Manta (Timonen) Harkonen and was a 1948 graduate of Painesdale High School.
Harky worked as a butcher at Kivi's IGA in South Range and also drove snowplow and sno-go for the Village of South Range. He retired after 35 years as heavy equipment operator for Yalmer Mattila Construction Company.
On Apr. 3, 1954, he was married to the former Margaret Kantola in South Range. She preceded him in death on Nov.13, 1993.
Harky enlisted into the U.S. Naval Reserve on June 6, 1947, stationed aboard the USS English DD-696 destroyer. He was first loader of a 5"/38mm caliber gun on the fantail of the ship until 1951, when he enlisted into the U.S. Amy serving in Korea as a tank driver. He operated an M19-A-1 Twin 40mm anti-aircraft cannon. Harky was the recipient of the Korean Service Medal with four bronze stars and the presidential unit citation. He was honorably discharged in 1953.
As a youth, Harky played hockey in South Range, sponsored by the South Range VFW. His favorite sport was baseball, playing as a pitcher in the hardball league. He enjoyed spending time following his sons as they played sports and was always there to offer them advice or help them out any way he could. He was an avid fan of the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings and also the Green Bay Packers.
He was a self-taught guitarist and accordionist. He loved woodworking, building bird houses, bird feeders and clocks. He also enjoyed fishing and hunting rabbit and deer.
Harky was a past membr of the South Range Volunteer Fire Department, serving for 27 years and was a member of Operating Engineers Local 324 and a life member of Ranger Post 6165 VFW of South Range.
Besides his parents and wife, Harky was also preceded in death by four sisters, Peggy Tienhaara, Irene Laitinen, Ellen Hiltunen and Ruth Hiltunen; and a sister-in-law, Mindy Harkonen.
Surviving are his children and grandchildren: Dale (Judith) Harkonen of Houghton, Keith (Vicki) Harkonen of Green Bay, Wis. and their sons, Brandon and Brent, Greg (Kathy) Harkonen of Trumbull, Conn. and their sons, Ryan and Grant and Kevin (Amy) Harkonen of Pickerington, Ohio and their son, Patrick; one brother, Hugo Harkonen of Chassell; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins, as well as many friends from the VFW.
The family would like to thank Joann Krug for being a special friend to Harky and for the care and help she's given him over the years.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 8 in the Mountain View Mortuary in South Range with Pastor Bucky Beach to officiate. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday when a memorial service will be conducted at 6 p.m. by Ranger Post and at 6:30 p.m by the South Range Volunteer Fire Dept. Visitation will continue on Friday at the mortuary from 10 a.m. until time of services. Spring burial with military rites will be in the Mountain View Cemetery in South Range.
Arrangements are being handled by Antila Funeral Services, Inc. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at antilafuneral.com.