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Howard G. Blehm

Howard G. Blehm

Howard Blehm, 92, passed away peacefully, surrounded by loved ones on Sunday, March 17, 2013 at Neilson Place in Bemidji MN.

Funeral services will be held 11:00a.m., Thursday, March 21, 2013 at Bethel Lutheran Church, Bemidji. Visitation will be 4:00-6:00p.m., Wednesday, March 20 at Olson-Schwartz Funeral Home and one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial will be in Ft. Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis.

Howard George Blehm was born November 13, 1920 in Hallock MN to Ferdinand and Bergetta (Haugen) Blehm. He grew up and graduated from high school in Hallock. An avid hockey fan his entire life, he played on the first Minnesota State Hockey Championship team in 1939, scoring one of the two goals. He was a season-ticket holder for the ND Sioux and enjoyed watching them on his TV the last few years of his life. He entered the US Army in 1941, serving his country for nearly five years. As a Staff Sergeant in the 3rd Regiment of the 77th Division, his platoon is credited as being the first American soldiers to land on Japanese soil, where they raised the first American flag. He was very proud of his service and holds three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Philippines Liberation Medal with Bronze Arrowhead and one Battle Star, the American Defense Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Medal with 3 Bronze Arrowheads and 4 Battle Stars, the Expert Infantryman’s Badge, the Expert Rifleman’s Badge, the Sharp Shooter’s Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal. He was wounded three times and eventually lost his left arm and right lung. He was an active member of the DAV, serving as ND Commander and many other local, state and national offices. He was also a life-time member of the VFW and the American Legion.

Howard married Marian Anderson of Lake Bronson MN in Hallock on May 15, 1943. This May would have been their 70th anniversary. His career was in automobile sales for twenty years in Hallock and Grand Forks, and he was Chief of Prosthetic and Sensory Services at the VA hospital in Fargo for twenty years. After retiring in 1986, they spent their time between their homes at Lake Eunice MN and Mesa AZ. They moved to Bemidji in 2004 to be close to family.

Howard loved his God, his family, his friends and his country. He was a member of Augustana Lutheran in Grand Forks (where he was on the Board of Trustees), Messiah Lutheran in Fargo, Augustana Lutheran at Lake Eunice and Bethel Lutheran in Bemidji. He received many honors and awards in both his professional and community life. He will be proudly buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis.

Howard is survived by his loving wife, Marian, of nearly 70 years, his daughters; Cindy (Dick) Koons of Colorado Springs CO., and Bunny (Jerry Pickett) Howe of Bemidji; three grandsons: T. Scott (Crissy) Koons of Colorado Springs, Matthew (Carol) Howe of Palm Desert CA, Mitchell (Theresa) Howe of Bemidji and a granddaughter, Melinda Marie Koons of Colorado Springs; 10 great-grandchildren: Megan, Sarah & Emily of Colorado Springs, Riley and Taylor of Bemidji, and Colbie, Matisse, Chase, Shaker and Kier of Palm Desert.

Dad will be greatly missed by his loved ones and friends, but we are comforted knowing he is in the loving arms of his Lord and Savior for eternity.

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