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Richard Haugo

Richard Haugo, age 83, of Bemidji, Minn., died Thursday, January 22, 2009 at his home.

Funeral Services will be 2:00 P.M., Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at Calvary Lutheran Church, Bemidji, Minn. with Pastor Linda Tenneson officiating.

Visitation will be 5-7 P.M., Monday, January 26, 2009 at the Olson-Schwartz Funeral Home, Bemidji, Minn. and one hour prior to the service at the church, Tuesday. Military honors will be at that church by the American Legion Ralph Gracie Post 14. Interment will be in the spring in Malvik Lutheran Cemetery, Hubbard County, Minnesota. Arrangements were entrusted to the Olson-Schwartz Funeral Home, Bemidji, Minn.

Honorary pall bearers will be his Friday morning coffee crew: Kermit Anderson, Bob Anderson, Jim Benson, Jim Castagna, Dave Kingsbury, Leon Nelson, Wallace Peck, and Andy Wells.

Pall bearers will be his nephews: Dennis Anderson, Howard Baxter, Darrell Gerlovich, Bruce Haugo, David Lindgren, Robert Lindgren.

Richard Roland Haugo was born July 11, 1925, to Aslak and Irene Randall Haugo on a farm near Ellendale, Minnesota. In the Spring of 1926, the family moved to Sheyenne, North Dakota, where he attended a one-room school with his sisters. In 1937, the family moved to Erskine, where he graduated from high school in 1943. He served on the U.S.S. Jason in the Pacific Theater during World War II. In 1946, he returned to Minnesota, where he worked road construction: with an axe and a swede saw, clearing the timber and brush from the junction of Highway 2 and State Highway 59 to Brooks, making way for the new highway. He moved to Tacoma, Washington and enrolled at Pacific Lutheran College, then worked in both the timber industry and smelting and ore processing industry. While working for the American Smelting and Refining Company, he was asked by the Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers' Union to research a lung illness that took many workers' lives.

His research outlined the physiological effects on the lungs of the arsenic vapor created in the smelting process, vapor that was inhaled by workers who had no safety equipment. As a result of performing that research, affected workers were awarded compensation, and his name appeared on an Attorney General's "blacklist." Throughout his life, it remained one of his proudest accomplishments. To his family and friends, it is emblematic of his sincere selflessness and concern for others' well-being.

He enrolled at Bemidji State College in 1958, majoring in Industrial Education while working nights at the Bemidji Nu-Ply plant and working on the family farm. Graduating in 1961, he began teaching in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, school system, taking evening courses toward an M.S. in Education, which he completed in 1963. After teaching for four years, he was invited by then-President Harry Bangsberg to apply for a position at Bemidji State College. He began teaching in Industrial Technology in 1965. In 1966, he married Dorothy J. Baxter in Bemidji and moved with Dorothy and her daughters Gail and Linda to Grand Forks, where he continued work on his Doctorate. Daughter Ann was born there. He was awarded his Doctorate in 1969 and became chair of the Industrial Technology Department at BSC.

During his teaching years, his service included chairing the university's first Affirmative Action Committee and creating the university's Vocational Teacher Education degree program, which required coordination with Vocational Technical Institutes and high schools with vocational programs in a region that extended from Brainerd to the Iron Range and to the Canadian and Dakota borders.

He continued teaching in Industrial Technology until 1975, when he was appointed as the Director of Placement. He completed a second Masters degree in Counseling in 1979, and the Counseling unit of Student Affairs became part of his responsibilities. In 1982, he was appointed Interim President of Bemidji State University, serving from January to August. Soon after returning to Placement and Counseling, Educational Services was added to his sphere of responsibilities. He would remain in that position until his retirement in 1988. Upon retiring, he continued to work on his hobby farm near Guthrie. In 2006, he and Dorothy sold that property and moved to Bemidji.

His service to the Bemidji area has included terms on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and chairing its Economic Development Committee; as Director of the Beltrami Electric Cooperative Board; on the Bemidji Rotary Club, of which he is a past president and a Paul Harris Fellow; as Associate Chair of the Hubbard County DFL; on the Helga Township Land Use Committee; and in the Paul Bunyan Farmers Union.

He enjoyed woodworking, farming, spending time with his family, telling stories, and serving as the Haugo family historian.

He is survived by his wife, of Bemidji; daughters Ann Haugo (Steve Pelphrey) of Illinois, Gail (Clarence) Sorenson of Guthrie, Linda (Larry) Currie of Anniston, AL; sisters Mildred (Roger) Anderson of Costa Mesa, CA, Anne Gerlovich of Cloquet, and Edith (Bob) Lindgren of Bemidji; brother Ollie (Vi) of Wadena; grandchildren Richard and Hannah Pelphrey; Sara Sorenson; Kristin (Michael) Cottle, and Jeremy and Matthew Currie; four great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Frank, in 1937, and sister Harriet (Jerry) Driscoll in 2008; and grandson Ryan Sorenson in 2008.

The family prefers memorials in his name to the BSU Foundation for the formation of a Richard R. Haugo scholarship fund.

-- Paid obituary