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Obituary for Lowell "Berky" Birkeland


Lowell “Berky” Birkeland, 89, of Caledonia, Minn., died Thursday, May 3, 2018, at Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse. He was born Dec. 30, 1928 in Houston, Minn., to Elmer and Helen (Mades) Birkeland. On May 19, 1929, he was baptized at the Houston Lutheran Church and confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Caledonia where he continued to be a life-long member. In the 1940s, Lowell pitched baseball for area teams including one in Winona. On June 14, 1951, he married Marjorie Johnson in Winona, Minn., and the two of them continued to have “date night” every Friday night since they met. From 1951 until 1953, Berky served in the U.S. Army as a Drill Instructor during the Korean War and was a member of the Loveless-Eikens American Legion Post 191 of Caledonia for over 50 years. He learned the plastering trade from Henry Eaton of Houston, Minn., and continued as a contractor in the plastering business for 27 years. In addition, Berky farmed in Houston, Minn., for 40 years. Berky served as president of the Caledonia Hospital Board for 14 years. He enjoyed taking his dog, Sam to the nursing home in Houston every Friday for five years to visit the residents. Survivors include his wife, Marjorie; two sons, Steve (Kathryn) Birkeland of La Crescent, MInn. and Gary Birkeland of Brooklyn Park, Minn.; one daughter, Sheri Birkeland of Caledonia, Minn.; four grandchildren, Jesi Bauman of Minneapolis, Latisha Birkeland of Nashville, Tenn., Laura (Ethan) Simonson of Rushford, Minn., and Kristin Berens of Dakota, Minn.; and four great-grandchildren, Isaiah and Harper Bauman of Maple Grove, Minn., and Sawyer and Kenna Simonson of Rushford, Minn. A celebration of life will be at 11 a.m., Thursday, May 10, 2018, at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Caledonia. Rev. Steven E. Meyer will officiate. Military honors will follow in the church by the Caledonia American Legion Post 191 and the United States Army Funeral Honor Guard. Private burial with family will be in Evergreen Cemetery. A visitation will from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. Wednesday and from 10 a.m. until the time of the service Thursday, both at the church. Memorials are preferred to Immanuel Lutheran Church (cushion fund) or to family wishes. Jandt-Fredrickson Funeral Homes and Crematory, Caledonia Chapel, is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be sent at www.jandtfredrickson.com.