Harold E. Haataja

Harold E. Haataja

ROSBURG - Rosburg resident Harold Edward "Hutch" Haataja, 84, a life-long resident of Wahkiakum county, died May 23, 2003 in Cathlamet.

The son of August and Mary (Hansen) Haataja, he was born Feb. 20, 1919 in Astoria, Ore. He grew up on the family farm in Deep River, attended Deep River grade school and was a 1938 graduate of Naselle High School.

With the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy shortly after Pearl Harbor and served until the end of the conflict in the South Pacific Theater.

On Feb. 3, 1946 he married Kathleen Harrison at her parents home in Rosburg. The couple settled in Rosburg where Mr. Haataja operated a dairy farm and also worked logging for Ray Burton. Operation of the dairy ceased in the mid-1960s and Mr. Haataja continued working in the woods until retirement in 1981.

He was a member of Deep River Post 111 of American Legion, Naselle Veterans of Foreign Wars and lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. He enjoyed hunting, hiking, gardening and traveling, having made four trips to Finland. He also enjoyed reading, history, a good cup of Finn coffee, his family and his cats. Blessed with a good sense of humor, he was also a talented artist in knot-tying and weaving. Proud of his Finnish heritage, his interpretations of native Finnish woodcarving have been displayed at the Smithsonian Institute and featured at the Naselle Finn Festival.

Besides his wife of 57 years, Mr. Haataja is survived by son Lyle of Rosburg; daughters Karen Slodysko of Bellingham, and Nina Berg of Lynden; brother Robert of Rosburg; sister Mildred Laine of Deep River; eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. A brother, Art, died earlier.

Memorial service will be Saturday, May 31 at 11 a.m. at Valley Bible Chapel, Loop Road, Grays River. A reception follows. The family requests memorials to the American Legion Posy Scholarship Fund in care of Penttila's Chapel by The Sea, P.O. Box 417, Long Beach, WA 98631.

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