John Daniel Skaalerud, 66, passed away November 5, 2021, at Carris Health Care Center and Therapy Suites in Willmar, after an extended battle with lung cancer. His visitation will be held at Living Hope Church in Willmar, from 12:00-1:00 pm, Friday, November 12, with his memorial service immediately following at 1:00 pm, with Pastor Jeff Willis officiating. Burial and graveside service will be held at First Lutheran of Norway Lake Cemetery, rural New London, at 4:00 pm, with Pastor Wayne Kopitzke officiating. Arrangements have been entrusted to Harvey Anderson and Johnson funeral home in Willmar. www.hafh.org
John was born August 5, 1955, in Willmar, the son of Carlotta May (Leedahl) & Russel James Skaalerud. He was raised on the family farm near Lake Andrew, rural New London with his five siblings. He was baptized and confirmed at First Lutheran of Norway Lake Church, and his faith was a point of many conversations in his final days. He fathered three children when he was young, and lived a very free-spirited life for many years after that.
John worked with his brothers doing sodding, seeding, and landscaping for the county for the Skaalerud family business. He also held positions at Jennie-O as well as Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake. John never liked to stay in one place too long but did make Mikinleyville, CA, his home for the last 20+ years. He was a simple man with few possessions, and he had a passion for Harley Davidson motorcycles. He said that he wanted to be remembered as a man that loved his children, and never wanted to hurt anyone. Anger and addiction fueled his greatest regrets in this life, and forgiveness and freedom fueled his greatest joys.
It was his hope that all of his children and grandchildren could understand early and deeply the incredible cost that alcohol and drugs has had on his life. He was passionate that without the vice of addiction in life, anyone has the ability to live a very rich life. He also reflected on how slow life used to go at the beginning, and how very fast it goes at the end - that you only live once, and you don’t really realize what all you have (and what you don’t have) until the end.
In his last days, he was reunited with nearly all of his surviving family. Forgiveness, healing, and togetherness were unexpected gifts that they experienced at his bedside in the weeks before he passed. Many of them spent both their first and last moments with him during this time.
He is survived by his four siblings: Steve Skaalerud, Nancy (Skaalerud) Keen, Billy Skaalerud, and Dina (Skaalerud) Nebo; his three children: Corie (Neis and Jake) Haverly, Jamie Skaalerud, and Kari Skaalerud; 12 grandchildren: Nicholas, Shelby, Arianna, McKenzie, Jaylen, Gavin, Ruvieanna, Cayden, Keaira, Kylie, Kinley, Tavin and four great grandchildren: Jakson, Amira, Acadia, Astasia and all of their families.
He was preceded in death by both of his parents, his sister, Cindy (Skaalerud) Paseatiempo, and his granddaughter, Hannah Marie Haverly.
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