Milan Harlow Samshal, 81, of Crookston, MN, died on Wednesday, December 19, 2012, at the Altru Hospital, Grand Forks, ND, with loving family at his side. Milan was born on July 29, 1931, in Fargo, ND, to Oscar and Blenda (Olman) Samshal. He was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran faith. As a child he lived in West Fargo, ND, before moving to Twin Valley, MN, where he attended the Twin Valley High School. Milan entered the United States Air Force on December 1, 1951, serving in Japan as an airplane mechanic. For his service to his country Milan was awarded the National Defense Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Korean Service Medal, and the U.N. Service Medal. Following his honorable discharge on November 14, 1955, he returned home and began working for the Odin Market in Twin Valley. On September 23, 1956, Milan was united in marriage to LaVern Slette at the Gary Lutheran Church parsonage in Gary, MN, with the Rev. Herbert S. Larson, officiating. The couple moved to Crookston and Milan was employed by Red Owl Grocery for 12 years, first in Grand Forks, followed by a transfer to the Crookston store. In 1968 Milan became the owner of the Mobil Gas Station in Crookston. A custodial position became available at the University of Minnesota-Crookston in the early 1970's and Milan was hired. He worked for the University for 27 years before his retirement and was very popular with students and staff. For many of these years he was also employed part time at the Thomforde Garden Center and Greenhouse. In semi-retirement Milan worked part-time for Car Quest in parts transfer, filling parts orders throughout northwestern MN and North Dakota. He was a member of the Trinity Lutheran Church, Nels T. Wold American Legion Post 20, VFW Post 1902, and Eagles Aerie 873.
Having conversations with people was something Milan greatly enjoyed. He could speak with anyone on virtually any topic and they were sure to find something in common. His garage came to be his second home, and was where he liked to spend time restoring old furniture and tinkering. Camping in the Minnesota state parks, especially at Cross Lake, near Brainerd, MN, created many special family memories. He and LaVern loved to sit and watch the sunset before settling in near the campfire. In past years they also spent time at their son’s lake cabin near Detroit Lakes, MN. Milan's passion was growing flowers and shrubs, and his beautiful yard and grounds were evidence of his beautiful work. Family came first in Milan's life, and he was a very loving husband and father. He cherished his grandchildren and looked forward to visits from his great-grandchildren. May God richly bless the memory of Milan Samshal.
Milan is survived by his beloved wife of 56 years, LaVern; a son, Ron (Judy) Samshal, Moorhead, MN; 2 daughters, Debbie Knutson and Diane (Scott) Riopelle, both of Crookston, MN; and 8 grandchildren: Justin (Tracey) Knutson, Jason Knutson, James Knutson (Shilo and her children, Shad and Aaliyah), and Jennifer Knutson (Joey Perreault) all of Crookston, Jessica Knutson (Dereck Williams) and Travis Samshal of East Grand Forks, Matthew (Marissa) Riopelle of Omaha, NE and Mitchell Riopelle of Plymouth, MN. He also leaves 7 great-grandchildren: Isaiah, Easton, Hunter, Carley, Jadelyn, Jaron and Hadley; 3 sisters: Helen (Roy) Pinske of Ogama, MN, Marlene Hall of Yuba City, CA, and Beverly Hovde of Twin Valley, MN; a brother, Ervin (DeAnn) Samshal of Rice Lake, WI; and several nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Janice Peterick.
A funeral service celebrating the life of Milan Harlow Samshal will be held at 2:00 p.m., Thursday, December 27, 2012, at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Crookston with The Rev. Greg Isaacson, officiating. Visitation will be at the Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home on Wednesday from 5-7 p.m. with a prayer service at 6:30 p.m., and also at the church for one hour prior to the funeral. Military Honors will be provided by the Crookston Veterans Council and the MN National Guard Honors Unit from Moorhead. Burial will be in the spring at St. Olaf Lutheran Cemetery, rural Twin Valley, MN.