EDITH MARIE HAKALAEdith Marie Hakala, 70, of Duluth, died April 23, 2012.
Edith Marie Hakala, 70, of Duluth, died April 23, 2012.
She was born in Duluth on April 18, 1942 to Uno William Keiski and Laina (Nickson) Keiski.
Edith was a 1960 graduate of Chisholm High School and also a 1964 graduate of UMD.
She had worked as a teacher at Hermantown Elementary School from 1967 to 1974. She had also worked as an elementary teacher in the Cloquet school district from 1965 to 1967.
Edith's focus was always on education. She later worked as a Special Education teacher, and also as a Substitute Teacher, for the Duluth Public Schools from 1993 to 2005.
Edith was also a bookkeeper and Office Manager for Amberjack Tree Service of Duluth from 1971 to 2012.
For eight years, Edith served on the Duluth Civil Service Board commission in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
During the early 1990s, Edith worked for the non-profit organization, COACT - short for Citizens Organizing and Acting Together. Edith cared about people, and she cared about fairness.
Edith was raised in Chisholm, Minn., a community that, in her words, "valued political participation locally." She has fond memories of that community with its well-funded schools and active public engagement. She remembers her first taste of political involvement when, as a youth, she delivered flyers for a friend's father's campaign.
Edith had a strong commitment to people who didn't have a voice, including the poor and disenfranchised. She worked hard all her life in politics because she believed that we had a civic responsibility to take care of each other as a community. Edith really wanted equal opportunities for everyone. It is that inclusive thing that so many gatherings of people focus that you had to be a certain element, but Edith wanted to include everybody.
When the McGovern-Fraser Commission Election Guidelines opened up the Democratic Party to women, non-majority ethnic groups, and other previously underrepresented constituencies, Edith qualified herself to become a delegate to that year's Minnesota State DFL Convention, an experience that educated her about the political process.
Edith became Secretary, Treasurer, Associate Chair, and eventually Chair of the Seventh Senate District DFL in Duluth. Eventually, she was the first Party Chair who was a woman.
Edith was, at the time of her death, a Director At-Large for the Duluth DFL, which made her a member of the Duluth DFL Executive Committee.
She was also the Affirmative Action Officer for the 7th Senate District DFL, a position she held since 2008.
Edith won the Solon-Munger Distinguished Leadership Award from the Minnesota Seventh Senate District DFL in 2009. The award was in honor of her commitment, dedication, and leadership. The award is named for the late State Senator Sam Solon, and the late State Representative Willard Munger.
Edith always wanted people to know that just one person can make a difference.
She was an active member of Hillside United Methodist Church in Piedmont Heights and served in the church choir.
Edith was a loving mother, wife, daughter, aunt, and friend.
She was preceded in death by her father, Uno Keiski, in 1974; and her mother Laina Keiski, in 1996.
She is survived by her husband of 44 years, James Hakala; sons Damon Hakala of Duluth and Jason Hakala of Duluth; brother Alden (Faye Beth) Keiski of Plymouth, Minn.; sister-in-law Patricia (Ronald) Foeltz of Saginaw; brother-in-law Robert (Vicki) Hakala of Duluth; and nine nieces and 10 nephews.
SERVICE: 1 p.m. Friday April 27, 2012 in the Hillside United Methodist Church, 1801 Piedmont Avenue at with a visitation at 12 Noon.
Arrangements entrusted to First Memorial Funeral Chapel, 624-5050.