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John Harju, 59, of Two Harbors died suddenly on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017 in Two Harbors.

He was born on March 6, 1957 to Erkki and Alli (Kuivasmaki) Harju in Two Harbors where he grew up and attended schools.

John worked as a carpenter with his father for many years before going to work for the City of Two Harbors as a heavy equipment operator for over 20 years. On March 16, 1996, he married Penni Slease.

John enjoyed kayaking and cross-country skiing, and participated in several Grandma's Marathon races. He loved his community and lived his life fully.

He was a member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church and the Northshore Striders.

Preceding him in death was his father.

John is survived by his wife, Penni; son, Eric; mother, Alli Harju; father and mother-in-law, William and Pamela Slease; brothers-in-law, William (Alice) and Phillip (Cheryl) Slease; special uncle, Juhani (Tuula) Harju; a niece, Maggie; and a nephew, Hunter.

VISITATION: 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 in Cavallin Funeral Home. The funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14 in Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Two Harbors. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Two Harbors Kayak Festival or the Erkki Harju Ski Trail. To sign the online guestbook please visit

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He was the best employee the city had
My most heartfelt condolences to Penni, Alli and family. John provided beautiful life long memories. What a fierce XC competitor, yet humble and so very kind. Godspeed John.
So sorry to hear of Johns passing. Many of us that skied with him enjoyed spending time with him and his parents at the races. He was the best that northern Minnesota had. Many of us will remember his grace on and off the ski trail. Thinking of you John.
Penni, I am so sorry for your loss. John was a very nice man and always fun to talk to....He will be missed.
I spent many great days skiing with and competing with John. He and his father were a great inspiration to me over the years. I hope you find well groomed trails buddy.
A humble and kind man, and a very good skier.