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Woodrow Thomas Arola, 86, a longtime resident of the Menahga/Wolf Lake, Minn. area, peacefully entered Heaven's gates on Sept. 12, 2013, surrounded by his four children and other loved ones.

Woody was born on Feb. 5, 1927 at a logging camp near Two Inlets in Becker County, Minn., to Arvid and Tekla Helen (Kinnunen) Arola. At the tender age of just three years, Woody's mother died and his father found relatives to care for his young children temporarily.

Woody grew to manhood at the Wester and Helia Grangruth farm in Spruce Grove Township south of Wolf Lake. He enlisted in the United States Army on Nov. 8, 1945. He completed his basic training at Camp Fannin, Tyler, Texax. He was stationed in New Foundland, Canada, where he served as a military policeman until his honorable discharge in April of 1947. After his discharge, he joined the Merchant Marines and worked on ore ships on the Great Lakes for about a year. He then worked on a farm in Rolla, N.D. where he met his wife, LuLu Harriet Johnston. They were united in marriage on March 16, 1954. Their first two children: Daryl and Diane were born in Rolla. They moved to Minnesota where they lived with Woody's father on his farm south of Osage in Green Valley Township. There he farmed with his dad and especially enjoyed milking and caring for the cows, logging and operating a saw mill. Their two younger daughters, Debbie and Darlene, were born in Park Rapids, Minn. They lived on the farm until a lightning strike burned the barn down in the summer of 1960. Woody then moved his family to the Grangruth farm north of Wolf Lake where they milked cows and farmed for eight more years. Woody's father joined them shortly thereafter and they also operated a saw mill on the farm until 1968. In 1968, they auctioned off the farm equipment and livestock and started a restaurant in Osage, which they operated until 1971. They purchased a farm in Evergreen Township west of Menahga in 1978. Here Woody spent his semi-retirement fishing, hunting, trapping and gardening.

Woody was a great gardener and sold his fresh produce at a local farmers market. He enjoyed visiting with the people at the market and at his greenhouse on the farm. Many friends and acquaintances stopped over frequently to visit with Woody to hear about the hottest fishing spots and to share their latest hunting and fishing stories.

Woody will be lovingly remembered by his son, Daryl (Carol) Arola of Grand Rapids, Minn.; his three daughters, Diane (John) Matson, Debbie (Dale) Fisher and Darlene (Ernie) Kimball, all of the Menahga area; his brother, Harvey (Stella) Arola of Crystal, Minn.; 10 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.

Woody was preceded in death by his wife, Harriet; his two brothers; Roy and Marlin; and his two sisters, Frances Makela and Edith Arola; as well as one precious grandson, Troy Kimball.

Services will be held at 1 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 19 at Bethany Lutheran Church, west of Menahga, with the Reverend Steven Bruer officiating. The organist will be Sandi Mickelson. Congregational hymns will be "In the Garden," "Amazing Grace" and "On Eagles Wings." The urn bearers will be his grandchildren, Mike Kimball, Alan Fisher, Dan Arola, Sharon Blair, Deirdre Arola, Sarah Brandenberg, Nikki Fisher, Tony Arola, Andy Arola, Scott Kimball and Troy Kimball (deceased). Interment will be made in the family plot located in the Bethany Lutheran Cemetery. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the services on Thursday at the church. The Bethany Lutheran Church will host a luncheon for all following the service. To leave online condolences, visit