Pastor Toivo Esala
Funeral services were held for Pastor Toivo Esala of New York Mills, Minnesota on Monday, January 14, at 11:00 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in New York Mills, Minnesota with Pastor Jon T. Haakana, Pastor Rod Krueger and Pastor Tom Palomaki off...
Funeral services were held for Pastor Toivo Esala of New York Mills, Minnesota on Monday, January 14, at 11:00 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in New York Mills, Minnesota with Pastor Jon T. Haakana, Pastor Rod Krueger and Pastor Tom Palomaki officiating. The hymns were sung by the congregation, accompanied by Cindy Becker. The pallbearers were Darrell Esala, Jacob Esala, Keith Esala, Greg Esala, Scott Maki and Roland Aho. The honorary pallbearers were all of Toivo's grandchildren. Toivo was laid to rest in Woodland Cemetery in New York Mills, Minnesota.
Toivo Armas Esala was born on March 23, 1922 in Sandy Township, rural , Virginia, Minnesota, the 9th child of Jacob and Hilma Esala. He was baptized and confirmed at Sandy Lutheran Church. He graduated from Embarrass High School in 1939, and attended Eveleth Junior College. He then enrolled in Concordia Theological Seminary in Springfield, Illinois, graduating in January of 1945. The first congregation he served was Bethany National Lutheran Church in Cleveland, Ohio. On July 14, 1946 Toivo was united in marriage to Ardis J. L. Aho in Sebeka, Minnesota. The Lord blessed their marriage with four sons: Darrell, Jacob, Keith and Gregory and daughter, Marsha. In 1948 he accepted the call of the National Lutheran Church to serve as missionary in North Queensland, Australia, among Finnish, Estonian and Latvian immigrants after the World War II. During his ministry there from 1948 to 1951 the
first four Lutheran congregations in Northern Australia were established in the cities of Ingham, Tully, Mt. Isa, and Atherton. Returning to America, he served congregations in the rural Virginia, Minnesota, area, which later merged to form Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, until he accepted the call of Messiah Lutheran Church in Fitchburg, Massachusetts where he was pastor from1952 January, 1961. Having accepted the call of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Hollywood, Florida, he was installed as pastor there in February of 1961. During his ministry a church was built, as the new congregation had met in a parish hall. A Christian day school from first to sixth grade was added to the kindergarten earlier started by the congregation. After completing the evening educational sequence courses at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, he asked to be released from his call to enroll in graduate school at Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois. The family moved there in 1967. He completed his Masters in Education, Secondary Administration in 1968. In July of 1968 he was installed as pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in New York Mills, Minnesota, where he was pastor until retiring in 1984. While pastor at Trinity he was Pastoral Circuit Counselor in the Wadena Circuit and served on the Minnesota North District Missouri Synod Education Committee. He also was Lutheran Women's Missionary League zone advisor. Having been asked by the local school board to serve as high school principal for the school year 1969-1970. Some of his community service includes President of the Senior Citizens Board, member of the hospital board, and editor of the Finnish religious section of the "American Uutiset". On January 9, 2008 Toivo passed away at the Elders' Home in New York Mills, Minnesota. He will be dearly missed by his family and friends. Preceding Toivo in death were his parents, Jacob and Hilma; brothers, Nick, Walfred and Sulo; sisters: Vienna Johanson and Turna Esala and granddaughter, Alene.
Toivo is survived by his wife of 61 years, Ardis; sons: Darrell (Rosemary) Esala; Jacob (Carole) Esala; Keith (Beverly) Esala and Greg (Adele) Esala; daughter, Marsha (Scott) Maki; a sister, Aili Koenig of Renton, Washingtion; brothers: Willard (Elsie) of Virginia and the Reverend H.P. (Lorraine) of Tucson, Arizona; 12 grandchildren: Ruth (Matthew), Nicolai, Christopher, David, Joel, Jason, Hope, Jenna, Micah, Allison, Jennifer and Samuel; many other relatives and a host of friends.
Arrangements were provided by Karvonen & Son Funeral Home in New York Mills, Minnesota.