Wallin, Pete (Norton) 94, of Lakeville passed away peacefully on May 3. He was preceded in death by his wife Ione and daughter- in-law Marci Wallin. He was born and raised on his family farm in Comfrey, MN and was one of ten children. His family lost their farm in the great depression and moved into town. He worked at the local lumberyard and then at age 14 he started driving a truck for a construction company. At about age 16 he moved with his parents to Minneapolis and worked at the Swift packing plant and later at Honeywell where his dad and five siblings also worked. He had many jobs as a young man and spent most of his life as a carpenter for Hauenstein and Burmeister. He was a proud 50 year gold card member of the Carpenters Union #322. In the late 40's he met and dated a young lady named Ione Anderson that lived next door and married her in 1950. They shared 53 years together. He and Ione raised their family in St. Louis Park and then in Lakeville. They were able to travel many places with friends and traveled often to be with relatives. Extended family and his immediate family were very important to Pete. He really enjoyed holding the little ones and playing with his nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great- grandchildren. He was a talented craftsmen and enjoyed making many wood working projects. After retirement he helped on his daughter and son in law's farm and then worked for their business Udder Tech. He has been a member of St. John's Lutheran Church since 1967 and had a great church family. He always looked forward to seeing them on Sunday mornings and at the men's luncheon on Tuesdays! Pete had many long time friends and neighbors. He always enjoyed a good visit and conversation. He moved to Highview Hills and it did not take long for him to have many new friends there. Pete was very kind and had a great sense of humor. He loved getting to know people and could strike up a conversation where ever he was. Pete is survived by his son James Wallin of Casa Grande, AZ and his daughter Cheryl Mohn (Bruce) of Lakeville, and grandchildren Brent Mohn (Emily), Angela (Mohn) Wubben (Cody) and Dana (Mohn) Casto (Chris) and six great grandchildren. A virtual memorial service will be available next week. Please contact Cheryl at Cherylmohn1@gmail.com with comments and for the memorial service link. Memorials can be directed to St. John's Lutheran Church in Lakeville.
Pete's Full Story
Pete was born on the family farm in rural Comfrey where his parents farmed. They had corn, hay, cows, pigs and chickens. He was the 8th of the ten children.
Pete went to school until about the 7th grade. At age 14 they lost the farm in the great depression and moved into a house in town and Ma was excited to have running water and electricity. He worked at the lumber yard unloading coal from the boxcar. His dad drove truck for a construction company and was gone Monday-Saturday. Working Monday-Friday and driving the load home on Saturday, getting home about 8:00. They needed help and hired Pete at about age 14. He drove truck without a driver’s license. His pay was $18/ week and he had to go to the bar where the boss was to get his check.
His brother Warren had moved to Minneapolis to live with his sister Ione and Scotty and got work at Honeywell. He drove to Jeffers one night and told “Pa” they had a job opening for him. He was reluctant to take it but his co-workers urged him to go. He had to report at 7:00 the next morning. So, he went that night and lived with his daughter Ione and looked for a place. Pete was about 17 when the rest of the family moved to Minneapolis. It was 1942 and they lived at 2513 Elliot Avenue. It was Vern, Denny and Pete that moved with Ma and Pa. $34/month for rent for their duplex.
He was too young to work at Honeywell so he got a job in St. Paul working at Swifts cleaning locker rooms for the employees. He saw carcasses and unloaded train cars of salt. He also unloaded carts with wheels that had ground beef in them. He lived Monday-Friday with a couple Vera and Wally Becker in St. Paul and took the street car home to Minneapolis on the weekends. It was a two token ride. Each token was .25. He got meat at a discount and took it home on the street car.
At age 18 he got in at Honeywell and it was good to get out of the job at Swifts. He was there about 4 years and his pay was downgraded .20/hour so he and his brother Buzz bought a garbage truck and route from Ione’s uncle Gerry Roff. They did that for 2-3 years and sold it because it didn’t pay good.
A man named Eddie Riff owned a bar. He set up Ione and Pete to manage a bar at 35th and Lake. At the end of the first week it burned down. He then gave him a job at another bar on Clinton and Lake. This was about 1948-1949.
Some construction guys that came to the bar, recruited Pete to be a laborer on a low rent housing with slab floors. The “sup” on the job took him to the union hall to get his carpenter’s union card. A co-worker Louie Ostrom was laid off and got a job at Hauenstein and Burmeister (H & B) The boss George Norton asked if he knew anyone else and he suggested Pete. 1949-1950
Pete and Ione were married May 6, 1950. In 1951 they bought a house in Minneapolis on 36th St. and 42nd Avenue for $7400. This is where they were when Jim was born in September of 1954. Then in 1955 they purchased a new house—1330 Lancaster Avenue in St. Louis Park for $13,000.
Cheryl was born in 1957. They purchased the home at 220 Maple Island Road in Lakeville as an investment. They planned to fix it up and sell it. But, they liked it so much they sold the other house and moved to Lakeville. It was quite an investment as they bought it for $17,000 and sold it for a lot more!
Their next move was to a townhouse in Orchard Meadows in Lakeville, in 1999. No more steep hills to mow and no more steps to climb and as mom said, “we need to downsize or Cheryl’s going to have a lot to get rid of.” They enjoyed their new neighbors and Ione loved that it was brand new!
Throughout their lives Ione and Pete traveled extensively. Some of their travel partners were: Bill and Mary Kain, Dee and Ray Lundberg, Bob and Jen VanHoe and Glen and Phyllis Hindal. They also made many trips to Arizona for the winter months and to Denver to see Ione’s sisters and extended family. They shared many happy years together raising their family and socializing.
Ione passed away in 2003 and Dad managed to live without her. It was a very difficult transition. They were known as “Pete and Ione”—not Pete or Ione! Many of his long-time friends and old work friends would get together for lunch with him-requiring that he would be driving all over the Twin Cities. He was invited by Larry Schneiderman to join the men’s group from church that met once a month which gave him some new friendships. His neighbor Les invited him to come for coffee on Wednesday afternoons with some of his buddies. This got to be a weekly gathering that he seldom missed. If I scheduled a doctor appointment during either of these events, I would have to reschedule it!
He continued to come to the farm and work on repair projects and did a little tractor driving. He was a regular at Udder Tech helping package and being with our wonderful staff that welcomed him when he came to work. He was one of my biggest cheerleaders telling everyone about Udder Tech. Another special job that he took very seriously was delivering sweet corn every August to all of his friends!
In November of 2017 Dad moved to Highview Hills mostly because I wanted him to. His comment after seeing the apartment was, “I suppose I better take it.” I felt he should not be driving to go get his meals in the cold, slippery weather and that he was a little shut in without company. His long time work friend Marv and wife Esther became his dinner partners. A friend, Fred, from our church moved there and dad welcomed him to join them at their table. So, these were his table partners for the last two years. He thoroughly enjoyed going to coffee hour every morning and happy hour on Friday. He made many new friends. He was always up for a visit and could strike up a conversation with anyone.
In December of 2019 Dad need more help than assisted living could offer so he moved to “Prairie Suites” a full care community within Highview Hills. He really enjoyed the helpers there and made his mark as he conversed with them and the other residents. One of his special care givers said, “if there was a sitcom about Prairie Suite, Pete would have been the main character.” In early March they closed the doors for visitors so we no longer could go in or out. Our visits were by phone, facetime and window visits. He had many care givers that made him feel secure and loved. Our minister said when your mind is struggling and your body is struggling, it is okay to let go. The morning of May 3 he passed away in his sleep.