Cover photo for John Haines's Obituary
1934 John 2019

John Haines

May 1, 1934 — December 11, 2019

John Gilbert Haines, age 85, of Willmar, passed away Wednesday evening, Dec. 11, 2019, at his home.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21, at Calvary Lutheran Church in Willmar.  Visitation will be held on Friday, Dec. 20, from 5-7 p.m. at Peterson Brothers Funeral Home and will continue for one hour prior to the service at the church.  A private interment at Calvary Lutheran Cemetery will be held at a later date.  ln lieu of flowers, memorials to Rice Hospice or Calvary Lutheran Church are preferred.

John Gilbert Haines was born on May 1, 1934, in Willmar, Minnesota, the son of Walter and Marie (Bakken) Haines of Willmar.  He grew up in Willmar, and was baptized and confirmed at Calvary Lutheran Church.  John attended Lafayette Elementary School and graduated from Willmar High School in 1952.  He attended the University of Minnesota and graduated with a degree in Business Administration.  On August 2, 1958, John was united in marriage to Donna Jeanne Meline of Lindstrom, Minnesota.  They lived in Willmar for their entire 61 years of marriage.

John initially worked for the Minnesota Department of Transportation.  In 1963, John took a job with Kandiyohi County as a caseworker for the Family Services Department, which sparked a long and enjoyable career in Social Services.  After an intensive year of training in family therapy with Virginia Satir, John worked as a School Social Worker for the Educational Research and Development Council from 1967-1970.  In 1970, he returned to Kandiyohi County as Social Services Supervisor.  He was appointed Director of the Family Service Department in 1973 and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1997.

John served as President of the Minnesota Association of County Social Service Administrator, and was given their annual Human Service award in 1997.  He was recognized by the Minnesota Association of Community Mental Health Programs for Community and Board Leadership in 1984 and 1996.  John received the Minnesota Social Service Association Outstanding Staff Achievement Award in 1997.

John was a lifetime member of Calvary Lutheran Church where he was a Sunday School Teacher, Choir Member, Bethel Bible Series teacher, Church Council member, and Chair of the Church Council.  In recent years he enjoyed the Tuesday morning Men’s Bible Study.  John was part of the Faith Chest team at Calvary, staining and finishing over 400 Faith Chests.

John served as chair of the following Boards: Woodland Centers, West Central Industries, Project Turnabout, Willmar Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Department of Human Resources Gambling Treatment Program, and the Foot Lake Association.  He served as President of the Lakeland Toastmasters Club.  He also served on the Board of Gull Engineering in Edina.

John greatly enjoyed golfing (including a hole-in-one in 1989), his book club, traveling, and enjoying his grandchildren.   During the Christmas season, John made hundreds of rosettes using his grandmother Bakken’s rosette iron and recipe.  He was a dedicated fan of the Minnesota Gophers and Minnesota Vikings.

John is survived by his wife, Donna; son, Bob (and Dona) Haines of Willmar; daughter, Susan (and Mark) Ruchie of Edina; grandchildren Ryan, Ethan, and Carly Haines, and Elvy Ruchie; Sister, Helen Sullivan of Willmar; Sister-in Law, Marilyn Meline of Stanton; nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Marie (Bakken) Haines.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Haines, please visit our flower store.


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