Services for Gerald Hardy Wraa

Gerald Hardy Wraa was born March 11,1922 and died May 15, 2024 at the age of 102. Gerald lived the early years of his childhood in Stevens, MN. At the age of 8, the family moved to Windsor Township with their belongings in a wagon pulled by horses, and their cows following behind.   They camped out at night as they made their way, and at times Gerald (although only 8 years old) was required to handle the reigns of the wagon. Gerald graduated from the 8th grade in Gonvick, and chose the CCC camp near Cass Lake for his higher education. There they lived through the severe Armistice Day winter storm which was not forecast and caught hundreds of people away from safety in Northern MN. The young men were sent out to rescue lost hunters & found frozen bodies caught in the unexpected storm. He learned a variety of skills while there (including dog robber? haha), logging and other conservation skills and living in a military type setting.  Gerald was in Oslo, MN working on his car when he said “Ma came out and told me the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and I knew my fate was sealed”.  He joined the US Navy in 1942 and served aboard the Destroyer, US Arleigh Burke, as a 40MM gunner and was a planker (the first crew to serve aboard a new naval vessel). Gerald received numerous medals and war time ribbons, including a purple heart. History also shows that the squadron of destroyers he served with, received a Presidential Citation for the most perfect battle in Naval History at the Battle of Cape St. George, which is still used today to train Naval tactics.  When a plane was shot down, and the crew of his destroyer rescued the pilot, the pilot’s name was Pappy Boyington.  When the war ended, Gerald left his shipmates in 1946 and came back to MN, where in 1947 he married his soul mate Edna Davis. When the young couple homesteaded in Clover Township, Gerald cut the trees, cleared the land, and built a small cabin himself.  Gerald and Edna raised three sons; Jerry L, Joel, and Steve. Through the years Gerald farmed and was a logger and later a cement mason.   When formal training was not an option to learn masonry, Gerald prayed that God would teach him and he became a natural at his trade, and even worked in supervisory positions. 
Gerald served in the capacity of the township clerk in Clover for 60 years. He and Edna were charter members of Clover Chapel. In later years, they became members of the First Baptist Church of Clearbrook. He was a longtime member of the Clearbrook Legion Post 256, a life member of the Bemidji VFW Post 1260, and a life Member of Bemidji DAV. Other items of his life legacy include that he was a charter member of the Leonard American Legion Post, and served as Grand Marshall of the Leonard 100-year celebration parade at age 100.  
He and Edna celebrated their 50th anniversary at the Clover Chapel, their 70th anniversary at the Clearbrook Baptist church, and their 75th anniversary at the Memorial Day celebration in Clearbrook. May 31, 2024 would have been their 77th anniversary.  
He was preceded in death by his parents, Gilbert and Maudy (Blake) Wraa, his sister Lorraine (Wraa) Kasmatka and brother Glenn.  He is survived by his wife Edna, one brother Don (Deb), sons Jerry L. (Lana), Joel, Steve (Julie), 7 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.    
Funeral Services were held on Friday, 24, 2024 at 2:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Clearbrook with Pastor Randy Reimer officiating.  Visitation was one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be held at the Clover Cemetery at a later date.  The Cease Family Funeral Home assisted the family in arrangements.
 

Richards Publishing

P.O. Box 159
239 2nd Ave
Gonvick, MN 56644
Telephone: (218) 487-5225
email: richards@gvtel.com

 

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