Carl B. Lakso
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Lived in Townsend & Fitchburg, MA; Vet; 81
TEMECULA, CA -- Carl B. Lakso, formerly of Townsend and Fitchburg, passed away on March 16, 2013, after a brief illness at Sterling Vintage Hills in Temecula, CA.
Carl was born on April 30, 1932 in Brooklyn, NY to Leo and Edith (Salmi) Lakso. He attended grammar schools in Fitchburg and graduated from Townsend High School in 1952. Upon graduating, he enrolled in the United States Air Force and served this country he loved for over 20 years. Postings included Korea, Japan, Germany, Vietnam, Cambodia, and then for the United Nations in Africa.
After retiring from the military in Alamogordo, NM, he returned to this area and worked for Digital Equipment Corp. in Concord. His love of travel and adventure led him to Tel Aviv, Israel and then a job with Bell Helicopter of Texas in Tehran, Iran. When the Iranian Revolution began, he and his wife, Faith, were evacuated to Germany in 1979. Returning to US soil, he was recruited by McDonnell Douglas Aircraft to work in their Long Beach, CA and Mesa, AZ plants.
While in AZ, he retired again and became a greeter with Wal Mart. This evolved into his becoming a local celebrity known as "Howdy" or "Mr. Howdy" and making TV commercials for Wal Mart.
Carl is survived by a loving and large extended family: two ex-wives, Faith Lakso of Townsend, and Ute Burklow of Texas; his son, Michael Lakso and wife, Karen of Temecula, CA; daughters, Barbara and husband, Peter Hoellinger of Temecula, CA; Nancy and husband, Roger Rapoza of Townsend; Jane Bunnell of Vista, CA; Sarah Rutherford of Fitchburg; sister, Marybeth and husband, Bob Beauchemin of Campbell, CA; aunt, Judith (Salmi) Aho of Leominster; six grandchildren, Lara Hoellinger, Tayloranne Lakso. Roger and Alex Rapoza, and Kate and Samantha Bunnell; several nieces and nephews and their families.
He was especially proud of his Finnish heritage and was a member of the Knights of Kaleva, Lancaster. He was a member of VFW Post 6538 of Townsend, and was an avid supporter of the Special Olympics and the Wounded Warrior Project.
There will be a private "Celebration of Life" for his family at a later date.
Published in Sentinel & Enterprise on May 24, 2013