Emil Laine Sr. was named the 2013 grand marshal of the Ma and Pa Kettle Parade. He will ride in a 1956 Ford convertible in the parade.
Emil, 89 has led a varied and interesting life. He has spent much of that life in and around Kettle River working in various occupations.
At the age of 20 Emil joined the military and fought in Europe in the infantry. He fought in Germany, Italy and France, and also spent time in England. He joined in February 1944 and served into May or June 1945 when he was wounded.
Emil returned home to the farm and, later went to work at the ore docks in Two Harbors. He was employed there from 1947 through 1948.
He managed the Kettle River Liquor Store from 1948 to 1951, then became manager of the Kettle River Co-op Feed Mill where he spent the next 10 years.
Emil is best known as the mail carrier for the Kettle River Post Office, a position that he held for 20 years. He drove the roads and delivered the mail in the rural area. Carl Lingle was his substitute when Emil took time off.
Emil and his wife, Lillie celebrated their 65th anniversary two years ago, shortly before she died on November 23, 2011. Both Emil and Lillie were residents of the Mercy Health Care Center, now the Augustana Mercy Care Center where Emil still resides.
The couple raised three children: Emil Jr., Nancy Johnson of Kettle River and Betty Piippo of Grand Rapids. Emil Jr. lives near the home farm in Automba where the family was raised.
Emil Sr. has five grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Emil and Lillie were honored once before when they were named Ma and Pa Kettle in 1994.
“It’s a proud moment for him,” said Emil Jr. “He is the last survivor of the older generation of mail carriers. He took over the route from Frank Pasek and later Leonard Pasek had the route.”