HOLGER H. VAHER
August 3, 1929—March 16, 2017
Holger H. Vaher, 87 years young, was taken to be with our Lord on March 16, 2017, due to complication of a pneumonia infection.
He was born on August 3, 1929 in Otepaa, Estonia, the only child to Ferdinand and Linda Vaher. Holger was forced to leave his homeland in 1944 during the Nazi occupation of Estonia during World War II, where he and other Estonian youths traveled through Germany working as laborers in factories or farms. After the war, he was a cook in a displaced persons camp until he was granted asylum in 1946 and arrived in the U.S. in May, 1947.
He went to work in various factories until he received a degree from Dunwoody Institute in Automotive Electricity and a week long course at Sun Automotive School, both in Minneapolis, MN. He moved to La Crosse to work for his sponsor, Bob Deal, owner of Deals Auto Lite Service Center, by which time he met Bonnie Jean Schmidt who was living in Minneapolis, MN and were married October 7, 1950.
Linda, who was born on April 30, 1951, was a month old before Holger was drafted by the U.S. Army. His talent served our country in the motor pool with 55 vehicles, and he became a Sergeant.
After his discharge from the Army, he went back to Deals Garage as a service technician and later was employed by Don Hudson Chevrolet. He was self-employed twice and worked for Sears Roebuck as an appliance technician. In 1955 he became a naturalized citizen.
In 1956, Holger, Bonnie and Linda moved to Burbank, California where he worked as a technician in the Aerospace Industry. He took several night school classes, and in 1959 Holger received a high school equivalency diploma, then moved back to La Crosse. He worked for Allis Chalmers and Trane Company in their engineering departments before becoming an evening instructor at Coleman Vocational Technical Institute (now WTC).
After their son, Ulo was born in La Crosse on December 14, 1966, Holger became an instructor at Winona Area Technical Institute, where he developed an independent study curriculum for Drafting and Design Technology until 1991. He worked as a contractor for a short period of time before he fully retired.
Most of his life was lived in La Crosse County, first in La Crosse then to a hobby farm south of Rockland where he lived until his passing. He did extensive work to the house and outbuildings and raised tobacco for a few years. For a few years during his retirement, he and Bonnie went to Fun-N-Sun retirement park in San Benito, TX where he learned to play the ukulele, sang in the Men’s Quartet, was active in the Walking Club, had a major role in a film project done by the residents at the park, and designed a large ukulele float for their spring parade.
In later years, he took personal fitness seriously to maintain a good quality of life and keep up with the demands of living in the country. Other things he enjoyed were golf, learning computers, and solving problems, whether it be with a vehicle or something around the farm requiring a unique solution. Holger had a dominant personality and spoke up if something did not seem right to him. He was also willing to help others out if he saw a need.
Holger was preceded in death by his father and mother; and grandson, Richard Alan “Ritchie” Clark.
He is survived by his wife, Bonnie; daughter, Linda Sue Clark; grandsons, Benjamin Ryan Clark and Jonathan Aaron Clark; son, Ulo Holger (Susan) Vaher; granddaughters, Eleanor and Catherine Vaher; and many friends and acquaintances.
Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 22, 2017, at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in La Crosse. Pastor Roger Sachs will officiate. Friends may call on the family Wednesday morning at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of services.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred and will be used in Holger’s memory.
Online condolences may be given at www.schumacher-kish.com.
Schumacher-Kish Funeral Home