Dan Akerlund explored 55 countries, climbed mountains, carved wood


Dan Wesley Akerlund, 79, of Caledonia, was an avid hiker, traversing the Dolomites in Italy and summiting the peaks of Mt. Rainier and Mt. Hood in the USA. He created dozens of beautiful wooden carvings over the years that he hand-painted in Swedish style.

He passed away on Saturday, August 20, 2022, at SwedishAmerican Hospital surrounded by family. He was born May 3, 1943, in Rockford, Illinois, the son of Nels and Florence (Anderson) Akerlund.

He is survived by Sara, his wife of 57 years; brother John (Betty) Akerlund, who are on staff at Roscoe United Methodist Church, sister Karen Adell; children Karna Erickson, Nels (Anna) Akerlund, and Carl Akerlund; sister-in-law Elaine Akerlund; grandchildren Adele, Elsa, Clara, Ashley and Ella;  and numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents and siblings David Akerlund and Debra Hines.

Dan enjoyed downhill and cross-country skiing, kayaking, fishing, and sports of all kinds. He explored 55 countries with his best friend and co-adventurer, Sara, but he equally adored tinkering with projects around the house and sitting in front of the fire on cozy evenings with those he loved. He savored great food from across the globe, and ice cream was his only weakness.

Dan attended North Park College for his first two years of college, and then graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in civil engineering in 1966. Dan married Sara Elizabeth McKinney on March 20,1965. He worked for the Minnesota Highway Department, for Rockford Blacktop, and he owned Johnson-Olson Floor Covering. He is a member of Caledonia Congregational Church.

Dan treasured keeping in contact with his dear family and friends in Sweden, and visiting friends he made all over the world. Above all, he loved his time at the cabin, and time with his family, especially as “Poppie” to his grandchildren.

Dan was relentlessly positive, resilient, never bored, and he never ever complained. He was enthusiastically up for any proposed adventure or bit of playful mischief, and his giggle was infectious.

A Swedish fika and visitation will be held outside under the oak trees from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm on Saturday, August 27, 2022, at Caledonia Congregational Church, 14730 Oak St., Caledonia IL 61011. (Swedish fika is a tradition of “coffee and sweets” shared with people you love.) A private funeral and burial will take place at a later date at Scandinavian Cemetery.

Instead of flowers, donations in Dan’s honor may be made to either of these two places that were close to his heart: Knockout Parkinson's or Caledonia Congregational Church.

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