Founder of H&S Manufacturing Co., Inc., Lauri Raymond "Ray" Heikenen, 89, of Junction City, Wisconsin passed away on May 10, 2013 at Ministry St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield, WI.
He was born in Brownsmead, Oregon on February 19, 1924 to Charles and Anna (Sippa) Heikenen. His parents emigrated separately from Finland in their teens and met and married in northern Minnesota. After the Moose Lake Fire they moved to Oregon, returning to Cloquet, Minnesota when Lauri was still young.
After beginning high school, Lauri went to work in a defense industry on the west coast during World War II, then enlisted in the Army Air Force on October 4, 1943. In the Army he received his high school equivalency, attended radio and gunnery school and became an aerial gunner in a B-17 Flying Fortress. The war ended before he was deployed overseas and he left the service on November 6, 1945 with the rank of sergeant.
Lauri met Fay Lois Engel (who was engaged at the time) at Smithy’s Supper Club in Solon Springs Wisconsin, a favorite hangout for young people from the Duluth, Minnesota area. There is some dispute regarding who first asked who to dance and they were married in Duluth on April 3, 1948.
After working at a number of things Lauri became the night foreman at a Farmhand plant in the twin cities. After a cutback in production He was offered a job of "going on the road" to sell Farmhand farm implements to farm equipment dealers throughout the State of Wisconsin. He literally spent the rest of his life on the road selling farm equipment. After several years with Farmhand, Lauri decided he had the skill to take a chance at being an independent rep and started off on his own. He repped a number of different lines from "Badge-Air" air compressors to Dickey John seed testers to Heiton forage boxes. In 1967, he and a partner started H&S Manufacturing Company in Marshfield, Wisconsin in a 50×100 block building. H&S built and sold a single product, a self unloading forage box. In 1986 Lauri bought out his partner and H&S purchased his partner’s business, Steinberg Manufacturing Company. He was joined in the business by his two sons, Gary and Chris. H&S was named Marshfield Chamber of Commerce firm of the year in 1987. Today H&S has a widespread line of hay and forage equipment, employs over 220 people and sells its equipment through a network of over 300 dealers and distributors. In addition to North America, H&S products are commonly loaded in freight containers for shipment to Europe, Japan and South America. H&S also supplies many of its products to John Deere, Case New Holland and Agco which then sell it to their dealers with their label on it.
Lauri was still on the road calling on dealers and coming to the office within weeks of his passing.
Lauri was very supporting and generous with his family. He was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Lauri enjoyed fishing, hunting, dogs, working on puzzles, gardening (he created several beautiful yards), and supporting several Wisconsin based Indian Nations. His courage and optimism carried his family and company through every challenge, to the end.
Lauri was preceded in death by his parents and nine brothers and sisters.
Lauri is survived by his wife Fay; son Gary (Jan) Heikenen, daughter Jill Heikenen, son Chris (Evelyn) Heikenen, son Brian (Joani Freitas) Heikenen and granddaughter Eilee Heikenen-Weiss.
In lieu of any monetary tribute the family asks that you contribute to your favorite charity or commit a random act of kindness for a stranger.
Condolences and thoughts may be sent online to www.rembsfh.com.