Rev. Robert R. Karjala, 83, of Galva, passed away at 9:59 AM, Saturday, May 11, 2013 at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria.A graveside service will be held at 2:00 PM, Friday, May 17 at Bishop Hill Cemetery. Rev. Robert Atherton will officiate. There will be no visitation. Memorials may be directed to the Rev. Robert Karjala Memorial Fund. Rux Funeral Home in Galva is in charge of arrangements.
He was born October 8, 1929 in Menahga, MN, the son of his Finnish parents, John and Elvira (Niska) Karjala, the 12th child of a family of 13. He married Imogene Wheeler on June 4, 1954 in Minneapolis, MN. She survives, as do a son, Paul Karjala of Ottawa, IL, three daughters, Sarah (Ladd) Lanford of La Canada, CA, Rebecca Karjala and partner John Bushno of Rock Island and Debbie (Matt) Simaytis of Port Byron, IL, a brother, Raymond Karjala of Minneapolis, MN, two sisters, Betty Higgins and Beatrice Johnson, both of Minneapolis, MN, four grandchildren, Lena Karjala, Corina Lanford and Sam and Joe Karjala, two daughter-in-laws, Sara Karjala and Laura Hayes and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, a son, Stephen, five sisters, Edna, Effie, Violet, Annette and Elsie and four brothers, Wilbert, Melvin, John and Alvin.
Rev. Karjala attended school in Menahga, MN and graduated with his Bachelors of Theology from Wesley Bible College in Minneapolis, MN in 1954. He not only preached in English, but also in Finnish which he spoke during his childhood. He served pulpits in North Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Illinois, retiring in 2003 after 50 years of ministry. He served at Assembly of God Church’s in Galva from 1967-88 and in Morris, IL. Following his time in Galva he had served the Salvation Army in Peoria and had been in charge of their Planned Giving Campaign. He was also the minister of the First Presbyterian Church in Grand Ridge, IL for 10 years. He was a Corps Supply Preacher, the founding President of the Galva Opera House and a member of the Izaak Walton League. He enjoyed walking and playing horseshoes and tennis. He loved his family, animals, flowers and traveling. He also loved to give to gospel work and to veteran organizations. He enjoyed poems and had wrote several over the years. His library contained many books and the ministry was extremely important to him. He found fulfillment in helping people find peace.