Cover photo for Leslie Anne Hakala's Obituary
Leslie Anne Hakala Profile Photo
1957 Leslie 2023

Leslie Anne Hakala

June 24, 1957 — June 20, 2023

Red Wing

Leslie Anne (McKenzie) Hakala passed away on June 20, 2023, at Benedictine Living Community in Red Wing, after a year-long struggle with brain cancer.

Leslie was born in Red Wing on June 24, 1957 to Bruce and Gloria (Lemmon) McKenzie, and apart from her college years, she lived in her hometown for her whole life. She graduated from Red Wing High School in 1975 and attended Saint Cloud State College, where she majored in journalism, minored in music, and made lifelong memories traveling to Europe on a choir tour. While participating in a summer community theater production of My Fair Lady in 1977, Leslie met fellow chorus member Roy Hakala. Originally from Coleraine, MN, Roy had recently finished his DDS degree at the University of Minnesota and moved to Red Wing to practice dentistry. The two were married in May 1979 and honeymooned in Banff, Canada, where they had such a good time that they extended their stay.

More musicals (including a star turn as Marian the Librarian) and many more trips followed. Leslie worked in public relations for the Saint James Hotel, provided myofunctional therapy at Roy’s dental practice, and starting in 1992 she homeschooled children Marjorie and Ross, an experience that was first intended to provide more personalized instruction and grew to encompass many adventures in learning new things together. In 2004, Leslie opened the Best of Times Bookstore in downtown Red Wing and operated it for seven and a half years, in the process starting a book club that continues to this day. She sang with the Red Wing Singers for over 25 years and participated in their musical tour to Germany. Leslie traveled with the family and with Roy to some favorite destinations many times over—cabins on the North Shore of Lake Superior and on the Gunflint Trail, Door County in Wisconsin, and ski trips to Big Mountain in Whitefish, Montana—but she also traveled to many new places, reaching six continents in her lifetime. After the birth of grandson Ronan in April 2020, Leslie and Roy made as many visits to him and his parents in Connecticut as they could. Leslie also loved being at home, with her books, her dogs, her gardens, and her backyard view of the Mississippi River with bald eagles flying over it. She enjoyed all of these things with a glass of wine whenever possible.

Leslie is survived by husband Roy, daughter Marjorie of Saint Paul, son Ross (Amanda) of Milford, CT, brother Steve (Pat) McKenzie of Plymouth, sister Kathy Schrom of Omaha, and her three-year-old grandson Ronan, as well as cousins in Kansas. She was preceded in death by her parents.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 24, 2023 at the Mahn Family Funeral Home, Bodelson-Mahn Chapel in Red Wing with family and friends welcomed starting one hour prior to the service. Donations in memory of Leslie may be sent to the Glioblastoma Research Organization at https://fundraise.gbmresearch.org/LeslieHakala.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Leslie Anne Hakala, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, June 24, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Mahn Family Funeral Home - Bodelson-Mahn Chapel

602 Plum Street, Red Wing, MN 55066

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Mahn Family Funeral Home - Bodelson-Mahn Chapel

602 Plum Street, Red Wing, MN 55066

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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