Milaca - Funeral services for Herb Claffy, age 86, of Milaca, who died Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, will be held on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at 11 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Milaca, with Rev. Tim Bauer officiating. Interment will follow at Forest Hill Cemetery, with military honors provided by Hansen-Hayes American Legion Post 178 and Siemers-Hakes VFW Post 10794. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday at Trinity Lutheran Church and one hour prior to the service at the church on Saturday. Casket bearers will include Jerry Becker, Harry Tousaint, Dale Hendrickson, Bob Stewart, Dick Stewart, Don "Pete" Trimble, and Gary Grant.
Herbert Gibson Claffy was born on Oct. 7, 1927 in Ada, to Florabelle (Wickett) and William Claffy. He grew up in Thief River Falls, graduating from Lincoln High School in 1944. Herb was a standout athlete lettering in football, basketball, and track. He was president of his senior class and captain of the football team. He was a member of the first class of the Thief River High School Prowlers Hall of Fame.
Herb enlisted in the United States Navy and was honorably discharged at the end of WW II. Herb attended the University of North Dakota where he played football and ran track. He was captain of the football team and voted most valuable player. He was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. He graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1952.
Herb married Joyce Lunke on Dec. 27, 1949. After college graduation, Herb and Joyce moved to Milaca, where they raised their family. Herb was a beloved teacher and coach at Milaca High School. He taught biology, science, health, physical education, and driver’s education. He also coached football, track, and baseball. He served as athletic director and in later years as activities director. Herb brought girl’s athletics to Milaca High School and was an advocate for Title IX.
He was elected to the Minnesota High School Coaches Hall of Fame and Minnesota Football Coaches Hall of Fame. He was honored at the University of North Dakota with the Thomas J. Clifford Award. He was a WCCO Prep Football Coach of the Week. He was a member of the first class of the Milaca High School Hall of Fame.
Herb loved the Milaca community and served as a volunteer in many capacities. He was a life member of the American Legion where he served as commander for two years. He also was a member of the honor guard for many years. He also coached the Legion Baseball Team. He developed and coached a summer “pee wee” baseball program for many years. He coached the Milaca Chiefs baseball team. Herb was a co-founder of the Milaca Ultra Golf Classic Tournament, raising a lot of money for the Milaca Scholarship Foundation. Herb was a civil defense director, a volunteer fireman, and the first signed organ donor in Mille Lacs County.
Herb is survived by his wife Joyce, son Mark of Milaca and daughters Becky Lundgren of Grand Rapids, Debbie (Phillip) Vedders of Princeton, and Brenda (David) Schmitt of Dayton; brother Jerry (Diane) Claffy of Rochester; grandchildren Jason (Kristina) Lundgren, Jennifer (Ralph) Biniek, Gregory (Angie) Vedders, Justin (Jenna) Peterson, Travis (Amanda) Peterson, Cassandra Vedders, Jordan (Sarah) Claffy, Kelley (Ryan) Claffy, Cody Schmitt, and Mason Schmitt; great-grandchildren Seth (Delray) Lundgren, Devon Lundgren, Abby Bemis, Samuel Biniek, Tyler Bemis, Wyatt Vedders, Bridget Claffy, and Austin Peterson; great-great-grand daughter, Gabriella Lundgren; godson Brian Jerzak, numerous nieces, nephews, friends, coaches, former players, and many former students.
Herb was preceded in death by his parents William and Florabelle Claffy, brother William Claffy, sister-in-law Isabella Claffy and father-in-law Hilmer Lunke and mother-in-law Carrie Anderson Lunke and brother-in-law Cliff Lunke.
The family prefers memorials to the Herb Claffy Endowment Scholarship Fund at Milaca High School. Arrangements are with Peterson-Johnson Funeral Home of Milaca www.pjfuneralhome.com.