Dr. Howard M. Wikoff, 98, of Crookston, MN, a longtime Internal Medicine specialist with the Northwestern Clinic, died peacefully at his home Monday evening, January 6, 2014, with members of his family at his side.
Howard was born at De Soto, IA on December 23, 1915, one of 3 sons of William and Hulda (Lake) Wikoff. He spent his early years growing up in Minneapolis. Howard was 7 years old when his father died and after that the family spent time living in both Kansas and Minneapolis. At the age of 15 he entered the Minnesota National Guard after fibbing about his age. Upon graduation from West High School in Minneapolis in 1933, Howard furthered his education, receiving a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Minnesota in 1938, and his MD from the University’s Medical School in 1940. He worked hard during all those years of study to put himself through school. On March 19, 1942 Howard was united in marriage to Bernice G. Schmidt in Minneapolis. He enlisted in the US Army during WWII and served with the rank of Major as a Medical Officer in the Pacific Theater of Operations. After receiving his honorable discharge on February 27, 1946, Howard returned home to Bernice and family and completed a 3-year Internal Medicine residency in 1949. After practicing medicine in Bemidji for a few years, Howard, Bernice and family came to Crookston, where he joined the medical staff of the Northwestern Clinic. He became a Fellow of the American Academy of Physicians in 1954. Howard was a very kind and compassionate physician who remained dedicated to his patients throughout his career. He retired in 1985. Even in retirement Howard continued to keep up with advances being made in medicine and never lost his thirst for knowledge. Sadly, Bernice passed away on December 31, 1998.
It was his very humble beginnings in life that instilled in Howard the desire to help those who weren’t as fortunate. He tirelessly worked for the benefit of many community organizations and helped establish the Northwest Mental Health Center, Crookston Blood Bank, and the University of Minnesota-Crookston aviation program. Howard was a talented, self-taught musician who played both the clarinet and saxophone; enjoyed reading; and doing woodworking projects. He was also an electronics buff, and designed and built his own stereo systems. In his late 40’s he earned a private pilot’s license, fulfilling a lifelong dream, and eventually qualified for his commercial and instrument ratings. He was a member of the Wesley United Methodist Church; belonged to several professional medical organizations; and held memberships in the Crookston American Legion and VFW Posts, and the Crookston Flying Club. In their younger days, Howard and Bernice enjoyed taking the kids camping at Two Inlets, Cass Lake, and on other road trips. He instilled in his 8 children a love for the water and made sure that each of them learned to swim. Howard was never one to just sit, and his children all seemed to inherit this trait. Even in declining health he was able to enjoy the company of his family and grandchildren. They came to visit and mark the occasion of his 98th birthday just a few weeks ago. May God richly bless the memory of Howard M. Wikoff.
Page 2 of 2 - Loving family members include 7 children and their spouses: Judith and Dr. Steve Haas of Hermosa, SD, JoAnn and Dr. Michael Hamm of Danville, KY, Mary and Dale Kuznia of Greenbush, MN, Daniel and Kim Wikoff of Mentor, MN, Christian and Joyce Wikoff of Asheville, NC, David and Jean Wikoff of Edina, MN, and Larry and Debbie Wikoff of East Grand Forks, MN; 21 grandchildren; 33 great-grandchildren; a brother, Wally Wikoff and his wife, Phyllis, of Minneapolis; and many nieces, nephews, and other relatives. In addition to Bernice,his beloved wife of 56 years, Howard was preceded in death by a son, Dr. Theodore Wikoff, who died on December 3, 1987; his parents; and a brother, Hugh Wikoff.
A memorial service celebrating the life of Dr. Howard M. Wikoff will be held at 2:00 p.m., Friday, January 10, 2014, in the Wesley United Methodist Church in Crookston with The Rev. Michelle Miller, officiating. Visitation with the family will be for one hour prior to the service. In keeping with the spirit of Howard’s generosity, the family requests that memorials be given to a favorite charity.
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