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‘We’re all better for having known her’: Barnesville-area schools mourn loss of coach killed in crash

Jaynie Halvorson of Hawley, Minn., is pictured with her husband, Justin Halvorson, and their infant son, Hoyt, in this recent photo. Halvorson was identified as the person who died when her SUV collided with a semi south of Hawley on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. Special to The Forum

BARNESVILLE, Minn. – Jaynie Halvorson, the Hawley mother and wife killed when the SUV she was driving collided with a semi Tuesday, will be remembered for her tremendous energy and love of community, a Barnesville High School official said Wednesday, Jan. 10.

“She grew up here, and her family is all here. She was a very connected person to our school and our community,” counselor Kyle Gylland said.

“She was a great student. She was a great athlete. But more importantly, she was one of the most caring and hardworking people that you had ever met. She positively impacted everybody that she came in touch with,” Gylland said.

Halvorson, 28, died when her SUV collided with a semi about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday at Highway 31 and 120th Avenue South, said Lt. Mark Empting of the Clay County Sheriff’s Department.

The driver of the semi was Daniel Anderson, 45, of Hawley. He was not injured in the crash, Sheriff Bill Bergquist reported.

Halvorson was married to Justin Halvorson, and they had a 5-month-old son, Hoyt. She was an occupational therapist with the Lake Agassiz Special Education Cooperative, working in schools in Barnesville, Hawley, Ulen, and Lake Park.

She was a 2007 graduate of Barnesville High School who coached volleyball and basketball at the school and led a fitness program, Gylland said. She was also a speed and strength coach and had coached track.

Gylland said the mood of students and staff at the school was somber Tuesday after news of Halvorson’s death was announced. He said counselors were brought in from other area school districts.

“Today is a little better than yesterday,” he said. “It helps to be busy …. Everybody’s making a valiant effort trying to do that.”

Halvorson was a role model, Gylland said. “She had a gentle and quiet way of pushing people to reach their goals. … A lot of kids and a lot of adults will remember her for that,” he said. “We’re all better for having known her or having her in our lives at some point.”

Halvorson attended Concordia College, where she played basketball. She later earned a master’s degree in occupational therapy at St. Catherine University in St. Paul.

Her visitation will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, at Barnesville High School, followed by her funeral. Burial will take place at Rollag Lutheran Cemetery.