Emery Bulinski, 93, of Ely, dies

Emery S. Bulinski, 93, died peacefully at the Ely Bloomenson Hospital on Sunday, September 27, 2015, in the presence of his loving family, while the surrounding Northwoods were illuminated with the glow of the rare harvest supermoon.
Born in Chicago in 1922, he grew up on Diversey Avenue and helped support his family during the depression by selling newspapers and shining shoes on the Gold Coast. His passion for sports led him to hop the fence at Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs play. He attended Lane Tech High School, where he graduated “shortest” in his class and learned to operate a lathe, initiating a life-long love of machining and later led to his position as a precision machinist at Seren Tool Works and his work on the first US rocket nose cone to successfully re-enter the earth’s atmosphere without burning up.
After enlisting in the army, he served as a mess sergeant in the South Pacific where he continued to support his family back home by selling “hooch” made on a crude still and jewelry fashioned out of coral. After WWII ended, he returned to Chicago where he met Dolores, the love of his life and wife of 67 years. Always the consummate entrepreneur, he and his war buddies introduced radio-transmitted taxis into the Chicago cab market under the name Flash Cab Company. But the lure of the Northwoods ultimately led him and Dolores to leave Chicago in 1956, when they purchased Snowbank Lodge, the first of a number of businesses they developed in the Ely area. Emery significantly increased the capacity of the resort after the Wilderness Act of 1964 closed Basswood Lodge providing him the opportunity to purchase its main building at auction for $2,500. In a project dubbed “Bulinski’s Folly” he dismantled the 10,000 square foot structure, transported it log-by-log to Snowbank Lake and reassembled it in time to host a convention of sportswriters.
A tireless promoter of the Ely area, his outdoor adventures were featured on Harold Ensley’s prime time TV show The Sportsman’s Friend, he attended sports shows and hosted fishing openers with Governors Elmer Anderson and Harold Levander, and drew attention to Ely as a winter destination while supplying provisions to Root Beer Lady Dorothy Molter by snowmobile in the dead of winter. Emery attained national attention briefly in 1979 when identified by Fisherman Party presidential candidate Jackpine Bob Cary as his selection for Secretary of Treasury.
A consistent believer in the basic goodness of people, he gave many a new start in life by hiring the “down and out” to work in his businesses and by financing real estate purchases for those not qualified for conventional mortgages.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Dolores, two older sisters who perished in the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, his parents Stanley and Pauline Bulinski, and his brother Eugene.
Emery is survived by his six children: Bill, Earl (Sharon), Gregory (Charles), Pamela, Trish and Becky (Brian) Falk and his grandchildren: Nicole Riad, Jared, Libby, Teddy, Alex Cole, Maddy Hoffmeister, Sydney Falk and Allie Falk, and great-grandchildren Nathan Hoffmeister, Lucy, Zayn Riad and Beckett; his brother Raymond (Alice) and surrogate family members Judy Hannigan and Mike Zika.
The Bulinski family deeply appreciates the loyal and loving caregivers whose dedication permitted Emery to continue to live at home as he approached the end of his life: Caitlin, LaRae, Micki and Kate. A funeral Mass will take place on Saturday, October 24, 2015, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Ely, with visitation an hour before the service.