Roberta Ruth Stepan, formerly of Ely

Roberta Ruth Stepan, formerly of Ely, August 9, 1939 - January 7, 2020. Roberta R. (Mattila) Stepan, 80, passed away on Tuesday, January 7, 2020, at Corinth Rehabilitation Suites on the Parkway in Corinth, TX. Born August 9, 1939, in Ely, Minnesota; she was the oldest daughter of the late Robert John Mattila and the late Betty Ruth (Purdy) Mattila. On September 5, 1959, she married Edward Anthony Stepan, who preceded her in death on July 30, 1995. Berta grew up in Ely, Minnesota, about 15 miles from the Canadian border. Her father worked in the iron mines and her mother worked in the ticket office of the Ely Theatre. In her early years they lived in a small 2-bedroom apartment where her mother would fill a washtub with hot water in front of the fire for everyone to take a bath. They lived through the black-outs of World War II, a polio epidemic, and the collapse of the mining tunnels under Shagawa Lake. She enjoyed watching the pontoon planes from her Grandma Purdy’s home on Shagawa lake, camping as a Girl Scout on Fenske lake, and being a member of the Job’s Daughters (part of the Masons and Eastern Stars). In high school she was a member of the Water Babes synchronized swim club, and the Future Homemakers of America. She dated her future husband Ed Stepan as a junior in high school, when he was a high school senior in nearby Tower, MN. She graduated in 1957 with a class of 121 students. After she got married in 1959, she worked as a stenographer until her daughters were born, Lori Ruth in 1962 and Barbara Jo in 1964. They lived in Minneapolis until 1966 when they bought a house in Roseville, MN and she worked for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. After her daughters were grown, she and Ed moved to Slidell, Louisiana, across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. She worked at Gilsbar Inc. and greatly enjoyed the festivals, parades, seafood, boating, and warm weather there for many years. After a stroke in 2018 she moved to Texas to be closer to her family. She is survived by two daughters; Lori Ruth Stepan, and Barbara Jo (Stepan) Bunnell (Dean), and four grandchildren; Nicole Miller (John), Jasper Van Der Sluys, Christien Van Der Sluys (Felix), and Nicolaas Van Der Sluys. She is also survived by her great-grandson, Tyler Miller, her sister, Nancy (Mattila Lakner) Sterbenk (Ted), and her brother, Jack Mattila (Joanne). Private services will be held in Minnesota during the summer of 2020. Condolences may be made online on Facebook, or cards may be sent to Barb Bunnell at 130 Midway Circle, Lewisville, TX, 75057. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in her memory to the American Stroke Association at www.stroke.org.