Echo Editorial: The community will miss P.I.

We’ve got some big shoes to fill in Ely with the loss of what many are calling a “pillar of the community.” We couldn’t agree more.
Paul Ivancich passed away this week after a valiant battle with cancer. If you knew P.I. then you know he used his positive outlook to battle a deadly opponent. It was that ability to see the good in any situation that made him one of our community’s greatest assets.
Paulie did so many things in his 59 years on Earth, including working at the Echo for a stretch. This was back in the early 1980s when high school sports hadn’t gone through consolidations and rivalries existed across the Range.
There would be nights he and a photographer would drive to Virginia to see the Blue Devils battle Eveleth in basketball, then stop in Babbitt for a high school hockey game against Ely before arriving back in town to catch the fourth quarter of another basketball game.
Paul had a passion for Ely and for life. He gave of himself and his business, the Ely Dairy Queen. If he gave away a dozen, he gave away thousands of Dilly Bars for elementary class parties, Little League team wins or a fitting dessert for a local arts show.
He volunteered countless hours on baseball diamonds and basketball courts, calling out balls and strikes or whistling a player for a foul. This often came with an explanation and a moment of teaching for a young athlete. And it was done in a positive manner, never critical.
P.I. was a proud graduate of Ely Memorial High School and followed what went on there closely. He wanted his alma mater to do well and he employed hundreds of students over the years, teaching them not only how to make a twist cone but how to be a productive employee and better yet, a good person.
How do we replace someone who did so much for our community? Our first answer would be, we don’t. But on second thought, maybe we can all learn something from how P.I. lived his life, from how he treated other people. Maybe the best thing we can do is learn to emulate being a positive role model and supporting our community. Give a little of yourself to make your world a little better place to live in.
We’re going to miss P.I. and his smile. We’re going to miss him behind the plate or blowing a whistle. A friend to many and a friend of the community. God rest his soul.