Obituaries

Thu
01
Dec

Grace Cherne

Grace Cherne passed away on November 25, 2022 at the Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely, MN.
Grace (Gracie) was born on August 13, 1921.
Grace grew up in Tower, MN but spent most of her life in Ely, MN. Her parents were John and Mabel (Thomas) Axelson. She was preceded in death by her husband, Frederic Cherne; her first husband, Louis Erzar; her parents; four sisters; Doris (Matt) Vaida, Gladys (Charles) Tekautz, Florence (Tony) Bartovich, Nancy Gihl, and one brother, Thomas Axelson; and daughter-in­law Cindy K. Cherne.

Fri
25
Nov

Joyce M. Maki

We are thankful for the life of our wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Joyce M. Maki died on November 25, 2022, at the age of 90.
Joyce was born January 17, 1932, to Martha (Kolari) and Tom Kilpela in Palo, MN. Martha married Anthony Kokal around 1943. Anthony adopted Joyce and her brother Leonard. Joyce graduated from Eveleth High School, where she was active in 4H and home economics. She moved on to the University of MN Duluth and St. Mary’s Medical Technician school. While in college, she met her future husband, Robert M. Maki. They were married in Eveleth on March 27, 1954, when Bob was home on leave from the Army.
She later joined him at Fort Benning, Georgia, where they lived off base until his discharge in January 1956. They returned to Ely to settle down. Joyce and Bob made their permanent home on Ely’s Chapman Street in 1959 and spent many joyous years summering at the cabin, built by Bob, on Fall Lake.

Fri
25
Nov

Maxine Sharp

Maxine Sharp, 98, of Ely, passed away on Wednesday, November 23, 2022 at Carefree Living in Babbitt. Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.

Wed
16
Nov

Lyle Klein

Lyle Wayne Klein, 82, of Ely MN, a proud US veteran, passed away on November 15, 2022 in his home surrounded by his family.
Lyle was born on September 11, 1940 in Tracy MN to parents Florence and David Klein. He grew up on the family farm and attended school in Tracy where he participated in football, basketball and band. He won the Arion Award for outstanding musician, was co-captain of the football team, and president of his senior class. Lyle was always very grateful to his high school band director, Jerry Rude, for his mentoring, which guided him into a career in music education.
Lyle attended college at the MacPhail College of Music in Minneapolis, where he was President of the Phi Mu Alpha music fraternity as well as Student Association president.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in music, he enlisted in the US Navy where he taught music theory at the Naval School of Music and was a tuba player in the US Navy Band.

Tue
15
Nov

Darrel Vernon Salo

Darrel Vernon Salo, lovingly known as “Dogger” or “Big Dog” passed away unexpectedly in his sleep on November 8th, 2022. Coincidently was election day and his final way to skip the voting process. Dogger was born and raised in Ely, MN. He attended Ely High School and went on to graduate with a BA from St. Cloud State. After a stint in accounting, Dogger worked at Treasure Island Casino for 30 years as a blackjack dealer. Even when not working, Dogger enjoyed playing cards with friends and coworkers, where he got the name “Big Dog”.

Mon
14
Nov

William (Bill) Walter Bercaw

William (Bill) Walter Bercaw, 59, of Springfield, Illinois passed away on November 12, 2022 after a hard fought battle with lung cancer.
Bill was born on January 13, 1963 in Chicago, Illinois to Berry Weber Bercaw and Mary Carolyn Williams Bercaw who proceeded him in death. Bill married Crystal Blakley Bercaw on January 14, 1994 in Chicago Heights, Illinois. Bill is survived by his wife, Crystal; a daughter, Katelyn Bercaw of Ivins, Utah; a son, Benjamin Bercaw of Little Rock Arkansas; a sister, Cindy Bercaw of Eastlake, Ohio and his two beloved dogs, Norm and Max.
Bill served with the United States Army Reserves for six years. After graduating from Millikin University with a degree in Marketing, he pursued a career in law enforcement retiring from the Illinois State Police Technical Investigations Unit.

Fri
11
Nov

Carol Diane Nelson

Carol Diane Nelson, age 84, loving mother, and adoring wife to husband Scott A. Nelson, passed away peacefully on the 8th of November 2022. Carol was born June 4, 1938, in Virginia, Minnesota to Hugo and Nellie (Lattanzi) Jorgensen; she grew up and lived on the Iron Range most of her life. All who knew Carol were impressed with her high-level of intelligence, so it is no surprise that education had always been a high priority for her. After graduating from Roosevelt High School as an Honor Graduate, she attended Vermilion Community College, and the University of Minnesota, earning an associate degree, two bachelor’s degrees, and a master’s degree, all with honors. She worked 25 five years as an educator for the Mesabi Range Community & Technical College, serving as the Dean for both the Advanced Technology Center and of the Continuing Education/Custom Training Programs. She was also a classroom instructor for Accounting, Business, and Computer Science.

Wed
09
Nov

Senator Douglas Johnson

Senator Douglas Johnson “Doug” “Dougie”, age 80 of Tower, passed away peacefully on November 7th 2022. He was preceded in death by his parents, Oscar and Irene; and brother, Robert. Doug is survived by wife, Denesse Johnson; children, Nicole Nelson and Alan Hoole; grandchildren, Brady (Andrew) Hernandez, Jenna Hoole and Barrett Walker; great grandson, Benjamin; sister-in-law, Judy; dear cousin Charlotte and her family; other loving relatives; and numerous friends.
Doug lived his life helping others, serving in the Minnesota legislature for 32 years. He had a love for the Iron Range and his family. He will be deeply missed.
Per Doug’s wishes, private family services are being held. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the charity of your choice in Doug’s name. Online condolences to www.mlakerfuneralhome.com

Tue
08
Nov

Marja l. Viikinsalo

Marja Leena Viikinsalo, 82, passed away on Tuesday November 8, 2022 at the Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely, MN after a long battle with dementia.
Marja was an excellent artist and loved to wear her red hat and push her cat in a stroller through the grocery stores in town. She was a member of the Ladies of Kaleva and the Ely United Methodist Church.
Marja was born to Otto and Maire Koskela in Rauma, Finland on August 12, 1940. Marja met her future husband Seppo Viikinsalo while he was visiting his relatives in Finland in 1961, and he convinced her to come to Hartford, CT so they could get married in 1962.
After having two children and a couple of family moves, they settled back near Seppo’s parents on the Iron Range first in Aurora, then Eveleth MN. Marja worked in various retail positions in Virginia and owned and operated Marja’s Books in Virginia MN in the 1980s. Marja then moved with her husband to the Twin Cities and eventually retired to Ely.

Tue
08
Nov

Helen C. Miller

Helen Caroline Miller, 102, of Babbitt, died Tuesday, November 8, 2022, at Carefree Living.
Helen was born October 25, 1920 to Lyder and Martha (Stene) Pederson in Edmore, North Dakota. She grew up on a farm and attended school in Blackduck, MN. She worked three years at JC Penneys in St. Louis, MO. Back in Blackduck, MN on May 8, 1945 she married Clarence Miller. They farmed there for ten years in Hornet township and brought three daughters into their family. It was when they moved to Babbitt, MN in 1957 that their son joined the family.
Helen loved best her job of homemaker: cooking and baking for her family. She enjoyed fishing, picking berries and family gatherings. Winter months would find her knitting, crocheting and making quilts. Another enjoyment was traveling with Clarence to many places, the furthest being to Norway.

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