Obituaries

Wed
12
May

Bunny Masurka-Wiersema

Bunny Masurka-Wiersema, 74, of Glen, Minnesota passed away unexpectedly on Friday May 7, 2021 at Riverwood Healthcare, Aitkin, MN.

Bunny was born April 7, 1947 in Minneapolis, MN to Maxine and Clancy Orred. She grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and graduated from Columbia Heights High School. She married Dale “Bo” Wiersema in 2002 and they spent 18 years as husband and wife before his passing in 2020.

Mon
10
May

Mildred Agnes Lundsten, 91

Mildred Agnes Lundsten, 91, of La Crosse, WI, passed away Monday, May 3, 2021, at the Benedictine Villa Assisted Living facility in La Crosse. She was the mother of Patricia Steger of Ely.

Sat
08
May

Elsie Madeline Wiermaa, 96

Elsie Madelaine Wiermaa, 96, died peacefully at home surrounded by her children on Saturday May 8th, 2021.
Elsie was born to Emma and Joseph Lahtonen on February 22, 1925. She graduated from Embarrass High School and the Duluth Business School after which she worked for Travelers Insurance in Duluth. On November 22, 1947 she married the love of her life, Julien Wiermaa. Together they raised six children and shared many adventures.
Elsie lived the majority of her life on beautiful Joseph Lake in Babbitt, MN. She loved caring for her stunning flower gardens, picking berries, fishing, cross country skiing. She was the happiest in her north woods and tending her land. We will forever remember her competitive card playing and puzzle solving.
She welcomed everyone into her home with her kind words, genuine interest in other’s stories along with sharing amazing meals and her famous homemade bread and cinnamon rolls. Her open arms touched many lives.

Thu
06
May

Barbara Ann (Rozman) Thoren

Our beloved mother Barbara Ann (Rozman) Thoren passed away at the age of 94 on Thursday, May 6, 2021 at Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely, MN.
She was born in Ely, MN (Section 26) on April 4, 1927 and was the daughter of George and Barbara (Milec) Rozman. She was preceded in death by her first husband Fred V. Rozman and second husband Maynard Thoren. She was also preceded in death by her brothers Anton, George, Joseph and John and sisters Antonia (Elsie) Malisheske and Mary Klobuchar.
She is survived by her two daughters Dorothy (Tom) Kauppi and Susan (Rozman) Loughead as well as her grandson Michael (Wanda) Kauppi. She is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews.

Mon
03
May

Major Richard J. “Dick” Hedloff (Retired)

Major Richard J. “Dick” Hedloff (Retired)
Dick passed away at the LaLoma Care Center in Litchfield Park, Arizona on Wednesday, 21 April 2021.
Dick was born in Ely on 17 July 1929 to Archie & Ellen (Anderson) Hedloff, the youngest of three boys. He attended Ely schools until at the age of 15, then followed in the footsteps of his brothers and enlisted in the Marine Corps on 20 June 1945. He rose to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant, then took a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. He retired at the rank of Major after 22 years in the Corps on 1 February 1967. His last duty station was Yuma, AZ Marine Air Station.
He remained there for another 18 years working as a civilian with the department of the Navy as Management Analyst in the Special Assistants Department on various military projects. He then retired a second time on 1 October 1989 after 40 plus years of service to his country.

Fri
30
Apr

Steve Phifer, former Ely resident

Steve Phifer, former Ely resident, died peacefully at home with his First Mate/Wife Judy and Cisco, his brown dog, by his side.
To say that fishing was Steve’s passion would be an understatement. Every vacation, despite his best effort not to, had fishing involved. His favorite places to fish included One Pine Lake, Lake Superior, and Zihuantenjo Mexico. Fishing for the elusive marlin at the Bat Islands in Costa Rica, and Tarpon fishing in San Juan Puerto Rico were highlights of his fishing adventures.
Steve was a talented musician who in his prime provided many a night’s worth of entertainment as a member of The Jack Daniels Band. He was happy to dust off his mouth harps and join the band a couple times during their recent reunion tour.

Tue
27
Apr

Eli "Butch" Kopperud

Eli James Kopperud (Butch), 97, of Ely, chose to move on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, at Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely, after a lifetime of teaching people how to be kind and happy. His gentle humor was intact even as the horrors of Parkinson’s ravaged his body and mind.
He was born in Brush Prairie, WA, to Linda (Mathiason) and Eimer Kopperud on October 23rd, 1923 and moved as a baby back to Walnut Grove, MN, where his parents had previously settled after emigrating from Norway.
He grew up a farmer, attending a one room school house until 8th grade, using horses to farm the land and lamenting the fact he had to wear shoes when summer ended. After graduating from high school in 1941, he tended the home farm until one of his older brothers returned from WWII before the government allowed him to join the Navy, where he served as a Seabee.

Mon
26
Apr

Todd Richard Przybylski, 54

Todd Richard Przybylski, 54, of Thief River Falls, MN passed away after a 3 year battle with brain cancer on Sunday April 25th 2021, at the Thief River Care Center. His loving family was by his side.

The Memorial Service to celebrate Todd’s life will be at 1:00 PM on Friday, April 30, 2021 at Johnson Funeral Service in Thief River Falls, MN with visitation one hour prior to the service.

Todd was born August 15th 1966 to Nick and Carol Przybylski in Winton, MN. He was the youngest of seven siblings. He graduated from Ely Memorial High School in 1985. Todd later joined the U.S. Air Force and served from November of 1987 – May of 1991.

Mon
19
Apr

Pauline Mae (Shervold) Johnson

Pauline Mae (Shervold) Johnson, age 77, from Babbitt, MN and formerly of Thief River Falls, MN, passed away peacefully on Thursday, March 18, 2021 at Essentia-St. Mary’s in Duluth, MN with her husband David and daughter Delaine by her side.
Funeral Services will be held at 10:30 AM on Saturday, May 1, 2021 at Evangelical Free Church in Thief River Falls, MN, with Pastor Pastor Kevin MacLean officiating. Burial will take place at Greenwood Cemetery after the funeral.
A visitation will be held from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM, with a 7:00 PM prayer service on Friday, April 30, 2021 at Johnson Funeral Service. Visitation will also take place one hour prior to the funeral service on Saturday at the church.

Mon
19
Apr

Estelle Eileen Harri

Estelle Eileen Harri, age 90, died at home April 9, 2021. Born Estelle Eileen Kollin, in Breitung Township (Soudan). Estelle is survived by her sons Gene (Cecilia), Mike (Mary), Charles, and Andy (Heather). Grandsons Mikey and Lenny Harri. She was preceded in death by her husband Milton and daughter Holly.
A private family burial in Ely Cemetery will be at a later time.

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