James M. Pinckney, 63, of Ely

Funeral arrangements for James M. Pinckney, 63, of Ely, are pending with the Landmark Funeral Home in Virginia.
He passed away Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021 at Essentia Health St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth.


Frank E. Fifo, 84, of Ely

Frank Fifo was born on March 31, 1936, in Red Jacket, West Virginia, and died in Ely, Minnesota on Friday, January 22, 2021.
While some retirees spend their time on the golf course or playing cards, Frank spent his wisdom years making candy, slaying walleye, volunteering in his community, and tending to his family.
Frank made the holiday season even brighter with his edible gifting. He was renowned for his delicately dipped chocolate truffles, chocolate-covered boozy cherries, hand-crafted walnut caramels, and peanut butter bonbons. However, it was Frank’s cashew brittle that earned his acclaimed reputation as the Candy Man. Candy making was a labor of love and was his way of giving back to the community.


Matthew Markovich, 88, of Ely

Matthew (Matt) George Markovich passed away January 13, 2021 at his home in Ely. Matt was born in Ely on June 21, 1932 to his parents Matthew and Ann Markovich. Matt graduated from Ely Memorial High School then went to work on the ore boats on the Great Lakes. He proudly served our country in the Navy on the aircraft carrier the “Princeton”. He then moved back to Ely and worked at Reserve Mining until retirement.
Matt married Mary Erickson on November 29, 1969 at Grace Lutheran Church in Ely.
Matt is survived by his Nephews Michael (Becky) Trancheff, Blaine and White Iron; and Patrick (Ellen) Trancheff, Lake Vermilion; Great Nephew Brian (Elina) Trancheff and Great Nieces Megan (Dan) Salisbury, Kirsten Trancheff and Laura Trancheff; Great-Great Nephews Calvin, Max and Jonah Salisbury and Great-Great Nieces Ella and Millie Trancheff plus his Special Furry Friend Tundra who would be seen driving around with Matt.


Bob “Nisky” Niskala, 68, of Ely

Robert William “Nisky” Niskala of Ely, MN was unexpectedly taken from us on Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at the age of 68. He was born in Winton,  MN on April 5, 1952 to Russell Niskala and Shirley (Ranta) Niskala. He graduated from Ely Memorial High School in 1970 and then enlisted into the United States Marine Corps at the age of 18, where he proudly served as a machine gunner in the Vietnam War. His service to our country went on to inspire his passion for all things military.
After returning to Ely from the service, Bob received his millwright apprenticeship at US Steel in Virgina, MN. He then moved on to work at Reserve Mining for a short time. With the opening of Inland Steel Mine in Virgina, Bob began the greater part of his career, and retired from there after thirty-plus years.


Stephen Anthony Rebrovich, age 77

Stephen Anthony Rebrovich, age 77, passed away peacefully at his home in Newman Lake, WA on January 2, 2021 with his family by his side.
He was born August 26, 1943 in Biwabik, MN. He was raised in Babbitt, MN. He married Marjorie Dallmann on November 20, 1965 and they were married two days short of 50 years.
He was a journeyman electrician at Reserve Mining Company (Babbitt, MN) retiring in 1986 and Sonoco Fibre Drum (Pittsburg, CA) in 1994.
He was an avid camper. He loved walleye fishing with his wife and grandchildren and was very good at it.
He is preceded in death by his wife Marge, parents Steve and Josephine, sister Charlotte and brother Randy. He is survived by his children: Bruce Kochevar of Mt. Iron, MN, Connie Boulet (Troy) of Lewiston, ID and Shelly Buckholz (Darin) of Goodyear, AZ; six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
His celebration of life will be held at a future date.


James “Jim” Negri

James “Jim” Negri
Age 80, of Fridley area
Passed away 12/29/2020
James Alfin Negri, born June 15, 1940 in Hibbing, Minnesota, to parents, Felix B. Negri and Doris Carlson Negri (both are deceased).
He is survived by two Sisters, Phyllis (The late Dick Jarvi) Negri Jarvi, of Hibbing, and Dee (Tom Stilinovich) Negri Stilinovich, of Eagle, Idaho; six Nephews and one Niece. Jim was never married and had no children.
His early education was spent at Brooklyn Elementary, North Hibbing Junior High School, and graduated from Ely High School in 1959, after the family moved in 1956 to Babbitt, MN.
Jim enlisted in the US Air Force on July 14, 1959. He trained at warehouse/supply/inventory in Texas. Jim was sent to Europe after training, and he was stationed at bases in France, Germany, and the Netherlands. He was Airman E-4. Jim received an honorable discharge on January 15, 1963.


Lorraine “Toni” Phelps

Lorraine “Toni” Phelps passed away at the Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely, Minn., on Jan. 1, 2021.
She was born Aug. 20, 1934, and was a lifelong resident of Ely. She graduated from Ely Memorial High School and attended Vermilion Community College.
She married her soulmate, Lavern “Flip” Phelps in 1954. Toni worked at Pamida and later managed the Ely Steelworker’s Credit Union. She was passionate about helping her members and so enjoyed the social aspect of her position that she continued to work until the age of 79.
Toni was quick to share a laugh and enjoyed visiting with family and friends. She also enjoyed going to the casino, baking and bowling. Toni was a member of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church and for many years served as chairwoman of her church circle. She was the treasurer of the local American Cancer Society and was also a member of the Ladies VFW.


Delores Marie Pucel, age 88

Delores Marie Pucel, age 88 of Plymouth, MN passed away on Sunday, January 3rd, 2021. She was born in Keewatin, MN on March 22, 1932 and was the third child of Matthew and Angela Drobnick. Delores lost her father in a mining accident just before her second birthday. She moved to Ely, MN in 1940 with her mother and stepfather, Frank Marolt (also known as her “second dad”).
Delores graduated from Ely Memorial High School in 1950 and later moved to Minneapolis in 1952. On July 31, 1954, Delores Drobnick and Joseph Pucel were united in Holy Matrimony at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Ely, MN. They moved to LaCrosse, WI where Joe started his teaching career. After six years, they moved to Crystal, MN where they raised their three daughters, Marie, Peggy and Terri.


Leona M. Janezich, 91

Leona Marie Janezich, age 91, passed away on Saturday, January 2, 2021 at the Boundary Waters Care Center. She had finished living her life.
She was born in Ely, Minnesota to Louis and Ana (Matelic) Janezich on May 27, 1929. Leona graduated from Ely Memorial High School in 1947 and from Ely Junior College in 1949. Her work experience for a short time included being a nurse’s aide at the old Shipman Hospital, a clerk at the Sears Catalogue Office, a third grade teacher at Fort Yates on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota, a worker in a dental office, and finally, for 47 years she worked various jobs at the American Fraternal Union.
She belonged to the Ely Branch 23 of the Slovenian (Women’s) union, was a member of the Duluth Scleroderma Support Group, a survivor of melanoma cancer, and a member of Women’s Life Insurance. She also served on the Board of Directors for the Ely-Winton Historical Society.


Rudolph Michael Grahek, 94

Rudolph Michael Grahek, 94 of Ely, Soudan and Lake Havasu City, AZ passed away Thursday, December 24, 2020 at the Chisholm Heritage Manor.
He was born on May 22, 1926, to Steve and Ann (Strukel) in Ely. Rudy graduated from Ely High School and attended the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. He was a World War II and Korean War veteran and a member of the American Legion Post 45. Rudy married Agnes Mesojedec in June 1953 and later married Angeline Pertz in 1973.
Rudy worked at the Soudan Underground Mine, the Ely Pioneer Mine and also owned and operated several businesses, including the Friendly Tavern Bar, Rudy’s Amusement Machine business, Snow Shield, Ruann’s Teen Center and his first wife’s Town & Country Beauty Salon. And he was the Tax Assessor for the Township of Breitung.


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