Obituaries

Thu
11
Oct

Thomas Jerry Blackwood Jr, 81, of Lafayette, CA, dies

Thomas Jerry Blackwood Jr, 81, of Lafayette, CA passed away peacefully on Sunday Sept. 16, 2018.
“Coach” as he preferred to be called was born in Palo Alto in 1936 to Thomas Jerry Blackwood Sr and Alice (Kovall, of Ely) Blackwood. After moving numerous times in his youth, he went on to be a 3-sport athlete at Menlo-Atherton High School in Menlo Park, CA where he was named ‘Peninsula Athlete of the Year’ in his senior year. Coach then attended college at San Jose State University before joining the Army. His decision to enlist would shape his life. He began service at the Monterey Language School, but posts in Turkey and Japan instilled in him a love of travel and history that followed him forever. Upon being discharged he enrolled at SF State University pursuing his passion for history and teaching. Upon graduating, he would go on to spend his next 40 years teaching and coaching at Miramonte High School in Orinda, California.

Tue
09
Oct

Mary Joan Lahtonen, 86, of Ely, dies

Mary Joan Lahtonen, 86, of Ely, passed away Monday, October 8, 2018 at Ely Bloomenson Hospital in Ely. Mary Joan (Muhvich) Lahtonen was born June 28, 1932 in Ely to George and Mary (Lunka) Muhvich. She was a life-long resident of Ely. On April 28, 1958, she was united in marriage to Eugene Lahtonen.
She was a lifetime member of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church and her faith in the Lord never waivered.
Mary Joan enjoyed reading, sharing a great connection with the Ely Librarians. She loved to sew, play the organ, and being with her dog, Misty.
She is survived by her children: John (Sarah),
James (Tammy),
Joseph (Shelley), and
David (Valerie).
Grandchildren: George (Sarah) Burger, Warren (Krystal) Burger, Richard Lahtonen, Julie (Mike) Shenise, Jacob Lahtonen, Matthew Lahtonen, Megan Lahtonen; Great Grandchildren: Asher and Asa; brothers: George (Patti) Muhvich and Frank (Terri) Muhvich; sister: Irene Muhvich; Beloved Dog, Misty.

Tue
09
Oct

Wilma Maxine Wagoner, 91, of Tower, MN dies

Wilma Maxine Wagoner, 91, of Tower, MN passed away on October 3, 2018 at Carefree Living in Ely.
Wilma was born on September 12, 1927, in Grand Rapids, MN, the daughter of Willis and Margeta (Ganion) Bemis. She grew up on a farm near Cohasset, MN with her father and eleven siblings. Her mom passed away when she was only a few years old leaving her with much responsibility in helping to take care of a large farm and family.

Tue
09
Oct

Betty A. Kotzian, 83, of Hibbing, formerly of Ely, dies

Betty Annette Kotzian, 83, originally of Ely, passed away at Guardian Angels on October 8, 2018. Betty was born on March 2, 1935 and was the loving daughter of Toivo and Sally (Blixtz) Carlson. Betty was a 1953 graduate of Ely Memorial High School and married her high school sweetheart, Patrick John Kotzian. They wed at the First Presbyterian Church in Ely on December 27, 1953. Betty and Pat were blessed with one son, Michael John and one daughter, Debra Kay. During their loving marriage, they lived in England, Illinois, Florida, Mississippi and Ohio.
Betty was a lifelong member of Grace Lutheran Church and had been employed by Army/Air Force Exchange System, Wells Fargo and Norwest Bank of Ely. She enjoyed life to the fullest with interests in sewing, ceramics, stamping, gardening, traveling, blueberry picking and fishing. Betty was a true lover of the outdoors and positively loved Minnesota. She was always open to new adventures and challenges.

Mon
01
Oct

Mary A. Omerza, 96, formerly of Babbitt, dies

Mary A. (Deyak) Omerza was born on March 15, 1922, in Ely, Minnesota, to Matt and Mary (Carr) Deyak. She grew up in rural Ely in Section 30 and 26 Location and attended Ely public schools. She was proud to display the pin she won for typing 100 words per minute on a manual typewriter!
She married Tony J. Omerza in Ely on April 17, 1940, and they settled into their first home in Ely. Mary was a homemaker, and she also worked at the Piggly Wiggly and Vertin’s. She was very active at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church and headed up the first production and printing of the very successful Ely Family Cookbook.

Sat
29
Sep

Debra J. (Bottjen) Licata, 64, dies

Debra J. (Bottjen) Licata 1953 – 2018
Deb, 64, of Rockford, IL, died on Monday, 9/24/18 at Serenity Hospice and Home following a brief illness. Deb was born on 9/27/53. Her faith was always important to her. She particularly had fond memories of her Confirmation (1968) at Luther Valley Lutheran Church in the rural Orfordville/Beloit area. Deb graduated from Orfordville High School, Orfordville, WI in 1971. She received teaching degree. After a short stretch of teaching and working in the business world it was obvious her passion was still for the church and her desire to share God’s word. Deb received her Master of Divinity at Luther Seminary, St. Paul MN. She filled in as needed in area churches and was praised for her skill of preaching.

Fri
28
Sep

Marjorie Alice Oelrich, 85, of Ely, and formerly of Babbitt, dies

Marjorie Alice Oelrich, 85, of Ely, and formerly of Babbitt, passed away peacefully, with family by her side, on Thursday, September 20, 2018 at St. Raphael’s Health and Rehabilitation Center in Eveleth after a short battle with cancer.
She was born on February 12, 1933 to Charles and Ida (Taylor) Finckbone in Guthrie, MN and was united in marriage to Leigh Oelrich on August 19, 1950.
Marjorie is survived by four children: Sharon (Stephen) Bateman of Spirit Lake, Idaho, Curtis Oelrich of Smelterville, Idaho, Doreen Flynn of Ely, and Tammy (John) Schubert of Missoula, Montana; six grandchildren, Jennifer (Jesse) Brunner, Jeremy (Hope) Bateman, Chris Bateman, Shannon (Johnathon) Kelley, Eric Schubert, Rachel Schubert; five great-grandchildren, Michaela, Bailey, Joshua, Caleb and Levi; one brother, Darrel (Charlotte) Finckbone of Guthrie, numerous nieces, nephews, and friends, especially those at the Babbitt Senior Center.

Fri
28
Sep

Veronica “Bonnie” Farkas, age 79, dies

Veronica (Bonnie) Farkas (Zgonc), 79, a long-time resident of Winton and Ely, Minnesota passed away at her residence surrounded by her family after a courageous battle with cancer on September 27, 2018. Bonnie was a much loved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt and friend. She was born in Ely, Minnesota on July 29, 1939, to Matt (Bell) and Josephine Zgonc. She graduated from Ely Memorial High School in 1957 and then attended business school in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Bonnie was married to John E. Farkas on January 17, 1959 and they resided in Winton until his death in 1982.

Mon
24
Sep

Pearl Swanson Shea, 87, of Framingham, MA, dies

Pearl Swanson Shea, 87, of Framingham, MA, died on September 21, 2018. Born in Ely, MN on November 21, 1930. Parents - Samuel Swanson and Eleanor Hyatt. She attended and graduated from Ely High School and Ely Junior College. Her first job was as a switchboard operator in Ely. After working as a secretary in Chicago, IL, she joined the Red Cross, working in Minneapolis and Walker, MN, before being assigned in 1952 to work as part of the Red Cross staff at Camp Chitose in Hokkaido, Japan. There she converted to Roman Catholicism and then met First Lieutenant Henry (Hank) Joseph Shea, who was returning from fighting in the Korean Conflict.

Fri
21
Sep

Marie A. Williams, 77, of Ely, dies

Marie Ann Williams, 77, of Ely, passed away at the Ely Bloomenson Community Hospital on Friday, September 21, 2018, after a short battle with cancer. Marie was born March 4, 1941 to Magnhild and Frank Boldin and was a lifelong resident of Ely. Marie was preceded in death by her parents and her husband of 47 years, Ronald J. Williams.
Marie is survived by her sister and brother-in-law, Caroline and Donald Mikolich of Ely, and her children and their spouses, Michael and Molly (Bridges) of Traverse City, MI; Tim and Linda (Niemela) of Lino Lakes, MN; Stacy and Rick Steel of Proctor, MN. She is also survived by her grandson and spouse Christopher and Kayla (Johnson) Bissonette, her grandchildren Meghan, Annikka, Jenni and Ricky Steel, Robert, Kathleen and Jack Williams, her great-grandson Jairus (Steel) Jennings, her sister-in-law Linda (Barry) Williams of Ely, brother-in-law and sister-in-law Jack and Mary Williams of Waseca, MN and many nieces and nephews.

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