Obituaries

Wed
28
Oct

Bernard Henry Portinen, 85, of Ely

Bernard Henry Portinen, 85, of Ely passed away peacefully in his home on Sunday, October 25, 2020.
He was born on December 2, 1934 to Garnet and Esther (Baakkari) Portinen. His buddies gave him the knick name Barlo after the Portinen family's St. Bernrd.
On August 25, 1956 he married the love of his life, Nancy Jo Markovich. They were life-long Ely residents and raised a family on the west end. He worked and retired from St. Louis County where he was employed as a purchasing agent.
Barlo loved fishing and hunting with his boys and friends as well as watching football and baseball.
He was preceded in death by his wife Nancy, as well as his parents.
He will be missed by sons Dennis (Anne Vertin) of Ely, MN and Allen (Teri Zupec) of Maple Grove, MN and a daughter, Ruth (Keith) Aijala of Babbitt, MN.
A celebration of life will be held in the summer of 2021. Arrangements are with the Landmark Funeral Home in Virginia.

Tue
27
Oct

Franklin Lawrence Kuhar

Franklin Lawrence Kuhar

November 24, 1956 – October 6, 2020

Frank died at home surrounded by family on Tuesday, October 6, 2020. He was born in Ely, MN to Lawrence and Esther Kuhar. He graduated from Ely High School, class of 1975. Frank attended the University of St. Thomas and graduated with a degree in accounting.

Frank married his high school sweetheart, Jacinta (Cindy) Braun on June 30, 1979, recently celebrating their 41st year of marriage. Frank started his career at Ernst and Young and ended his career at Accenture.

Frank loved sports, especially golf. He was an avid MN Twins and Vikings fan despite their track records. He had a great sense of humor and was very charismatic.

Frank is survived by his beloved wife, Jacinta (Cindy), sons, Nicholas and Alexander Kuhar, daughter, Melissa (Matt) VanHavermaet, and grandsons Britton and Emerick VanHavermaet. Sisters- Jayne Kuhar and Carol (Ray) Oates.

Tue
27
Oct

Renee Lassi, 69, of Ely

Renee Ann Lassi, 69, of Ely, died peacefully with her family by her side Tuesday October 27.
She was born to John and Lorraine (Christianson) Zupancich on May 29, 1951.
Renee was a graduate of Ely Memorial High School and attended Vermilion Community College. She worked for the Ely School District as a paraprofessional, served as Student Council Advisor, cheerleading coach, and ran the best concession stand in all of Minnesota baseball. Renee was well known as a champion of youth and showed her endless love through time, creativity, and nurturing people with food.

Mon
26
Oct

Robert E. “Bob” Springer, age 81

Robert E. “Bob” Springer, age 81, passed away peacefully with family by his side at his home in Pequot Lakes, MN, on Friday, October 23, 2020. He was born to Edwin and Nora Springer on October 26, 1938, in Pequot Lakes. Bob and Eileen met in Kelly Lake, MN, and were married in Hibbing, MN, moving to Ely, MN to live and raise their family. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother and friend.
Bob is survived by his beloved wife of 59 years, Eileen; children: Wayne (Cheryl) Springer, Vicki Springer, Randy (Suzanne) Springer, Julie Tangen; grandchildren: Megan, Matthew and Aaron Springer, April (Cody) Hoisington, Angela (Patrick) Shea, Cody and Nicole Springer, Logan, Desirea and McKenzie Tangen; sister, Darlene Jarvis; and great grandchildren: Colton, Sage, Parker, Cam, Nora and Haley.

Mon
26
Oct

Irene Grahek

Irene Bergeron Grahek was granted her angels wings on October 20th 2020. She was 90 years old. Irene was born to Eugenie (Jane) and Peter Bergeron in Oklee Minnesota on August 20th 1930. Irene was the youngest of 6 six children and came into this world as a surprise! As a child she loved to roller skate with her brother Ernie. They were so good people nicknamed them Fred and Ginger!

Wed
21
Oct

Muriel E. “Babs” Maldeis

Muriel E. “Babs” Maldeis, of Rapid City, died Monday, October 19, 2020 at a local health care facility.
She was born in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, England to Stuart and Muriel (Pratt) Joyce.
Babs grew up in Clacton-on-Sea and in 1945 she became a war bride, marrying Lewis F. Maldeis, a US Army Air Corps supply Sgt. She entered the United States on May 6th, 1946 at New York City. They lived in Baltimore where she became an American citizen on January 14, 1952. They lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois and finally settled down in Ely, Minnesota where Babs was active in her church and church guilds and was active with the Ely Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and Sled Dog Committee.
After Lewis passed away, Babs moved in with her son, Mark in Rapid City in 1993. She became an active member in the British Wives Club, serving as vice president and president and Emmanuel Episcopal Church E.C.W.

Wed
21
Oct

Mary Jo Wiermaa Godt, age 68

Mary Jo Wiermaa Godt, age 68, passed away on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 in Augusta Georgia.
She was born on February 28, 1952 to Julien and Elsie Wiermaa. She is survived by Robert, her husband of 44 years. Her stepdaughter Heidi Godt (Sue) her Mother Elsie, sisters Amy Hoit (Mel), Susan Milleville (Greg), Alyssa Hawn (Jeff) brother John Wiermaa and many nieces and nephews. Preceded in death by her brother Brian and Father Julien.
Mary Jo graduated from J.F. Kennedy High School in Babbitt and Carleton College in Northfield, MN. She obtained her masters and PhD from the University of Georgia. She was a professor at the U of GA in botany(genetics) in Athens.
Even though Mary Jo lived in Georgia for many years, she loved coming home to northern Minnesota. Family was everything to her. She loved to read, garden, and cook wonderful meals. She rescued, cared for and loved her many dogs and cats.

Tue
13
Oct

Louise Groom, 90

Louise Groom, 90, died on October 9, 2020 at Cherrywood Advanced Living in Andover, MN. She was born on February 21, 1930 to Arthur and Elizabeth (Kulhman) Hietala in Finlayson, MN. Louise moved to Ely, MN as a young adult where she met and married Leonard M. Groom Sr., in 1948. She retired after working at the Ely Bloomenson Community Hospital for 33 years. Family was Louise’s priority. She enjoyed spending time with her children and grandchildren. Cooking, baking, knitting, fishing, and playing BINGO were her favorite activities.

Sat
10
Oct

Charles “Chuck” Evancevich, 61, of Babbitt

Charles "Chuck" Evancevich, 61, of Babbitt, passed away on Friday, October 9, 2020 at Essentia Health- St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth. Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.

Wed
07
Oct

Barbara Altavilla, 85

Barbara Altavilla, 85, was spiritually reborn on October 5, 2020, surrounded by loved ones. Barbara was born March 26, 1935, in London, England, to Joseph and Ethel (Jones) Rayner. She met Robert James Altavilla at the tender age of 17 when he was stationed in the United Kingdom with the U.S. Air Force. Barbara arrived in Minnesota on May 1, 1954, to marry “her American” on June 12, 1954. Bob and Barb shared 66 years of marriage, raising their three children on the Iron Range. One of Barbara’s greatest joys was gardening, as flowers flourished under her care. She couldn’t be happier in her garden, wearing a new pair of sandals, eating a bar of Cadbury chocolate, sipping English tea and listening to her favorite music. Barbara always had a camera nearby and captured albums full of memories. A voracious reader, Barbara immersed herself in Ancient Egypt, extraterrestrial civilizations, the life of Jesus and the history of Native Americans.

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