Obituaries

Mon
02
Feb

Phyllis J. Bentz, 87, of Richfield, MN dies

Phyllis J. Bentz, 87, of Richfield, MN passed away on January 27, 2015 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Preceded in death by parents John and Margaret Freeburg and nine siblings.
She is survived by loving husband of 63 years Robert W. Bentz, children: Richard Bentz of Eden Prairie, MN, Donald (Beth) Bentz of Eden Prairie, MN, Leanne Reiter of Novato, CA, Rae (Cindy) Bentz of Ely, Robert (Brenda) Bentz St. Thomas, USVI; grandchildren: Erica Bentz, Lauren Bentz, Drew Bentz, Nicholas Bentz, Joe Reiter, Mike (Laura) Reiter; brother Donald (Terry) Freeburg. Memorial Service will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 8 with gathering one hour prior, Washburn McReavy Eden Prairie Chapel, 7625 Mitchell Road, Eden Prairie, MN 55344. Private interment Ft. Snelling National Cemetery. Memorials preferred to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Mon
26
Jan

Herman T. Blasing, 59, of Ely dies

Herman T. Blasing, 59, of Ely passed away on Monday, January 26, 2015 at the Ely Bloomenson Community Hospital.
Herman Thomas Blasing was born May 8, 1955 to Bernard and Mary (McDonald) Blasing in St. Charles, Illinois. He was baptized in the Fourth Street Methodist Church, Aurora, Il, and was later confirmed there. He graduated from East Aurora High School in Aurora, Il in 1973. Herman attended Millikan University in Decatur, Illinois, and later Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesburo, Tennessee, graduating with a degree in Communications. He worked in marketing for Polygram Records for over 25 years and was for a time their national sales manager for the distribution to Target. In 2007, Herman began his proud career with Thrivent Financial as a Financial Advisor, and started the office in Ely.

Mon
26
Jan

Marvin LeRoy “Swede” Sundberg, 82, dies

Marvin LeRoy “Swede” Sundberg, 82, passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 24, 2015 at St. Mary’s Hospital, Duluth, MN. He was born January 1, 1933, in Graceton, MN, the son of Arthur E. and Alice J. (Sundquist) Sundberg.
After serving in the U.S. Army, Marvin settled in the Babbitt/Silver Bay area in 1957 and worked at Reserve Mining Company for over 30 years as a Railroad Engineer. Over the years Swede loved spending time playing his guitar, fishing, hunting and in later years spending time with his grandchildren, gardening and playing cards.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife of 30 years, Margaret Stalboerger; a sister, Margaret; brothers: Arnold, and Elmer.

Sun
25
Jan

Verna M. (Sve) Torstenson, 84, of Babbitt, dies

Verna M. (Sve) Torstenson, 84, of Babbitt, died Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, at the Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital. She married Navy veteran Robert (Bob) Torstenson in 1948. In 1963 Bob, Verna and their three sons moved to Babbitt, where Bob worked on the locomotives at Reserve Mining. Verna was active with many groups and activities at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Babbitt and is survived by her sons. Funeral will be held Tuesday, Jan. 27.

Thu
22
Jan

Joyce E. Aronson, 75, dies

Joyce E. Aronson, 75, of Lake Vermilion-Tower, died Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, at the Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely. She was born Jan. 13, 1940, in Ely, the daughter of Jalmer and Hazel (Juhola) Toikka and grew up in Duluth.

Tue
20
Jan

Matt Walker, 33, formerly of Ely, dies

Matthew Dave ‘Lil Walks’ Walker, 1981 - 2015
At the age of 33 Matt’s life was tragically cut short on January 17, 2015. We may never fully understand what happened that day. We do know we lost an amazing friend, father, brother, uncle and a son. Family was important! He went to every function, but we can see he touched so many more lives through friendship. He would love/befriend just about anybody without judgment! That was Matt’s beautiful spirit.
Matt held various jobs; but one of his favorites was working in the kitchen at the Chocolate Moose in Ely. He enjoyed helping out in the kitchen and he loved to cook.

Sat
17
Jan

Roberta Johnson, 60, of Babbitt, dies

Roberta Johnson, 60, of Babbitt, passed away in Duluth on Saturday, January 17, 2015. Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.

Fri
16
Jan

Mark A. Paynter, 67, of Ely, dies

Mark A. Paynter, 67, of Ely and formerly of Aurora, MN passed away at the Ely Bloomenson Community Hospital in Ely on Thursday, January 15, 2015.
Mark was born January 6, 1948 in Warren, MN, the son of Warren and Florence Paynter.
Mark graduated from Aurora-Hoyt Lakes High School and attended Concordia College in Moorhead where he majored in music with a minor in theology.
Gentle man or gentle gentleman, everyone had a great affection for Mark.
After his young years in college, Mark was a ski bum in Aspen, CO while working as a singing waiter. Once he settled in Ely, he played trumpet with the Aurora City Band and the Concert Band (influenced by his father Warren). He loved kitchen jamming music sessions and playing in the Ely Klown Band. Mark also started a band in Ely in the 1990s called Tuxedo Junction. Mark appreciated all types of music but he was especially fond of country, folk rock, the Beatles and big band marches.

Thu
15
Jan

Stanley John Kunstel, 87, of Ely, dies

Stanley John Kunstel, 87, of Ely, died Thursday, January 15, 2015.
He was born on September 29, 1927 at home in Ely to Jacob and Agnes (Tekavitz) Kunstel. He quit school at age 16 to go work on the railroad and later he worked for the U.S. Forest Service. He then moved to Duluth to work for Bridgeman's making ice cream. Toward the end of WWII, he went into the U.S. Army and served from 1945-1947 becoming a Sergeant. Returning to Ely, he worked at the Zenith Mine for 13 years. With the help of a Harley motorcycle he met and married Betty Markovich in 1953. They managed the Ely Bowling Alley from 1951-1954 setting the pins up by hand. After being laid off from the mine, Stan "Squints" got a job at the Ely Post Office as a postal clerk for 29 years. During that time, he also sold cemetery markers and monuments from 1961-2013.

Thu
15
Jan

Ronald Jack Harri, of Ely, dies

Ronald Jack Harri, of Ely, died Jan, 10, 2015, in Rochester, Minn., at the age of 87.
He was born Nov. 3, 1927, to Matilda (Markovich) and Toivo Harri. He attended grade school at the Section 30 School, graduating from Ely Memorial High School. After graduation Ron entered the U.S. Navy. He proudly served as a submariner on the USS Cabezon SS334 from 1945-1947. Ron attended Ely Junior College and Dunwoody Institute in Minneapolis.

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