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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Obituaries - Jan. 11, 2019


Melvin R. Luloff

Melvin R. Luloff, 79, of Lake Vermilion-Cook, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. A memorial gathering was held on Wednesday, Jan. 9 at Washburn-McReavy Eden Prairie Chapel. A memorial in Cook will be held at a date to be announced.

Melvin made his home on Lake Vermilion in Cook. He was a general building contractor in the Twin Cities and on Lake Vermilion. He loved hunting turkeys and pheasants and adored his Springer Spaniels.

Melvin is survived by his wife, Nancy; children, Dan (Cindy), Susie (Todd) DeRenzis, Jim (Jennifer) Erickson and Cindy (Kevin) O’Connell; eight grandchildren; sister, Susan; beloved dog, Zeus; and many other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by five of his siblings.

Robert L. Stevens

Robert “Bob” Louis “Turtle” Stevens, 67, of Lake Vermilion-Tower and Virginia, passed away with his family by his side on Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. He died after a long, hard three and a-half-year battle with neuroendocrine cancer. He was a unique and special man who will live forever in our hearts. A Celebration of Life was held on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, at Bauman-Cron Funeral Home Chapel in Virginia.

Bob was born in Minneapolis on Feb. 28, 1951, to Ray and Bernice (Hennum) Stevens. While he was still a toddler, the family moved to Biwabik, where Bob graduated with the class of 1969. After high school, Bob attended college in Menominee, Wis., but left in 1973 to work in the mines and electrical construction.

In June 1976, Bob met his soulmate and the love of his life, Elizabeth Padgett of Cloquet, at the Tower Root Beer Stand. After a six-month whirlwind romance, Bob and Liz were married in Cloquet on Dec. 18, 1976. They had just celebrated 42 years of marriage. Bob and Liz had three children, Zebulon, Sarah and Hannah, and are currently raising two of their grandchildren, Luna and Anish.

They made their first home in Soudan, built a basement home in Pike-Sandy Township, moved to Hudson, Wis., and eventually relocated back to the Iron Range, settling in Virginia in 1993. After spending the summers of his youth growing up on Lake Vermilion, it was his dream to have his kids and grandkids love The Lake as much as he did, so in 1987, they bought their first cabin on The Lake. The Lake was his sanctuary and his happy place that he loved the most all of his life.

Bob had been an instructor in Electrical Controls and Maintenance at Mesabi Range College since the fall of 1993. After being hired to teach, Bob completed his degree at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menominee, on what he referred to as the 25-year plan. He held a BS in Vocational Education from Stout, an MS in Electronics and Computer Technology from Indiana State University, and an Automated Systems Diploma from the Eveleth Area Vocational Technical Institute. He was very proud of the fact that he was able to return to the Range, teaching in the program he graduated from in the early 80s. He enjoyed going to his job every day, and never considered it work. He got great satisfaction out of teaching, always leaving his students with a story relating to the lesson at hand.

He was a jack-of-all trades who could do anything - from building and remodeling homes to car repairs to painting beautiful oils. It was Bob’s Grandpa Hennum, his father Ray, and teacher Dan Saarela from high school shop class who gave him his love of woodworking. Bob was a rock collector; everywhere he went he took home rocks to add to his collection or to use in some building project he had going. He loved to deer hunt at the shack, duck hunt the Vermilion River, fish wherever they were biting on Lake Vermilion, sail on his sailboat, and enjoy campfires by The Lake. Bob was first and foremost a family man, always placing his family above all else, whether it was taking them on numerous adventures or just being there for them. Some of his happiest times were spent playing games with or telling folktales and stories to his kids or grandkids.

He will be missed and cherished by his wife, Liz; son, Zebulon and his children Luna and Anish of Virginia; daughter, Sarah (Keith) Knudson and their children Bo, Alden, Chase, Everett, Liam, Cash, Isla, Carys and Tyce of Wuori Township; daughter, Hanna (Bjørn Åge) Haugen and their children Helén, Philip and Louis of Tranby, Norway; dad, Ray (Carolyn) of Lake Vermilion-Tower; siblings, Don (Della) Stevens of Circle Pines, JoAnne (Jim “Louie”) Lewis of Steamboat Springs, Colo., and Dick (Eva) of Mound; father-in-law, Doug Padgett of Lake Vermilion-Tower; and many dear relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Bernice Stevens; and both sets of grandparents.

Shirley A. Seinola

Shirley Ann Seinola, 81, of Rochester, former longtime resident of Cook, passed away on Friday, Dec. 28, 2018, at Seasons Hospice House in Rochester. A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Cook with Father Nicholas Nelson officiating. A reception in honor of Shirley was held following the service at the church. Warren Mlaker played the Button Box in her honor. Interment was at St. Bridget’s Cemetery in Greaney Township. The family suggests donations to Seasons Hospice, 1696 Greenview Drive SW, Rochester, MN 55902. Arrangements were with Mlaker Funeral Home of Cook.

Shirley was born to Victor and Mary (Vukelich) Zgaynor on March 27, 1937, in Cook. She grew up in Celina and attended school in Alango. She graduated from Alango High School in 1957. She was united in marriage to Ronald “Ron” Seinola on Nov. 2, 1957, in Greaney. Soon after graduation and her marriage to Ron, Shirley decided to pursue a health care degree, graduating from the Radiography Program at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth. Shirley and Ron moved back to Cook, where they remained living at the same residence on Johnson Road Extension for almost 60 years. They raised their family there and Shirley continued her lifelong dedication to health care service in Cook.

Shirley worked at the Cook Hospital and Care Center, and at Scenic Rivers Health Services. Although formally trained as an X-ray technologist, she also learned about laboratory medicine and was instrumental in maintaining the laboratory services at the Cook Hospital. She completed her career as a medical assistant at Scenic Rivers Health Services, where she retired in 2002. In all, Shirley worked almost 40 years in health care in Cook, where she helped to care for so many people in the region. She simply loved her work and the people of the region.

Shirley’s other passion and greatest joy was her family and spending as much time as she could with them, especially her grandchildren. She treasured her grandsons and was always doing something special for them or sending them cards and letters with special messages. When her two great-granddaughters came along later in Shirley’s life, she was overjoyed and showered them with love. Shirley always looked forward to all her family returning home for various family events. She was a superlative cook. Shirley especially loved to see her family at “the Camp” near Cook where they were together for so many family times and many Thanksgiving meals. Shirley also made sure that her family would take an annual vacation together. They would vacation to Rainy Lake in International Falls or Fenske Lake Cabins in Ely. She really enjoyed those focused times with the family; as they tell it, she was a pretty good fisherwoman. Shirley loved spending time outdoors; during the summer, she could always be found in one of her many flower gardens with her husband Ron by her side. Sadly, her beloved husband passed away in 2017.

Shirley is survived by her daughter, Jody Seinola Dearth of Rochester; son, Scott (Geri) Seinola of St. Charles; grandsons, Daniel Dearth of Rochester, Benjamin (Rebekah) Seinola of Winona and Jared (Hannah) Seinola of St. Charles; great-granddaughters, June Marie Seinola and Teagan Ann Seinola; and sister, Beverly (Wally) Helmbrecht of Blaine.

Shirley was preceded in death by her parents, Victor and Mary; and husband, Ron.

Thomas M. Rukavina

Thomas Martin “Tom” Rukavina, 68, of Virginia, passed away on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, at University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis. Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19 at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Virginia. Visitation will be held on Friday, Jan. 18 at Range Funeral Home in Virginia from 5 to 7 p.m. and will continue on Saturday at the church from 9:30 a.m. until the 11 a.m. service. Full obituary to follow. Arrangements are pending with Range Funeral Home in Virginia.

Helen R. Kallio

Helen Ruth Kangas Kallio, 91, of Ocala, Fla., formerly of Virginia and Embarrass, died on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, at the Superior Residences Assisted Living facility in Ocala, where she had resided since July 2018. A private family burial will take place this summer at the Embarrass Cemetery. Arrangements are with Range Funeral Home of Virginia.

She is survived by her sons, Ronald (Rebecca) Kallio of New Port Richey, Fla., and Thomas (Patricia) Kallio of New Brighton; daughter, Peggy (Gary) Ahistus of Ocala, Fla.; six grandchildren; and eleven great-grandchildren.

Leonard R. Pylka

Leonard Raymond Pylka, 99, formerly of Aurora, and originally of Embarrass, passed away peacefully with his children by his side on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, at Chris Jensen Health and Rehabilitation Center in Duluth. He had requested that no service be held at this time; there will be a graveside service in the spring at Forest Hill Cemetery in Aurora. Local arrangements are by Ziemer-Moeglein-Shatava Funeral Home in Aurora.

He is survived by his daughter, Peggy (Doug) MacDonald of Duluth; son, Bruce (Susie) Pylka of Sawyer; grandchildren, Shelly (Doug Koda) Crist, Jason (Mina Yee) MacDonald, Chad (Jessi) Pylka and Wade (Courtney Keyler) Pylka; great-grandchildren, Auston, Dylan, Finley, Mason, Emilia and Easton; sister-in-law, Anerva Pylka; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Martha V. Norha

Martha Violet Niemi Norha, 89, of Virginia, originally of Embarrass, passed away on Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, at Essentia Health St. Mary’s in Duluth. A funeral service was held on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, at Messiah Lutheran Church in Mt. Iron with Pastor Joyce Piper officiating. Arrangements were with Range Funeral Home in Virginia.

She is survived by her children, Margaret (Joseph) Sullivan, Rebecca (Robert) Enger and Amy Norha; grandchildren, J. Matthew Sullivan, Nick Sullivan (Amber Dennis), Ryan (Jessica) Enger, Paul Enger Esq. (Alex Berns), Martie Enger, Holly Norha and Sophia Norha; great-grandchildren, Emma Sullivan and Mariah Neely-Enger; sister, Lillian Angelo; and sisters-in-law, Bertha (Charles) Maki and Joyce Niemi.

Laura A. Burton

Laura Angeline Buckingham Burton, 89, of Babbitt, passed away on Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, at Northern Pines Care Center in Aurora. Per her request, no services are planned at this time. A graveside service will be held in the spring at Argo Cemetery.

She is survived by her children: Bonnie Jean Olson and children; Connie Olson, Shanon (Keith) Urbanski and sons Anthony and Zachary; Barbara Jo Kupka (Lawrence) and children; Christine (Scott) Hautala and children; Lindsey (Aaron) Hallman, Allyson, Lance Kupka (Kathy) and children; Nicholas Tiedeman, AnnMarie; Heather Tomczak (Joseph) and children; John and Olivia. Beverly Jon Hill (Jonathon) and children; Tina Strange and Tricia Gray (Jason) and children; Jordan, Jadin and Jasmine Taylor; four great-great-grandchildren; sister, Dorothy Hugget; sister-in-law; Carol Buckingham; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Carole A. Nelson

Carole Ann Nelson, 83, of Babbitt, died on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, at the Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth. Memorial services were held on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Babbitt with Pastor Jonathan Varn officiating. Inurnment will be in Argo Cemetery in Babbitt at a later date. Memorials are preferred to the Good Shepherd Ladies Aid of Babbitt. Arrangements are by Ziemer-Moeglein-Shatava Funeral Home in Aurora.

She is survived by her children, Diane (Fred) Cooke, David Nelson, Mike (Vicki) Nelson, Sherry (Gene) Maki, Kevin (Mary) Nelson, Steve Nelson, Robert Nelson and Judy (Steve) Ginther; eleven grandchildren; twenty great-grandchildren; five great-great-grandchildren; brother, Thomas Dubbe; sister, Audrey (Keith) Parker; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Greg Rebeau

Greg Rebeau, 67, of Lake Vermilion, passed away suddenly on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018, after suffering a cardiac event. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

He is survived by his brother, John (Julie) Rebeau; his daughter with Kathy Boyer, Cassie (Finn) Jacobsen; granddaughter, “Hollywood”; niece, Jess (Trevor) Rebeau; and several cousins.

Phyllis Alvin

Phyllis Noren Alvin, 93, of North Branch, originally of Soudan, died on Christmas Day 2018. A memorial service will be held in May 2019.

She is survived by her children, Candace (Larry) Anderson of North Branch, Jill (Jack) Graser of Naples, Fla., Tom (Shelley) Alvin of Verado, Ariz., and Jon Alvin of Center City; grandchildren, Andrea Moen, Ryan (Michelle) Moen, Peter (Connie) Alvin, Jonathan (Christine) Alvin, Zack (Amanda) Alvin and Jennifer (Ari) Zainudden; and nine great-grandchildren.

Kenneth M. White

Kenneth Michael White, 56, of Cook, died suddenly on Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. at the Cook Hospital. Funeral services were held on Saturday, Dec. 29 at Ziemer-Moeglein-Shatava Funeral Home in Aurora with Pastor Jim Stevens officiating. Burial was in Forest Hill Cemetery in Aurora.

He is survived by his mother, Virginia Park; stepmother, JoAnne (Don) Strandlund; siblings, Virginia Crews, Wilfred (Stephanie) White, Kimberly (John) Schick, Richard (Tracee) White and Kelly (Jill) Park; step-siblings, Waylan (Karlyn) Lundquist, Julie (Bruce) Miltz, Karen (Scott) Kroll, Tom (Shannon) Lundquist, Jackie Marie Schumacher, Christine (Ronald) Adams, Tammy (Mark) Langfeld, Patrick (Diane) Park and Cindy (Jeff) Hancock; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Leonard M. Rent

Leonard Martin Rent, 90, of Embarrass, and formerly of Aurora, died peacefully on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018, at Northern Pines Nursing Facility in Aurora. A Funeral Mass was held at Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church in Aurora on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019.

He is survived by his very special friend, Carla Olson of Embarrass; daughters, Cyndee (Brian) Forsman of Aurora and Sandy (Tony) Addy of Virginia; son, John Rent of Chicago; grandsons, Arik (Jessica) Forsman of Duluth, Nick (Angel) Addy of Gilbert and Jon (Kristi) Addy of Mt. Iron; and great-grandchildren, Amelia, Arlo and Zinnea.


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