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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Obituaries - Mar. 9, 2018


Susan M. Saari-Karasti

Susan Marie Saari-Karasti, of Winton, died at home on Saturday, March 3, 2018, having just completed her 76th journey around the Sun, after her long struggle with the mental and physical deteriorations caused by dementia. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. There will be a private scattering of ashes.

Susan was born in Ely on March 3, 1942, where she and her family lived on “Finn Hill” until they moved to Los Angeles, California, when she was nine years old. They lived in Torrance where Susan most loved spending time on the beach and in the Ocean. Every summer, Susan, her mother and her brother would return to Minnesota for extended visits. Susan graduated from Torrance High School and from Pacific Lutheran University in the state of Washington, after which she taught high school English in the Los Angeles area.

In 1965, Susan answered President Kennedy’s call for volunteers and served in the Peace Corps in northern Nigeria. During one break, she went to Europe and then returned to Nigeria by way of joining a truck caravan crossing the Sahara Desert. Later, she traveled more in Europe and lived for a couple of years in Greece where she privately taught English.

After returning to the States, Susan lived in the San Francisco area where she worked at various jobs, and also learned how to weave and spin yarn at Pacific Basin School of Textile Arts. She returned to Ely as often as she could during the summers and would help her cousin, Norman Saari, build his resort on Tofte Lake. In 1976, Susan packed everything she owned into her Volkswagen Bug Ð except her loom, which she shipped Ð and returned to live in Ely. She bought her grandfather’s old shoe-repair shop building and turned it into her home and Sisu Designs Weaving and Yarn Shop, which she operated until she sold it in December 2013. Although it started as a weaving shop, it evolved into being primarily a knitting and yarn shop, and an important part of her business included hosting fall and winter knitting retreats, both locally and in New Mexico, for many years. In the early days of developing her weaving business, Susan met Carl Karasti and they married in 1980.

Through all of her years, Susan especially loved to sauna, to swim, and to dance. In 1992, she and Carl joined with several others to create the still-active Thursday Evening Group which is open to teachings of all spiritual paths and dedicated to celebrating and exploring the questions of the Great Mystery of Life. She and Carl have both also been active members of the Inayati Sufi Order and participants in the Dances of Universal Peace, for which Carl is a certified leader.

Susan is survived by her husband of 38 years, Carl Karasti, daughter, Anna Karasti, and grandson, Jacob Karasti, all of Winton; sister-in-law, Dorothy Saari of Walled Lake, Mich., sister-in-law, Linda Beek of South St. Paul; uncle, Bob Haapala of Ely; and many cousins and wonderful friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Fred and Lillian (Haapala) Saari; and brother, Fred Saari.

Mildred C. Koskovich

Mildred Clara Iverson Koskovich, 85, of Cook, was called home on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, from the Cook Hospital, surrounded by family.ÊA funeral service was held on Friday, March 2 at Mlaker Funeral Home in Cook. A luncheon in honor of Millie was held at the Cook Community Center following the service.

She is survived by her children, Steven (Brenda) Koskovich of Aurora, James (Brenda) Koskovich of Angora, Michael (Julie) Koskovich of Angora, Patricia Perkio of Angora, Betty Scofield of Chisholm, Diane (Richard) Clement of Brainerd, Katherine (Joel) Sundstrom of Pengilly and Mary (Jim Hill) Wiita of Kinney; brothers, Ernie (Elsie) Koskovich, Elmer (Betty) Koskovich, John (Loretta) Koskovich and Sam (Pam) Koskovich; 22 grandchildren; 33 great-grandchildren; step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Carl L. Blair

Carl Louis Blair, 85, born on Feb. 21, 1933, to Jess and Mary (Droel) Blair, passed away on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, at the Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely.ÊA memorial service was held on Saturday, March 3 at Kerntz Funeral Home in Ely.

ÊHe is survived by his daughter, Cindy (David) Dahl of Duluth; son, Bryon (Jamie) Blair of Hastings; grandchildren, Miranda, Alexandra and Jacob; brother, Rick (Janet) Blair of Cedar; and several nieces and nephews.


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