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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Obituaries - March 22, 2019


Marion K. Sederstrom

Marion Kathlene Saari Sederstrom, 90, of Tower, passed away peacefully in her sleep the evening of Saturday, March 16, 2019, at her home. Visitation will be held from 3-5 p.m. on Sunday, March 24 at Bauman-Vermilion Funeral Home in Tower. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, March 25 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Tower, with a family graveside service at Beckville Lutheran Church in Litchfield at a later date. Memorials are preferred to Immanuel Lutheran Church Choir, PO Box 466, Tower, MN 55790. 

Marion was born on May 20, 1928, the daughter of an iron miner and a schoolteacher. Marion grew up in Soudan and loved both the communities of Tower and Soudan dearly, along with Lake Vermilion and the Saari family island, with cabin and sauna built by her father. Surviving the hardship years of the Great Depression left lasting lessons about how to live a happy life.

After graduating from Tower-Soudan High School in 1946, Marion studied at the University of Minnesota’s School of Home Economics on the St. Paul campus, where she met the love of her life, Don Sederstrom.

They made a dashing couple, and after college began their great adventure together with unique challenges - Don helping his father with the family farm at Beckville, southwest of Litchfield, while Marion took a teaching job in Morris. After they were married on Dec. 30, 1950, Marion joined him to work the dairy farm, and in the coming years they were blessed with three children, Noel, Beth and Leigh.

Theirs was a life centered around a one-room country schoolhouse a mile away and Don’s home church, Beckville Lutheran, where for years Marion was the organist. Their life evolved, with Don launching a fertilizer-farm supply business in Litchfield, and Marion landing the home economics teaching position at Litchfield Senior High School.

Don’s personal history with the International Farm Youth Exchange program during college led them to become hosts of numerous foreign exchange students over the years, from six different nations. Marion and Don were asked to be among the first Americans to tour the People’s Republic of China after the thaw of relations with the U.S. in the 1970s.

  Marion also traveled to Finland with her sister Natalie and developed a passion for promoting Finnish culture and heritage. This became an ever bigger part of her life when she and Don did a turnabout in 2007 and retired north to her hometown, and Finnish pulla (sweet bread) and pastries flowed from her kitchen.

Marion brought her beloved violets north with her. She had launched a home-based business as a Mary Kay beauty consultant and after her teaching career was over, she continued that role into her later years, even after Don passed away in 2014. Marion was a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church of Tower, where she sang in the choir; she also maintained a relationship with her home church, St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran of Soudan.

Marion is survived by her children, Noel (Cindy) Sederstrom of Rochester, Beth Malmgren of Minneapolis and Leigh (Tim) Lillquist of Tower; four grandchildren, Christopher Sederstrom of Minneapolis, Nicolette (Jason) Whitney of Portage, Mich., Donald (Katie) Quinn III of Woodbury and Dr. Maggie Quinn of Costa Mesa, Calif.; three great-grandchildren, Alex and Andrew Whitney and Emmett Quinn; numerous nieces and nephews; and her Yorkie, Sadie. 

She was preceded in death by her husband, Donald; parents, Gust and Elina Saari; and sisters, Ethel and Natalie.  

Richard D. Tomsich

Richard Dean “Rick” Tomsich, 61, of Tower, passed away on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, at Essentia Health St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth. A Memorial Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 30 at St. Martin’s Catholic Church in Tower with Rev. Fr. Nick Nelson as celebrant. A gathering of family and friends will be for one hour prior to Mass at the church. Spring burial will be at Lakeview Cemetery in Tower. Arrangements are with Landmark Funeral Home of Virginia.

Rick was born on Aug. 8, 1957, in Ely, the youngest of seven children, to Leonard “Lanko” and Nelmi (Carlson) Tomsich. Rick was a lifelong resident of Tower. He attended Tower-Soudan High School, where he played basketball and football, graduating in 1975. He learned the family business, Tower Bakery, firsthand, alongside his parents and sisters and brothers. He worked at the bakery from age 14 until its closing in 1990. He then worked for Pep’s Bakery in Virginia for many years and continued on to make the famous “Tower Bakery” pasties for everyone to enjoy.

Rick loved the outdoors. He was an avid grouse and deer hunter, with both rifle and bow. He liked to play darts and pool and was a member of the Iron Range Men’s Pool League. He also enjoyed watching the Vikings and Twins. Rick was proficient at doing sudoku and crossword puzzles and was a master of both. He was hardly ever seen around town without his dog by his side. He was a member of St. Martin’s Catholic Church of Tower.

Rick lived with multiple health challenges his entire life, but he displayed a consistently optimistic outlook with his easygoing nature. He was humble, kind, and had a great sense of humor. He is gone too soon.

Rick is survived by three brothers, Leonard (Judith) Tomsich of New Baltimore, Mich., Barry (Gail Nelson) Tomsich of Crosslake and Timothy (Lori) Tomsich of Soudan; three sisters, Cathy (Jim) Wright of Tower, Nancy Larson of Soudan and Robin (Sheldon) Majerle of Tower; aunt, Helen Lakner of Ely; nephews, nieces and numerous cousins; his dog, Breeze; many great friends; and all the people whose lives he touched.

He was preceded in death by his parents; niece, Jill (Tomsich) Langley; and brother-in-law, Richard Larson.

Melvin E.

Edstrom Jr.

Melvin E. “Mel” Edstrom Jr., 74, of Orr, died on Sunday, March 17, 2019, at home surrounded by his loving family. A private memorial service will be held at a later date.

He is survived by his wife, Rae; children, James (Linda) Edstrom of Eveleth and Jeremy (Staci) Edstrom of Lincoln, Neb.; ten grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; brothers, Dennis Edstrom of Arizona and Ricky (Linda) Dolinsek of Eveleth; and sister, Jane (Jack) Stanaway of Eveleth.

Richard D. Steinbach

Richard Daniel Steinbach, 44, of International Falls, formerly of Cook, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Monday, March 11, 2019. A Memorial Mass was held on Thursday, March 21 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Cook. Military honors were accorded by the Honor Guards of Cook VFW Post 1757 and Orr American Legion Post 480. Arrangements were with Mlaker Funeral Home of Cook.


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