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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Obituaries: November 13, 2020


Madeline Udovich
Madeline “Maddy” Udovich, 92, loving wife, mother, grandmother, aunt and friend, passed away on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 13 at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Orr. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the church. A meal will follow at the Orr American Legion, with burial to follow at St. Bridget’s Cemetery in Greaney. Arrangements are with Mlaker Funeral Home of Cook.
Maddy was born on July 19, 1928, to Frank and Mary Kovach, in Greaney, where she was raised with her siblings. She went to cosmetology school in Minneapolis in her younger years, and worked as a beautician until officially retiring at the age of 85. On Sept. 8, 1951, she married the love of her life, John Udovich. They raised five children, Adrianne, Sharon, Paul, Tony and Marie, together in Orr.
Maddy had a passion for reading, puzzles, helping others, the church, her family, card- playing, knitting, and watching her birds. She was an avid music enthusiast and you could guarantee that the country music station would be playing in her kitchen, with a pot of coffee on and the door open for anyone to come in and chat with her. She was an amazing cook and her meals were always a highlight of the holidays for her family. She was a kind, resilient, hard-working woman; if ever asked how she was doing, the sweet reply of “I’m Still Kicking” would typically be the answer. She was loved by just about anyone she met, and will be dearly missed.
Maddy is survived by her five children, Adrianne (Dale) Olson, Sharon (Dennis) Shermer, Paul Udovich, Tony (Lori) Udovich and Marie Carter; eight grandchildren, Terry (Angie) Edwards, Keith (Renee) Shermer, Celine Shermer, Natalie (Mathew) Dincau, Andrea and Olivia Udovich, Megan Carter and Morgan (Nate) Wallestad; two great-grandchildren, Josie and Rachel Shermer; and numerous nieces and nephews who have the utmost love for her.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Mary; husband, John; sisters, Rose and MaryAnn; and brother, John.

Lester W. Rablin
With sadness, his family announces that Lester Warren Rablin, 83, passed away after a brief illness, on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth. Private family services with full military honors will be held for Lester with interment following at Forest Home Cemetery in Buyck. A memorial service will be held next spring or summer for family and his many friends.    
 The family of Les would like to thank the doctors and nursing staff in the St. Luke’s Hospital ICU in Duluth for their constant compassion and superb care during Les’s brief stay, and Dr. Elleby and the wonderful nursing staff at the Cook Hospital ER. Donations in honor of Les can be directed to Wounded Warriors, his family, or a charity of your choice. Arrangements are with Mlaker Funeral Home in Cook.
Lester was born on Aug. 13, 1937, in a logging camp near the Rat Root River in Koochiching County. He was the ninth of fourteen children born to LeRoy and Gertrude Rablin. After a tragic logging accident where his brother Jack was killed, the Rablin family moved to Buyck, where Lester grew up.    
 As a young boy he enjoyed hunting, fishing and trapping. He loved the outdoors both for its necessity and the enjoyment it brought him. As a young boy he attended Sunday school at the Crane Lake Chapel. Lester also attended Buyck Elementary School where he excelled in reading and math. He was a dock boy and then a fishing guide on Crane Lake and Lac La Croix before the BWCAW was designated as a protected wilderness. As a young teenager, Les worked with his father at Berg’s sawmill and at the VRT filling coolers for Al Daniels. He was the first of the Rablin children to graduate from high school, in the Orr class of 1955. Lester married Helen Marsyla on Aug. 3, 1957, and they had four children, Shelly, Mark, Kimberly and Shana.
 In 1955, Lester joined the U.S. Navy. During his 20-year military career, he served on the intelligence staff with the 7th Fleet on the USS Oklahoma City. He was stationed in Alaska; Taipei, Taiwan; the Philippines; Yokosuka, Japan; Hong Kong; Okinawa; NSA in Baltimore, Maryland; and Maine. He was stationed in Guantanamo Bay during the overthrow of the Cuban dictator Batista. He was also an all-Navy Pro-Bowler and while in Taiwan, he taught the Taiwanese how to bowl and dress lanes.
 He had top security clearance as Chief Senior Communication Technician, as he spoke fluent Chinese.  Lester’s assignment was to decode and intercept communications during the Vietnam War. He received numerous honors and medals during his time of service. He retired as Senior Chief Petty Officer from his last duty station at Winter Harbor, Maine, on June 14, 1974. Lester was very proud of his military service.   
 Upon Lester’s retirement from the Navy, he was employed at Chase Lumber in Cook as a sawyer. This was dangerous work and Lester was thankful that he never lost any fingers, or worse, during this employment. He continued his love of bowling and participated on various bowling leagues in Virginia. Lester enjoyed cooking, canning, and was very proud of his well-tended vegetable garden. Les loved to garden and promised each year to cut back, but each year it seemed that garden got just a little bit bigger. He loved picking blueberries, plums and chokeberries, and got proficient at making jam and jelly.
 Les was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Cook. It was there that on June 29, 1991, Les married Colleen Kay Nelson, whom he had met a few years earlier. This past year, they celebrated 29 years of marriage. For those of us who mourn the loss of this beautiful human being, his spirit will always live in our hearts and minds. 
 Lester was an avid Minnesota sports fan; he especially enjoyed the Twins and was a loyal fan of the Vikings. In fact, he and Colleen watched the Vikings beat the Packers on Nov. 1, the last day before his health rapidly declined. He was so happy the Vikings won.
 Thankfully, Les became good friends of Bill W. and Dr. Bob. He then had a mission in life to help as many people as possible to find sobriety. He shared his deep faith in God and strongly believed everyone could have a happy and joyous life. After a massive stroke in 1999, which left him somewhat disabled, he continued to share the message of hope offered by a fellowship that saved his life. On Jan. 2, 2021, Les would have had 39 years of continued sobriety. Blessed be his memory and every person whom he touched during his earthly life. 
 Lester is survived and will be missed by his wife of 29 years, Colleen; children, Shelly (Brian) Hanson, Mark Rablin, Kimberly (John) Driskell, Shana (Ray) Driskell, Douglas (Nancy) Koski and Jerry (Jessica) Koski; grandchildren, Erik (Sara) Hanson, Ryan (Arely) Hanson, Madena Hanson, RB Stevenson, Mandy (Tim) Kuelker, Alisha (Ray) Clements, Donny (Amanda) Rablin, Deidre (Aaron) Swanson, Stephanie Driskell, Christa Harris, Alicia Koski, Marisa (Derrell) Windom, Zachary and Elsie Koski, Tyler (Julie) Koski, Jake, Siiri and Senja Koski, Megan, Kyle and Riley Schmitz; a younger generation of great-grandchildren, Christian, Alex, Dakota, Brianna and Kaitlyn Kuelker, Lucas and Robine Stevenson, Logan and Wyatt Clements, Eva, Evan and Ethan Hanson, Beck and Atlas Hanson, Peyton and Brady Swanson, Jamison, CoraLee and Jackson Koski; sister, Patt Sokoloski; brother, Wayne Rablin; nieces, nephews, and many good friends. Les is also survived by Helen (Marsyla) Niemi and Roger. He is already missed by his constant companion, Beauty.
 He was preceded in death by his parents; siblings, Robert, Marjorie, Frances, Fern, Sylvia, Jack, Harvey, James, Richard, Jessie and Vivian; and companions, Huk, Max, Duster, Cooper and beloved Sammy.    
Mathew J. Baudek
Mathew J. Baudek, 91, of Babbitt, originally of Ely, completed his earthly life on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. There will be no Funeral Mass. Matt’s interment in the Ely Cemetery will be planned at a later date. Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely is assisting the family.
He is survived by his son, Mathew Baudek (Marie); daughters, Janice Beyer (Craig) and Judy Husar (Martin); and a host of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Julia C. Palombi
Julia “Julie” Claire Nystrom Palombi, 74, formerly of Ely and Babbitt, passed away on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, surrounded by family in Cloquet, after a years-long battle with dementia. A small celebration of life will be held in the summer of 2021 when it is safe to do so. Instead of flowers, the family requests donations to the Alzheimer’s Association.
She is survived by her daughters, Laura Palombi and Robbi (Jason) Mondati; life partner, Carlo Palombi; five grandchildren, Jake, Lucy, Adri, Dominic and James; niece, Lori Palombi Webb; and nephew, Randy Palombi, who brought her a great deal of joy, especially in her final years.

Max A. Zoretic
Max A. Zoretic, 88, formerly of Ely, Babbitt, and Zephyrhills, Fla., passed away peacefully on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Silver Bay. A family gathering is being planned for next summer.
He is survived by his five daughters, Deborah (Joe) Kobe of Ely, Michele (Bryan) Mattila of Omaha, Neb., Nancy Greeney of White Bear Lake, Jane Kerntz and Katie Zoretic, both of Buhl; eight grandchildren, Sarah (Brad) Westerberg, Courtney (Josh) Engquist, Bryan J. (Carrie) Mattila, Jayna (Chris) McDaniel, Vince Greeney, Maddie Greeney, Patrick Kerntz, Steven Kerntz; eight great-grandchildren; and sister-in-law, Patricia Zoretic.

Ann Marie Bye
Ann Marie Bye, 72, of Ely, passed away on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, at Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely. Arrangements are pending with Range Funeral Home in Hibbing.

Richard B. Roivanen
Richard Byron Roivanen, 76, of Britt, passed away peacefully on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020, at his home, surrounded by loved ones. There will be a private family interment at Hillside Cemetery in Angora. A celebration of life for friends and family will be held next year from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 12, 2021, at the VFW in Cook. Arrangements are with Mlaker Funeral Home in Cook.


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