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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Obituaries: Oct. 11, 2019


Kenneth L. Zgaynor
Kenneth “Kenny” Louis Zgaynor, 82, of Greaney, passed away on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth. A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Thursday, Oct. 10 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Cook. Military Honors were accorded by the Cook VFW Post 1757 Honor Guard and the Orr American Legion Post 480 Honor Guard. Arrangements were with Mlaker Funeral Home of Cook.
Kenny was born to Louis and Mary (Rent) Zgaynor on March 3, 1937, in Cook. He grew up in Greaney on the family farm. At the age of 23, Kenny was drafted into the United States Army. He served two-and-a-half years. He earned a Good Conduct medal along with Sharpshooter and Marksman Badges. He received an honorable discharge in 1962.
Kenny had helped his parents build their home on the Greaney farmstead. Farming was in Kenny’s blood, and soon after leaving the Army, Kenny returned home to the family farm. During this time, he met the love of his life, Bernice. They were married on May 22, 1965, in St. Bridget’s Catholic Church in Greaney. The family lived in Cook for ten years and then moved to the Greaney area to continue the tradition of raising beef cattle. Kenny was a self-employed logger. He also worked for several companies - Pete Eddy Construction, AB Skubic Construction, Ulland Brothers and KGM.
Kenny was a very meticulous and proud farmer, however, he took particular pride in the way his flower gardens flourished under his care. Kenny loved to tease, but could also take it in stride, and with good humor. Kenny’s best times were spent with his family and friends as everyone would often gather for “happy hour” at the farm. Kenny remained on the farm until his last days with the dedicated help and support of his son Jeff.
Kenny is survived by his son, Jeff (Lisa) Zgaynor of Greaney; stepson, Randy (Shannon) McFarland of Spring Valley, Wis.; stepdaughter, Kelly Glover of California; sisters, Rosemary Hoffer of Orr and Audrey Carlson of Brooklyn Park; brother, Bill (Linda) Zgaynor of Princeton; six step-grandchildren; two step-great-grandchildren; and last but not least, his dog, Lady, whom he called his favorite “little girl”.
Kenny was preceded in death by his parents; and beloved wife, Bernice.

Jo Ann Brzoznowski
Jo Ann Brzoznowski, 76, of International Falls, passed away on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, at her home. A Memorial Service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct.12 at the Northwoods Bible Church in Ray. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the church. Arrangements are with Mlaker Funeral Home of Cook.
Jo Ann was born in Bemidji on Sept. 19, 1943. She lived in Guthrie and attended school in Bemidji through the eighth grade. Her family then moved to Ray and she attended Falls High School, graduating in 1961. Jo Ann then moved to International Falls and obtained a job at the Falls Creamery. During this time, she met her first husband, Bloyd Breneman, and moved back to Ray and started a family. Dean was born in 1965, Julie in 1967, and Rebecca in 1970. Jo Ann was a master farm wife and mother, conquering all the tasks necessary to keep an efficient dairy farm running and a happy, well-cared for family. She was a master gardener, yard keeper, tree planter, cook, canner, seamstress, and as one of the hired farm boys recently stated, “She sure could out-run a rain cloud with a baler and wagon.” She was also an expert at any craft imaginable. Jo Ann loved to draw, paint, scrapbook, sew, and would attempt any “do it yourself” project she could find. She was always successful at making it look better than what the instructions had shown her, as she never followed instructions anyway.
Once the children were a bit older, Jo Ann went to work at Hay’s General Store where she and her sister Ethel Mae were well known for their antics. Jo Ann would become known as one of the best meat cutters in the absence of Jim Hay, who was, of course, the best. Jo Ann’s marriage to Bloyd ended, but the relationship and parenting obligations stayed strong throughout the remainder of her life. She then started working at United Health Care in International Falls where she created many new friendships and was regarded as a someone who always put a smile on her co-workers’ faces. She then moved to Lake Kabetogama and worked for her dear friends, Jim and Marlene Tomczak, at the Gateway Store where she was also known for her joking around and always making people smile. She was an exceptional employee and considered to have done a great job at training in the Harts as new owners. Phil Hart would go on to say, “She was my boss for many years and taught us so much.” It was here that she reconnected with a dear friend, Julian Brzoznowski, and they married in September 1995. She then moved to the Brzoznowski Farm with her new husband and revisited the farm life. She was known for her beautiful flower beds and her meticulous upkeep of the yard, along with her fierce protection against any varmint that dare try and mess with her flowers.
With her marriage to Julian, her family expanded to a total of six amazing children, adding Mary, Anne and Little Julien, whom she adored from day one, along with Julian’s two sisters, Rosie and Frances, whom she held very dear in her heart. Some of Jo Ann’s proudest and most enjoyable moments began in 1990 with the birth of her first grandchild, through 2019 with the birth of her final great-grandchild, leaving her with 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. She so cherished each and every one of them and any time she was able to spend with them. Julian and Jo Ann would continue to live on the farm until 2017 when they sold it and moved “south” to Orr. It was here that she would lose her dear husband Julian in December 2018. Jo Ann then moved to International Falls to live with her daughter Rebecca and son-in-law Shad, and to spend the rest of her days surrounded by all her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren whom she so adored.
Jo Ann is survived by her son, Dean Breneman of International Falls; daughters, Julie (Russell) Helgeson of Ray and Rebecca (Shad) Murray of International Falls; stepdaughters, Mary (Bob) Servis of International Falls and Anne (Jim) Sather of Orr; stepson, Julien Brzoznowski Jr. of Illinois; grandchildren, Cody Erickson of Mankato, Dustin Helgeson (Emily Werner) of International Falls, Wyatt (Talitha) Helgeson of Duluth, Sabrina Murray (Damien Allan) of International Falls, Adam Salmi of Rochester, Allan (Marie) Salmi of Grant, April (Michael) Wilcox of Angora, Ryan Servis of Rochester, Christina (Scott) Fuller of East Bethel and Thomas “T.J.” Sather of Avon; great-grandchildren, Braden Sheridan and Haven Westover, Able, Anastasia and Avaliese Fuller, Elizabeth and Jack Udovich, Zoey, Shay, Annabelle and Charlie Wilcox, and Julian Salmi-Miller; brother-in-law, Clemens Jr. (Melba) Brzoznowski; sisters-in-law, Roseland (Paul) Ehrenberg and Frances Brzoznowski; and many special nieces, nephews, lifelong friends and extended family.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Neil and Alberta DeBoer; beloved husband, Julian; brother, William DeBoer (U.S. Army in Vietnam); sister and brother-in-law, Ethel Mae and Dale Himes; Breneman/Strieff infant twin granddaughters; and special dog, Morgan.

Loren Connor
Loren ‘Hawk” Connor, 70, of Nett Lake, passed away on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. A Traditional Service was held on Sunday, Oct. 6 at the Bois Forte Government and Services Center. Military Honors were accorded by the Bois Forte Honor Guard, Orr American Legion Post 480 Honor Guard and Cook VFW Post 1757 Honor Guard. Burial was at the Nett Lake Cemetery. Arrangements were with Mlaker Funeral Home of Cook.
Loren was born to Lawrence Sr. and Katheryn (Day) Connor on Sept. 9, 1949. He grew up in Nett Lake and attended school in Orr. He was active in sports, playing basketball, football and running track. He graduated from Orr High School in 1967. In July 1967, Loren was drafted into the United States Marine Corps. He served two tours in Vietnam with the 5th Marine Division and the 5th Tank Battalion. During this time, he earned a Good Conduct Medal and a Rifle Expert Badge. He served his country with pride and was honorably discharged in 1977.
After returning home, Loren met the love of his life, Diana Goggleye, and they remained together for 38 years. They had four children together, whom he loved dearly. Loren was an avid deer hunter and a duck hunting guide on Nett Lake. He loved ricing and was considered one of the best ricers on the lake. Loren enjoyed and was a very talented woodworker. He would make picnic tables, paddles, knocking sticks, and other woodworks to sell.
Loren loved spending time with his family and friends. He was always smiling and was a loving, kind-hearted and giving spirit. He was always there for anyone who needed a hand.
Loren is survived by his stepmother, Olive Connor; his love, Diana Goggleye; children, Michael Goggleye and his children, Elijah, Michaela, Kristina, Isaiah and Michael Jr. Goggleye; Leona Connor and Jason Drift and their children, Carlos, Sierra, Serena Jensen, Harley, Frankie, Mercedes Connor, Alexis and Dezarae Drift; Lyle Connor and Sarah and their son, Whyett Connor; and Mark Connor (Chaylynn and her son Wilbert); siblings, Lawrence Connor Jr., Lois (Dean) Graham, Annamarie Dorr, Francis Connor, Darrell Connor, Karen Connor, Kay Connor, Kelly Rutar, Ruth Connor, Jeneal (Gerald Sr.) Goggleye, Eugene Boshey Jr. and Barbara (Darrel) Brodeen; many nieces, nephews and close friends; and special pup, Skuzzer.
Loren was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Alden Connor Sr.; grandson, Michael Jr. Starlin Strong; and stepfather, Eugene Boshey Sr.

Hans Smith
Hans Smith, 55, of Ely, died due to an accident while removing a fallen tree from a roof near Eagles Nest Lake during the storm of Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. A memorial gathering for Hans will be held from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12 at the Hidden Valley Ski Chalet in Ely.
It will be a very informal gathering, just as Hans would have wished. At 2 p.m., there will be a time for anyone to relate a short story about Hans. Anyone wishing to speak should contact Hans’ dad, Paul, by phone at 218-235-3858 or email to, so a speaking list can be made up. Coffee, tea and cider will be served, along with cookies and bars. Anyone wishing to bring some of the latter items will be appreciated.
Hans and his brother Erik grew up in Ely and spent their youth canoeing, cross-country skiing the lakes, and backpacking various mountains out West. Starting at 17, Hans worked for several years as a cowboy on ranches in Montana and Nebraska. He worked at various fire jobs on the Superior National Forest before becoming a smokejumper for ten years in Montana at Missoula and West Yellowstone. Then he transferred to Alaska for several years of fire duties at Tok and McGrath. He finally returned to Ely to open his own business of tree work; he also worked on national fire overhead teams in the Western states.
Hans spent many winters traveling with friends and family to Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Bali, Korea, China, Laos, Thailand, India and Hawaii. At various times in his life he was an avid canoeist, backpacker, back country and telemark skier, rock climber, moose hunter, and both outrigger canoeist and surfer in Hawaii. He lived an adventuresome life!
Hans is survived by his wife, Traci, and their son, Rowan; stepchildren, Bryce of Hong Kong, Alexis of Australia, and Jacob of Kona, Hawaii; brother, Erik of Ely and Zhuhai, China; and father, Paul of Ely.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Patricia Donnick in 2014.

James J. Mehle Sr.
James J. Mehle Sr., 76, of Hibbing, formerly of Ely, passed away surrounded by family on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, at Fairview Range Medical Center. A Celebration of Life open house gathering will be held on Saturday, Oct. 12 from 3-5 p.m. at the Grand Ely Lodge in Ely. Memorials may be sent c/o Dougherty Funeral Home in Hibbing.
He is survived by his children, James (Jill) Mehle Jr. of Otsego, Paul (Jolene) Mehle of Lakeville, Pam (Jason) Liestman of Becker and Christy (Andy) Berndt of St. Michael; stepchildren, Christy (Christopher) Peterson and Michael Tuomi; siblings, Michael (Jan) Mehle of Minnetonka and Robert (Jayme) Mehle of Maple Grove; grandchildren, Jamae (Bill) Halluska, Justine Mehle, Mikayla Mehle, Matt (Brittany) Mehle, Garrett Mehle, Mari Liestman, Jacob Liestman, Jayna Berndt, Griffin Berndt and Jace Berndt; great-grandchildren, Billy, Presley, Josephine, Daweslyn, Brooklyn and Parker; step-grandchildren, RayAnna, Kaitlyn and Logan; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.

Marion L. Birk
Marion Lois Hove Birk, 93, of Hoyt Lakes, died on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, at Essentia Health-Northern Pines in Aurora. Funeral services were held on Tuesday, Oct. 8 at Faith Lutheran Church in Hoyt Lakes with Pastor Eric Roth officiating. Inurnment will be in the Hoyt Lakes Memorial Cemetery at a later date. Arrangements are by Ziemer-Moeglein-Shatava Funeral Home of Aurora.
Survivors include her husband, Arleigh; children, Lois (Robert) Dunne of Pennock, Caryl (Dan) Kaler of Burnsville, Bruce (Sandra) Birk of Idaho Falls, Idaho, Brian (Kathie) Birk of Tower and Kathryn (Bruce) Feroe of Hoyt Lakes; grandchildren, Sara (Andrew) George, Matthew Kaler, Lisa (Lee Sherwin) Birk, Phillip (Megan) Birk, Rebecca (Jeremy) Nissila, Carly (Ross) Malo, Heidi (Matt Comnick) Feroe and Erica Birk; great-grandchildren, Frederick, Logan, Olive and Norah; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Caroline M. Anderson
Caroline Marie “Big Ma” Klobuchar Anderson, 88, of Ely, passed away on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, at the Boundary Waters Care Center. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely. A wake will be held at the funeral home from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10. Visitation will continue on Friday, Oct. 11 from 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. service at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Ely. Pastor Eric Thiele from the Grace Lutheran Church will officiate. Luncheon will follow in St. Anthony’s Catholic Church basement. A private family burial will follow at the Ely Cemetery.
She is survived by her brother, Jerry of Burlington, Wis.; daughters, Sue Ellen (Kim) Kainz of Ely and Cheryl (Mike) Moats of Larimore, N.D.; sons, Mick (Sandy) of Tower, Dave (Stephanie) of Ely, Steve (Michele) of Soudan, Terry (Sally) of Soudan, Jeffrey (Janice) of Marinette, Wis., Timmy of Ely, Thomas (Tracey) of Virginia and Brian (Terri) of Hibbing; 35 grandchildren, 40 great-grandchildren, two great-great-grandchildren, and many special cousins.

Margaret J. Asplund
Margaret Jean “Peg” Coons Asplund, 93, of Babbitt, departed this world from Solvay Hospice House in Duluth on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12 at Woodland Presbyterian Church in Babbitt, with visitation to begin at 10 a.m. Reverend Dr. Frank Davis will officiate. A lunch will follow the service in the Church Fellowship Hall. Funeral services are provided by Landmark Funeral Home of Virginia. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or Woodland Presbyterian Church.
She is survived by her children, Thomas Asplund of Babbitt and Carol Jean (Alan) Stewart of Minnetonka; son-in-law, Alan Stewart; grandchildren, Lynsey (Joe) Frantz and Ian (Allison) Stewart; great-grandchildren, Camilla, Henry and Faye Margaret; and nieces and nephews.

Elizabeth Davey
Elizabeth “Poppy” Koski Davey, 92, of Babbitt, died on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019, at the Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11 at Ziemer-Moeglein-Shatava Funeral Home in Aurora with Pastor Barbara Hegfors officiating. Family and friends may gather one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. Inurnment will be in Forest Hill Cemetery in Aurora.
She is survived by her son, Darryl of Babbitt; grandchildren, Christopher, Melissa and Lucas; and several great-grandchildren.


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