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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Obituaries - Oct. 26, 2018


Jerome L. Kolstad

Jerome Lee “Jerry” Kolstad, 84, of Lake Vermilion, passed away peacefully on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, with his family by his side. He was called up to supervise a remodeling project that is sure to have beautiful lake views, knotty pine paneling, and a wooden dock where he can throw in a line to catch a walleye. Jerry leaves a legacy of hard work, loyalty, generosity, and great storytelling. Jerry maintained a steadfast faith and a positive spirit even as his health failed him.

A Memorial Mass will be held at 12 noon on Saturday, Oct. 27 at St. John’s Catholic Church in Biwabik with Fr. Peter Lambert as celebrant. Visitation will be for one hour prior to the service at the church. Inurnment will be in Calvary Cemetery in Virginia. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Vermilion Lake Association or the Tower-Soudan Fourth of July Celebration. Arrangements are with Landmark Funeral Home in Virginia.

Jerry was born on May 26, 1934, in a duplex on 8-1/2 Street South in Virginia, to Cecelia Rebecca (Lambert) Kolstad and Carl Stevens Olson. (Sorry folks, we still haven’t figured out the last name situation.) Jerry was the oldest of seven children who came in rapid succession, and his mother raised the kids in a two-bedroom house right next to the railroad tracks in Parkville.

When Jerry was a young boy, the family lived in Panama, where Carl worked on the Canal. Jerry had epic tales to tell of this time. He was left alone to supervise his younger siblings as they traipsed around Panama, climbing trees and stealing bananas in their wagon (until a very large spider intervened), attempting to tame a wild monkey, and stealing away to New York City on a British frigate after Pearl Harbor was bombed and it was feared the Panama Canal was the next target.

Back in Parkville, while Carl traveled the world and Cecelia singly supported the family as a nurse, Jerry and his brother Tommy kept a horse in the backyard and roamed free in the woods with their Parkville buddies, sliding down Parkville Hill, playing by the train tracks (stuffing their ears with pussy willows when the trains grew too loud), and generally engaging in mischief. When Jerry was a kid, his family had a small cabin on Lake Vermilion, and that is where Jerry first fell in love with the lake.

In 1952, Jerry graduated from Mt. Iron High School, where he was a three-sport athlete. He was an excellent football player, a strong shotput and discus thrower, and once made a buzzer-beater 3/4-court shot in a clutch basketball performance. Until the end, Jerry relished his regular lunches with the Mt. Iron Class of ’52. He was recently inducted into the Mt. Iron High School Football Hall of Fame.

After high school, Jerry attended Virginia Junior College for a short time, and then left college to financially support his younger brother Tom’s college education. Jerry drove a cement truck for Virginia Ready Mix and worked for Lambert Industries.

In 1959, Jerry married the love of his life, Carol Ann (Garden), and they had four children - Jeanne, James, Jon and Laura.

A proud U.S. Army veteran, Jerry was stationed in Japan during the Korean War and then called back to serve during the Cuban Missile Crisis. On his return, he worked hard and eventually co-owned Virginia Ready Mix and later founded Mining Services, which he ran for a number of years. In the late 1970s, Jerry realized his dream of moving to Lake Vermilion, where he sold real estate and owned Northland Realty with Carol. The real estate business provided a perfect opportunity for Jerry to do some of his favorite things: meet new people, tell stories, dream of what he could remodel next, and drive around the lake in his boat. Jerry served on the Tower-Soudan School Board, and kept busy with the Lake Vermilion Sportsmen’s Club, the fish hatchery, the local chapter of Ducks Unlimited, and his coffee buddies.

Jerry loved to fish, and he took many fishing trips to Lake of the Woods, Sioux Narrows, and Alaska to catch lake trout, salmon, and halibut. But he was just as happy to sit at the end of the dock with his kids and grandkids, catching perch and walleye on a bamboo pole and admiring the natural beauty of Lake Vermilion.

Jerry knew everyone, and wherever he went in the world, he found someone who had a connection to Parkville or Lake Vermilion. His kids inherited Jerry’s ability to connect with people out of context, and they often share their “Jerry Kolstad moments” upon realizing that someone who appears to be a complete stranger is actually connected to their past.

Jerry was a kind and loving husband, a great dad, and a very proud grandfather. Even though he taught us all to be independent, we knew he always had our backs. He was generous and kind, and he and Carol always welcomed friends and family members who dropped into their home unexpectedly - the more, the merrier. More than anything, Jerry loved being at home surrounded by family, telling stories, and taking a nap in a reclining chair after a big meal. Jerry had a story for every occasion, and we will never forget the many funny things he said. Generations to follow will learn that a cow is really called a “hookoobossy,” baby skunks do indeed have “stinkers,” an early evening sky is “sky blue pink,” and no matter whose birthday it is, we will always wonder what kind of chocolate cake we’ll be having.

Jerry will be deeply missed by his children, Jeanne (Jim) Prittinen of Fayal Township, James Kolstad (partner Louise Lincoln) of Duluth, Jon (Joy) Kolstad of Merrifield and Laura (Todd) Johnson of St. Paul; twelve grandchildren, Haley, Natalie, Tom, Joe, Kelsey, Anders, Greta, Jona, Gunnar, Lilli, Per and Ingrid; siblings, Robert (Louise) Kolstad, Roger (Sylvia) Kolstad, Douglas (Sue) Kolstad and David (Laura) Kolstad; and many dear friends and relatives.

Jerry was preceded in death by his dear wife, Carol, in February 2018; his parents; brother, Commander Thomas C. Kolstad, who was killed in Vietnam; and sister, Patsy.

Darlene M. Karakas

Darlene Marie Pappone Karakas, 76, of Virginia, passed away unexpectedly at her home on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 26 at Range Funeral Home in Virginia with visitation for one hour prior to the service.

She is survived by her children, Steven (Tami) Karakas of Lindstrom and Jamie (David) Ford of Gilbert; grandchildren Ryan Tuuri, Nick Demorrett and Lisa Ford; sisters, Andrea (Robert) Champa of Cook, Lee Pappone (Kathy Busio) of Barnum and Diane Zamlen (Ron Montano) of Chiloquin, Ore.; companion and beloved dog, Nissa; and numerous nieces and nephews.

John Akkanen

John Akkanen, 86, of Babbitt, passed away on Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, at Babbitt Carefree Living. A celebration of life will be held from 12 noon to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Junction Inn Hotel and Suite in Babbitt. Burial will be held in the Argo Cemetery in Babbitt following the celebration. Arrangements are with Landmark Funeral Home of Virginia.

He is survived by his wife, Marlene of Babbitt; children, John (Jean) Akkanen of Embarrass, Gust Akkanen of Brainerd and Linda (Steven) Graupman of Cloquet; grandchildren, Questa (Jon) Knapper of Aurora, Lanay (DJ) Asmus of Alexandria, Jenna (Patrick) Rosenquist of Crystal, Ross (Dawn) Graupman of Eagan, Neil (Kristina) Graupman of Hermantown, Amy (Matt) Eldridge of Inver Grove Heights, Ben (Amanda Hilde) Akkanen of Virginia, Darren Akkanen of Hibbing, Rachel (Jesse) Wiitanen of Embarrass, Lindsay Allrich and Michael Allrich, both of Andover; 11 great-grandchildren; daughter-in-law, Lori Akkanen; and son-in-law, Scott Allrich.

Kelli Laine

Kelli Laine, 38, of Babbitt, passed away peacefully on Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, at her residence with her loved ones at her side. A service was held on Saturday, Oct. 20 at Kerntz Funeral Home in Ely.

She is survived by her soulmate and best friend, Aaron Holmstein; parents, Kathy and Dave Laine; sisters, Carmen (Roy) Saari and Karen (Gordy) Fiske; nieces and nephews, Ashley, Mark and Emma; and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

Jo-Ellen Patterson

Jo-Ellen Kotzian Patterson, of Ely, passed away on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, at the Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely. There will be a celebration of life gathering at Ward and Karen’s house, 2528 Verbick Road in Ely, on Saturday, Oct. 27 from 1 to 5 p.m. Arrangements are with Landmark Funeral Home of Virginia.

She is survived by her son, Ward (Karen) Patterson; daughter, Kim Puzel (special friend Brian); grandchildren, Cheri (Dean) DeBeltz, Alaina (Dustin) George, JJ (Ronda) Puzel, Becky (Nate) Moyer and Brynn Patterson (special friend Patrick); and 11 great-grandchildren.

Glen Zorman

Glen “Scratch” Zorman, 61, of Ely, lived until Saturday, Oct.13, 2018, at home cared for by his loving wife, family, friends, and faithful dog Jani. A memorial service was held on Sunday, Oct. 21 at Kerntz Funeral Home in Ely. A binge of life will be held at a later date to be announced.

He is survived by his wife, Lynn of Ely; mother, Betty Ann of Ely; brothers, Sam (Marlene) of Winton, Dale (Patty) of Remer and Baudette and Jack (Nancy) of Ely; sister, Donna of Tower; sons, Ken (Ashley) Larson of Chisholm and Michael Zorman of New York City, N.Y.; stepchildren, Kelly Levine of Los Angeles, Calif., Jonathon (Cate) Levine of Chicago, Ill., Jessica Gantt (Harrison) of Eagan, Max Gantt and Ben Gantt of Ely; grandchildren, Raven, Maddie, Hannah, Grayson and Gabriel; numerous nieces, nephews and friends.


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