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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Obituaries: Oct. 4, 2019


Marian Bodkin
Marian “Sandy” Bodkin, 85, 50-year resident of Crane Lake, passed away on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2019, at Oak Hill Assisted Living in Grand Rapids. A Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 25 at Crane Lake Chapel in Crane Lake. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the church. A luncheon will be held at the church immediately following the service. Burial will follow at Forest Home Cemetery in Buyck. Memorials honoring Sandy are preferred to Crane Lake Chapel or the Crane Lake Fire Department toward completion of a helicopter landing pad. Humble thanks are offered to the staff at Oak Hill Assisted Living for their kind, loving, hands-on care. Arrangements are with Mlaker Funeral Home of Cook.
Sandy was born on April 12, 1934, in Denver, Colo., to Clifford and Delora (Meiner) Meyer. Sandy grew up in Wayzata. Following high school, she earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Minnesota. She taught at Westview Elementary School in the Hopkins School District from 1956–1976. She worked for the U.S. Postal Service as postmaster in Crane Lake from 1988 to 2000.
Sandy was united in marriage to John Patrick Bodkin on Dec. 23, 1961, at Wayzata Community Church in Wayzata. Every summer, John and Sandy traveled north from Minneapolis to Crane Lake, camping at Grassy Bay, eventually building a simple cabin on Bear Island. After retirement in 1976, they moved permanently to Crane Lake, building a new Western Cedar log home.
Sandy was an avid outdoors enthusiast, including frequent and multiple fishing trips in summer and snowmobiling in winter. Sandy had talent for golfing and enjoyed cross-country skiing. As a passionate fan of the Minnesota Vikings, regular attendance at the games was a must, tailgating and all. She maintained formal gardens at home and had a special love for black-eyed Susans and purple violets which she encouraged to grow throughout her yard.
Like her father, Sandy lived a life of community service. She was a fine role model with a steady, even and kind temperament. Sandy was a lifelong learner and reader. She was a true friend to many and was never heard to murmur a cross word about others.
Sandy was a devoted member of Crane Lake Chapel where she played the piano every Sunday. She taught piano lessons in her home. She generously offered her home to others, including providing a winter home for students, summer housing for workers at area resorts, and for visiting sportsmen coming to town for the weekend.
A prolific quilter, Sandy would be found to have multiple projects at various stages of design. Sandy was known for her unique use of color in quilting. She generously gave quilts away to friends, family and neighbors, as well as to be auctioned at Ducks Unlimited, the Fall Ladies Church Luncheon, and many other fundraising events. She, along with fellow quilters, regularly sent large numbers of quilts to hospitalized children.
Sandy enjoyed a full, responsible and loving life. She loved going to church and loved a good party. She is dearly missed by her many friends, family and neighbors, many lifelong from far and near.
Sandy is survived by her brothers, Richard (Patricia) Meyer of Maple Plain and Frederick (Christine) Meyer of Wayzata; brother-in-law, James Filipczak of Columbia, Md.; stepchildren, Michael (Cynthia) Bodkin of Omaha, Neb., and Cathy (Pat) Callagy of Kansas City, Mo.; and multiple step-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Sandy was preceded in death by her husband; parents; stepmother, Ellen (Erickson Wilson) Meyer; brother and sister-in-law, Donald and Jean Meyer; sister, Carol Filipczak; niece, Paula Field; and nephew, Mark Filipczak.

James R. Sutherland
James R. Sutherland, 70, of Eagles Nest Township, passed away on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, after a year-long battle with cancer. A community memorial celebration will be held from 2-5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19 at the Eagles Nest Township Hall, 1582 Bear Head State Park Road. Please bring a dish to share. In lieu of flowers or donations, Jim asked to simply spread kindness to others to honor his memory, whether it’s an act of kindness or financial help to those in need. Choose to be kind. That’s what he would do.
Jim will be known for his wit, sense of humor, curiosity about how things work, and extensive knowledge of the world around him. Anyone who knew him experienced his generosity and outgoing nature.
He is survived by his wife, Susan Ivonen Sutherland; daughters, Karen (Doug Greely) of Manitou Springs, Colo., Kristen (Ian Johnson) of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Katie (Justin Kaatz) of Northfield; grandchildren, James, Phoebe, Bjorn and Martin; and 17 American Field Service foreign exchange students.

Stanley R. Rutka
Stanley “Stan” Robert Rutka, 93, of Virginia, and former resident of Greaney, passed away on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. A Memorial Service will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5 at Mlaker Funeral Home in Cook. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service. Military Honors will be accorded by the Cook VFW Post 1757 Honor Guard and the Orr American Legion Post 480 Honor Guard.
Stanley was born to Stanley Joseph and Mary Agnes (Krall) Rutka on May 5, 1926, in Duluth. Stan grew up and attended school in Orr, graduating from Orr High School in 1944.
Stanley was destined to be a great musician from the start. He began his musical career at the age of nine on a little 24-bass accordion his father bought him for Christmas. He learned quite a few songs by ear so his dad took him to Buhl for lessons from Henry Staffaroni. At the age of 15, his dad sent him to New York City to study with the master at the time, Pietro Deiro. At the age of 18, Stan joined the United States Navy, serving honorably for two years during WWII. After his service in the Navy he went to San Bernardino, Calif., where he joined an 11-piece Country Western band headed by Tennessee Ernie Ford. He was with them for two years, then went to Denver, Colo., to study at the University of Denver Lamont School of Music. He played many Saturday night radio broadcasts of KOA in the mid-60’s and spent over 40 years in Denver playing radio, TV and country clubs. He played back-up music for many stars including Ernie Ford, Rex Allen, Frank Yankovic, Lefty Frizzel and others. Stan wrote and published many accordion songs and taught many students while in Denver. He was inducted into the Colorado Polka Hall of Fame in 1979.
Stanley was blessed with two loving marriages; in 1949, he was united in marriage to Lucille Goodin and was blessed with four children. Sadly, Lucille passed away in 1996. He then met and married Dorothy Egger and became part of her family. Stanley’s love of Northern Minnesota compelled him to move back to Greaney in 1987 where he lived for many years before moving to Virginia. He continued to teach music, and play in clubs, nursing homes and weddings for many years. On top of being an amazing musician, Stan was a very skilled woodworker. He spent a lot of his time in his woodshop creating custom models and crafts. He enjoyed traveling with Dorothy to many craft shows.
Stan is survived by his daughter, Roxanna Wise of Colorado; Dorothy’s daughters, Carol Egger and Kathy Novakovich, both of Gilbert, Nancy Leek of Ohio and Linda Flack of Cook; numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Stan was preceded in death by his wives, Lucille Rutka (1996) and Dorothy Egger (2014); sons, Robert (2003), Randy (2011) and Richard (2014); brother, William Rutka; and sisters, Mary (at birth), Margaret Prepodnik and Delores Hagen.

Erling D. Kirkman

Erling D. “Kirk” Kirkman, 87, of Ely, passed away peacefully with family by his side on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. At his request, no formal service will be held. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date. Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.
He is survived by his children, David (JoAnn) Kirkman, Daniel Kirkman, Kristi (Dan) Kure and Martyn Kirkman; six grandchildren; sisters, Diane Kirkman and Darlene Greiner; and many nieces, nephews and friends.


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