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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Obituaries: September 11, 2020


JoAnn A. Knutson
JoAnn Agnes Knutson, 63, of Cook, passed away on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020, at home with loved ones by her side. A private family interment will be held at a later date. Arrangements are with Mlaker Funeral Home of Cook.
JoAnn was born to Gordon and Lillian (Trygg) Anderson on Oct. 16, 1956, in Cook. She attended school in Cook, graduating from Cook High School in 1975. JoAnn earned an Associates of Arts Degree in Human Services from Mesabi College and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Bemidji State University, graduating in 1991.
JoAnn met Joel Knutson and they were united in marriage in 1992 in Cook. JoAnn taught Head Start and Early Childhood classes for 18 years and was employed with RSI in Cook for four years. She retired in 2012 to enjoy more time with her husband and family.
JoAnn enjoyed playing computer games and loved to play board games with the kids. She also enjoyed baking with them. She loved camping, fishing, and time at the cabin. She always enjoyed her weekend getaways with friends and girls’ night out. Her favorite time was spent with her family.
Everyone will remember JoAnn for her generous spirit and especially her love for children of all ages. JoAnn was a very giving person.
JoAnn is survived by her husband, Joel Knutson of Cook; sons, Steve (Andrea) Beal of Hastings, Christopher (Kirsten) Beal of St. Paul and Adam (Jennifer Edge) Beal of Minneapolis; daughters, Breyan (Al Gibson) Knutson of Cook and Brittney (Les) Oberg of Cass Lake; 11 grandchildren; one great-grandchild; sisters, Janice (Paul) Bernier of Washburn, Wis., and Jeannie (Jim) Taylor of Cook; brothers, Dan (Linda) Anderson of Hibbing and Jeff (Beth) Anderson of Tower; numerous nieces and nephews; and many friends and caregivers.
JoAnn was preceded in death by her parents; sister, Karen Harrison; and brother-in-law, Tom Harrison.

Roger A. Whiteman Sr. 
Roger Allan “Sid” Whiteman Sr., 66, of Indian Point-Orr, passed away surrounded by loved ones on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, in his home after a very brief battle with cancer. Sid requested no services or memorial, but the family gathered on Thursday, Sept. 3 for his 67th birthday party, which was planned a few weeks ago by him. Instead of celebrating him turning 67, we celebrated his amazing life and shared even more stories about Pops, Poopsie, Papa, Sweetheart, or whatever name for him may have tumbled out of any of our mouths over his lifetime.
The family would like to express their extreme and heartfelt gratitude for those who were able to stop in to visit during Sid’s last days and would like to remind everyone of just how short and precious life is. A smile and little bit of friendliness goes a long long way; don’t wait until the last minute to visit, and don’t be afraid to say, “I love you”. Arrangements are with Mlaker Funeral Home of Cook.
Sid was born on Sept. 3, 1953, in Littlefork. He grew up in a large family of brothers and sisters, cousins, and extended family in Nett Lake. In 1974, Sid married his high school sweetheart Joni Hanson and they went on to have a beautiful family, raising four children, two very special nephews, and numerous memorable animals: Yeller, Carl the crow whom he nicknamed Rocko, Rocko the crow actually named Rocko, his Parakeet named Rocko, and his special pups, Vegas, Mukwa and Makoon, whom he affectionately called Bugsy.
A trendsetter before his time... he never worried about what others thought because in his mind, he knew cool (no one would argue with that!). Stoic, loyal, meticulous, headstrong, fun-loving, creative, resourceful, knowledgeable (he knew the definition of words that most of us had NEVER heard of!!!), and fiercely protective of his family. His kids will lovingly remember him by his “when I was a kid” stories; impromptu karate moves and wrestling matches; saving his farts in a jar; his one-way quarrels with Alex Trebec over the correct answers on Jeopardy; his many, many conspiracies; and knowing all things birds. He was known by many different names: Zeke, Sidney, Radar, Grasshopper, Ziggy, Side Bank, Sid-Vicious, Master Splinter, Poopsie, Pops, and his most cherished, Papa. In return, he was very good at giving nicknames. Here are just a few: Rocko (obviously), Radar, Arm, Nest, Al, Burford, M, Nails, Venom, NutHouse, Squirt...
Sid was a probation officer in the late 1970s at Bois Forte, a certified auto mechanic, a talented carpenter, worked road construction, and served as an appointed representative on the Bois Forte Reservation Tribal Council in the 1990s; during his retirement years was most well known as “the Friendly Ambassador of Orr”. His family will always remember him for his wonderfully home-cooked meals, most notably his “Papa’s Baked Beans”.
Although stricken with polio in his childhood, which affected his everyday activities from that day forward, Sid was an extraordinary athlete. Just a few months ago, Orr High School basketball Coach William “Bill” King said that Sid was the “most coordinated athlete that he had ever coached.” Always the smallest on the team, he was ALWAYS the fastest and could jump the highest. People from far and wide knew Sid for his athletic feats during high school on the basketball court and during adulthood in the softball field. His good buddy Dave hit the nail on the head with these words:
“Sid was a ballplayer. Oh ya, helluva ballplayer. Sid roamed the outfield like Willie Mays. Maybe not as dark, close though...jk... Anyway... Fast? You bet. Sid could lickity split grab a ball hit high off the center-left fence and arm a line drive to home plate in time to nail the guy hustling from third. Who else could do that? I was glad Sid was on my team. How about golf? Oh ya, helluva golfer. Star of the mighty all shinob (one adopted), ragtag, beer drinking, 5th (or was it 6th) hole smoke break ZZ Pop Golf Team. That’s right ZZ Pop. Sid gave us that name and zig zags and pop tops was our game. Yessir, we shook it up in Buyck that summer. Took first place in the league, took first place in the tournament, and Sid was unbeaten the entire season. ZZ Pop outplayed, outdrank, and after an accidental stumble through the bar screen door....was nearly outlawed at Vermilion Fairways. How about stubborn? Oh ya, Sid was one stubborn fella. A local bar could tell you. One of their best customers, about every day Sid would drop by to read the paper and have a beer. Management made the grave mistake of disrespecting Sid’s sweetheart Joni one day and that was it.....Sid said he’d never have a beer at that bar again. Far as I know, he never did. Oh, you could ask Otis if Sid was stubborn. Sid liked his beer and there’s only two beer joints in Orr. That don’t matter, when you refuse service to Sid’s nephew, an Active Duty Navy Sailor of proper age with a proper ID. Now that ticked Sid off. And you didn’t wanna tick Sid off. Sid said he’d never have a beer at that bar again either. Far as I know, he never did. Talk about ticking Sid off. How about the time, years ago, when the newly-elected Chairman at the time came into the bar one evening a couple sheets to the wind. Joni was bartending and there were half a dozen Band members having a beer. The then-Chairman started spouting off about firing this person and that person until Sid had enough. He was ticked. He stood up and poked his finger in the Chairman’s chest right out the door. No, you didn’t wanna tick Sid off....”
Survived by his sweetheart of 46 years, Joni; children, favorite daughter Sidra Starkovich, golden boy Roger Whiteman Jr. (Stephanie Balich), favorite daughter Angeline King (Troy) and favorite daughter April Anderson (Joe); special nephews, whom he raised as sons, Jason Ballinger and Michael Whiteman; 11 very special grandchildren, Bryan (Trey Tahija), Brady and Brant (nicknamed by Papa as Rocko) Boutto, Zachary and Lauren Whiteman and Cameron Fisher, Dylan and Genesis Day, Brandon, Mason and Mia Anderson, as well as several bonus grandchildren; siblings, Marilyn Geshick, Jerome Whiteman, William “Bill” (Julie) Whiteman, Eugene “Jr” Whiteman, Deb Whiteman, Steven Whiteman, Milton “Beanie” Barto, Rodney Barto, Ernie (Rene) Barto, Frank (Linda) Barto, Donna (Bill) Hoffer, Annette Howe (Patrick), Angela “Mousie” (Scott) Wright, Cecile “No-No’s” Shauer (Mike), Johnny (Karen) Barto and Violet “Bitties” (Lars) Gabrielson; and far too many nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, and even great-great-nieces and great-great-nephews to even try to name, but he loved them all the same!
Preceding him in his journey were his parents, Angeline (Wein) and Eugene Whiteman, Ernie and Rosie Barto; in-laws, Roy and Jean Hanson; and sisters, Edna Whiteman, Margaret (Tine) Whiteman, Mary Fairbanks, Linda Spires and Ernestine (Ticker) Stanley.

John J. Ulicsni
John J. Ulicsni, 73, of Lake Vermilion, passed away on Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020. Private family graveside services will be held in Calvary Cemetery in Virginia with Deacon Dan Schultz officiating. Arrangements are with Landmark Funeral Home in Virginia.
He is survived by a brother, Robert (Margaret); sisters, Joyce, Judith (Richard) and Linda (Tim); and numerous nieces and nephews.

Raymond R. Hotakainen
Raymond Richard Hotakainen, 84, went home to Jesus on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, at Waterview Pines in Virginia. The family wishes to thank all of the staff at Cornerstone Villa in Buhl, Northern Pines in Aurora, and Waterview Pines in Virginia for all of the TLC given to Ray since he was stricken with West Nile Virus in 2007; it is very much appreciated. A Celebration of Life will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10 at the Timber Hall in Embarrass. Family services are provided by Bauman-Cron, a Bauman Family Funeral Home in Virginia.
He is survived by his wife, Iris Suehla Hotakainen; children, Paul (Ruth) Hotakainen of Embarrass, Jody (Kenny) Blake of Makinen and Wanda (Alex) Pluswick of Virginia; 11 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; brothers, Mel of Sebeka, John (Carolyn) of Sebeka, Mar (Stephanee) of Winter Haven, Fla., Rob of Washington, D.C., and Jerry (Kathy) of Lino Lakes; sister, Barb of Sartell; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Carl W. Salmela
Carl W. Salmela, 68, of Duluth, originally of Tower, died of natural causes at his home on Dec. 30, 2019. There will be a graveside service at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 15 at the Town of Vermilion Lake Cemetery, 6499 Wahlsten Road (CR 26), Tower. Bring a chair if you wish, and please wear a face covering.
He is survived by several Salmela and Gustafson cousins.


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