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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Obituaries: September 24, 2021


Karl Rukavina
Karl Rukavina, 88, of Winton, passed away on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, at the Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely. A Memorial Mass, postponed initially due to COVID, will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25 at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Ely. Father Hoffman will officiate. Family and friends are invited to a small social gathering to follow at Dee’s, at 2 p.m. Arrangements are entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.
Karl was born in Ely on Nov. 13, 1931, to Steve and Katherine Rukavina. He was the youngest brother of George and Steve, Mary Jaworski and Olga Rolando, and also Tony Yakich, Jean Stocks and Rose Charpentier.
Karl led a full and active life always. After graduating in 1949 from the Ely Schools and serving as a Korean War Veteran, he attended Ely Junior College and St. Cloud Teacher College, with interests in biology and history. His most notable work was for Basswood Lodge as a fishing guide, Ely’s Shagawa Lake Restoration Project, and for what became the EPA, in Oregon, from which he retired in 1994.
His interests included all forms of fishing and hunting, reading about history, gardening flowers, cooking and photography. He loved music of all kinds, especially the opera. He was most fond of his numerous friends, their times together, and sharing noteworthy memories of life guiding at Basswood Lodge.
 The children of his siblings survive him.

Patricia E. Sokoloski
Patricia “Patt” E. Sokoloski, 76, of Grand Rapids, passed away on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, at Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital. Visitation will be from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 23 at Rowe Funeral Home in Grand Rapids and on Friday, Sept. 24 at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Grand Rapids. The funeral service will follow at 11 a.m. at the church. Fr. Blake Rozier will officiate. Burial will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25 at Forest Home Cemetery in Buyck, with a luncheon at the Echo Trail Tavern afterwards. The family would like to thank the staff at Grand Itasca Hospital for the excellent care that Patt and the family received during this difficult time. Arrangements are with Rowe Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Grand Rapids.
Patricia was born in 1945 to LeRoy and Gertrude (Goebel) Rablin in International Falls. Patt was raised in Buyck and graduated from Orr High School. She married Victor Sokoloski on Sept. 21, 1963, and together they owned and operated a logging and sawmill business. In 1977, Patt moved to Grand Rapids with her children. There she worked for the Country House (1977-1984), Itasca State Bank (1984-1995), and Grand Rapids State Bank until her retirement in 2016. Though she didn’t make a professional career in teaching as she dreamed, Patt diligently taught her family all she could. Her family was the most important thing to her, especially her grandchildren. She also loved to cook and craft.
Patt is survived by her daughters, Kelly (Ken) Gunderson, Dee (Chad) Osborne and Tricia (Don) Wahlstrom; son, Michael (Char) Sokoloski; daughter-in-law, Shannon Sokoloski; brother, Wayne Rablin; eight grandchildren, Ashly (Adam) Bamberg, Ryan Sokoloski, Lindsay (Jordan) Winter, Brady Prebeck, Jaymeson Wahlstrom, Caylee Osborne, Elyjah Wahlstrom and Karley Sokoloski; great-granddaughter, Aurora Wahlstrom; and numerous nieces and nephews. 
She was preceded in death by her parents; son, Darren; and 12 siblings, Fern, Sylvia, Harvey, Lester, Richard, Vivian, Jack, Robert, Marjorie, Frances, James and Jessie.

Raymond J. I. Pohto
Raymond James Isaac Pohto, 88, of Cook, passed away on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. A memorial visitation will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 24 at Mlaker Funeral Home in Cook.
He is survived by his loving wife, Carol Lehtinen Novak Pohto; children, Guy Pohto, Brad (Peggy) Pohto, Mark (Jean) Pohto, Grant (Sheila) Pohto, Mike (Judy) Novak, Cindy (Don) Aune, Lisa Kirk and Shelly (Kevin) Gwash; 20 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; one great-great grandchild and another expected in January.

Vernon K. Connor
Vernon K. Connor, 57, passed away on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, at his home. A wake and service were held on Tuesday, Sept. 21 and Wednesday, Sept. 22 at the Nett Lake Baptist Church in Nett Lake. Arrangements were with Mlaker Funeral Home of Cook.
Vernon was born to Leslie and Marcella (Morrison) Connor on June 23, 1964, in Cook. He attended Rainy Lake College and Bemidji College, earning his Vo Tech degree in carpentry. Vernon enjoyed carpentry and woodworking. He also enjoyed fishing, playing cards, and popping wild rice. Vernon had a great sense of humor, which he used to handle many circumstances. He was a carefree guy who was always joking and friendly. His family remembers his “burly laugh”. You didn’t need to see Vernon in the room; you just knew from hearing his laugh.
Vernon is survived by his mother, Marcella Connor; sister, Janice Connor; brothers, Marty Connor (Char Jordan), Mike (Tonya) Connor and Allen “Buzz” Connor; aunties, Edith Villebrun and Carol Chico; uncle, Floyd Morrison; nephews, Jordan, Michael John and Tate; nieces, Joy, Sharla, Nazhoni and Rhieanna; and many other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his father, Leslie; brother, Leslie John Jr.; baby sister, Angela Louise; maternal grandparents, John and Angeline Morrison; and paternal grandparents, Lafayette and Ruth Connor.

Andrea R. Bailey
Andrea R. Bailey, 73, of Ely, passed away at Vermilion Senior Living in Tower. Per her request, there will be no services. Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.


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