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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Obituaries: April 16, 2021


Donna K. Hill
Donna K. Hill, 88, a lifelong resident of Soudan, died on Friday, April 9, 2021, at The Waterview Pines in Virginia. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 16 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Soudan, with Pastor Greg Anderson officiating. A gathering time for family and friends will begin one hour prior to the service at the church. Family services are provided by Bauman-Vermilion, a Bauman Family Funeral Home in Tower.
Donna was a kind and caring person and touched the hearts of many. She will be deeply missed by all. The family would like to give heartfelt thanks to the staff of Waterview Pines for the excellent and compassionate care Donna received. She made many friends while she was there.
Donna was born in Soudan, the daughter of Ernest and Mary (Belehar) Branwall. She was a graduate of Tower-Soudan High School and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. Donna served during the Korean War, and was honorably discharged on April 8, 1954.  Donna was united in marriage to James A.  Hill on March 4, 1955, at the Lutheran Church in Ely. Donna worked at the State Bank of Tower until she accepted the Postmaster position in Soudan where she worked full time for over 30 years. 
After retiring from the Postmaster position, she worked at North Country Quilts in Tower for 16 years.  She was a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Soudan. Donna enjoyed spending time at her “favorite place in the whole world” - the family cabin on Lake Vermilion. She was a gifted knitter, loved to read, and enjoyed walks, the outdoors and her flower gardens.
Donna is survived by her husband of 66 years, Jim Sr. of Soudan; sons, Jim (Pam) Hill and Dan (Corrine) Hill, both of Soudan; sister, Tina Chiabotti of Stuart, Fla.; brother, Lee Branwall of White Bear Lake; granddaughter, Jodi (Nick) Levens; great-grandchildren, Jackson, Elliot, Neva and Nixon, all of Tower; along with numerous extended family members and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Ernest and Mary Branwall.

Carol M. McIntire
Carol Myrtle Boleman Saari McIntire, 83, of Tower, a loving daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt and friend, passed away peacefully to the heavenly realm while at Essentia Health in Virginia on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. A memorial service will be held at a later date with a visitation to be held prior to the service at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Tower.
In lieu of flowers or memorials, the family requests donations to Recycled Lives at, Lutheran World Relief at, and Cure Progressive Supranuclear Palsy at Arrangements are with Landmark Funeral Home in Virginia.
Carol was born on Dec. 18, 1937, in Osceola, Wis. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from St. Cloud State University. She served the community with dedication as an elementary teacher at several area schools and helped her husband in operating Northern Insulation in Tower for over 40 years. She was very active in the community, volunteering with local literacy initiatives, and serving in a wide range of roles at Immanuel Lutheran Church.
She enjoyed traveling the world and the U.S., observing nature, birds and wildlife, and enjoyed spending hours walking through the woods. An avid student of history, she would spend hours reading about famous people and places. She enjoyed working with people, playing games, and spending time with her family. She loved to knit and crochet.
Carol is survived by her husband of almost 50 years, Lloyd McIntire; daughters, Charlotte (Al) Kennedy and Cathleen (Eric) Vought; grandchildren, Clair Kennedy, Cole Kennedy and Lisette Vought; siblings, Lee (Ricky) Boleman, Norma Strand, Wilma Kennedy and Roger (Joan) Boleman; and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Lloyd Lemoyne and Hazel Lucille Boleman; and her first husband, Clifford Saari.

Andrea Strong
Andrea Strong, 32, passed away on Friday, April 9, 2021. A wake was held at the Bois Forte Wellness Center on the Vermilion Reservation in Tower on Tuesday, April 13. A funeral service was held on Wednesday, April 14, also at the Wellness Center.

Lee Tessier
Lee Tessier, 83, of Winton, a proud veteran, passed away at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth on Friday, April 9, 2021. Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.

Darell Bartell
Darell Bartell, 85, of Babbitt, passed away at his residence on Saturday, April 10, 2021. Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.

Willard Pearson
Willard Pearson, 97, of Cook, passed away at the Cook Care Center on Monday, April 12, 2021. A visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, April 16 at Mlaker Funeral Home in Cook. A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 17 at the First Baptist Church of Cook, with visitation for one hour prior to the service at the church. The family respectfully requests that masks be worn. Arrangements are with Mlaker Funeral Home in Cook.
Willard was born on the family homestead on Nov. 14, 1923. Years later, this property became the location of CareFree Living and the Cook Care Center, where he spent the final years of his life. He took great comfort in that connection, often telling others that he had “come home again.” He was united in marriage to Helen Sikkila on Sept. 14, 1946, in Virginia. They were married for 66 years at the time of her passing in 2013. Willard was a proud veteran of the U.S. Navy, having served during WWII. He achieved the rank of Machinist Mate 2nd Class, serving time in the Caribbean and the Pacific Northwest.
He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Cook. At one time, he was the Constable of Field Township. Willard served on the Board of Arrowhead Seed Growers, Palo Mutual Insurance, and was proud to be selected as the Grand Marshal of Timber Days.
He was a farmer at heart, always showing interest in the family farm long after he moved on to other employment. Willard spent his formal working years in many different capacities. Early on, he was a mail carrier with his Model A, worked at the Cook Creamery, worked at Erie Mining Company during the construction of the taconite plant, worked at the feed house in Cook, and for Gene Kantola Construction. Many knew Willard best from his 18 and a-half years as a janitor for the Cook School, during which time the school yearbook was dedicated to him twice. He was awarded an honorary high school diploma during his retirement pep rally.
Willard could often be found roaming the crowds at auctions near and far. One of his life changing finds was an antique rope maker. From there, he modernized and motorized his own rope machines, teaching others to do the same. Some knew him as “The Rope Man” and many of his colorful dog leashes and Christmas ropes are still in use today. Willard was always able to make something out of nothing.
Papa Willard, as he was known to many, was incredibly generous, always happy to share his home and what he had with others. He was a father figure and grandpa to many. Some of that generosity included ice cream treats for great-grandkids, often at 8 o'clock in the morning. Willard will be remembered for his ability to make people laugh with his jokes and tricks, including one of his favorites, his picture of his Pride and Joy. No one was a stranger to Willard. He truly perfected the long Minnesota good-bye.
Willard is survived by sons, Marvin (Peggy) Pearson and Stanley (Lynn) Pearson; daughter, Sharon (Kenneth) Elg; bonus son, Peter (Susan) Stone; grandchildren, Jeff (Lisha) Pearson, Rachel (Jeff Quiel) Pearson, Amy (Tim) Pearson, Forrest Pearson, Melanie (Eric) Kiehm, Jody (Mike) Feist, Tina (Ben) Bergerson and Lynn (Keith) Smith; 18 great-grandchildren, Anya, Serena and Lila Pearson, Katrina and Cora Chapman, Caleb Uchal and Josephine Pearson, Jimi and Everly Pearson, Dylan and Tyler Kiehm, Katelynn (Adam) Snow and Melina (William) Feist, Nevaeh and Dominic Bergerson, Ty, Kami and Cale Smith; four great-great grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Helen Sikkila Pearson; parents, John Abel and Klara Pearson; brothers, Arnold and Roy; and sisters, Emile, Alice and Violet.

Steven Nevala
Steven “Steve” Nevala, 66, originally of Embarrass, died on Saturday, March 27, 2021, of natural causes in at his home in Chaska. Memorial and interment will be held at a later date.
He is survived by his father, Robert Nevala; his brother, Lyle Nevala; brother-ln-law, Ronald Dale; nieces,: Leslie Brunfelt, Tia Moyer, Cari Hoffman and Megan Nevala-Plagemann; nephews, Christopher Nevala-Plagemann and Jonathan Nevala-Plagemann.