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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Obituaries: August 12, 2022


Phyllis C. Nevala
Phyllis Cresten Nevala, 84, formerly of Embarrass, died peacefully on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, at Essentia Health St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth. Thanks go out to Essentia Hospital in Virginia, Vermilion Senior Living in Tower, St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, and Landmark Funeral Home in Virginia. The family wishes to honor Phyllis’s request that there be no formal funeral service. Arrangements are with Landmark Funeral Home in Virginia.
Phyllis was born on March 24, 1938, in Burns, Ore., to John and Inez (Dahl) Tregear. She was an avid reader. She enjoyed watching sports on television and she loved Jeopardy. Phyllis was very active in community events, both in Embarrass and at Alice Nettle Towers in Virginia, where she had resided for the past 16 years.
Phyllis is survived by her daughters, Dawn Allen, Gwen (John) Kuznak, Jill (Curt) Waisanen and Beth Rolfson; son, Kenneth (LeeAnne) Erickson; sister, Janice (Joseph) Mesojedec; 11 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; and nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, John and Inez Tregear; husband, William Clifford Nevala; son, Mitchell Erickson; and granddaughter, Meaghan Allen.

Eric L. Koski
Eric Leslie Koski, 70, died on Aug. 1, 2022. Services will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 14 at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Ely, with Paul Desilets officiating.
Eric was born on Sept. 11, 1951, to Edward and Eleanore Koski, the fifth of six children. Eric grew up near Tower on the family homestead. He attended school for a time in a one-room schoolhouse and later graduated from Tower High School. One of his first jobs was working at the nearby Y-Store. He also worked for the Forest Service, clearing and fixing campsites in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. After attending college in Ely to pursue an interest in art, he began working for US Steel Minntac as a mobile equipment operator. On March 30, 1972, Eric married Diana Kortkamp. Both had an interest in spiritual matters and a love of nature and a desire to live in harmony with the earth. These common interests led them on a lifelong study of the Bible. On Dec. 2, 1973, they were baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses and enjoyed sharing Bible truths with others. Together they raised four children, built a home, raised various animals, and always made time to take in the beauty of their creator’s handiwork.
Throughout his life Eric loved the outdoors and his family. He especially loved hikes with his family any time of year, kayaking on the river near his home, feeding the various wildlife and capturing pictures of nature, the people he loved, and of old things that were disappearing, with plans to paint these later.
Eric is survived by his devoted wife of 50 years, Diana Koski; son, Cameron (Heather) Koski of Embarrass; daughter, Melody Koski of Virginia; son, Aaron (April) Koski of Fargo, N.D., daughter, Laura (Aaron) Burchfield of Kingman, Ariz.; five grandchildren, Mariah, Jonas, Ethan, Rafe and Quinn Koski; brothers, Kenneth (JoAnn) Koski and Dennely (Sandra) Koski, both of Tower; sister, Sally (Mike) Leoni of Embarrass; and many nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Eleanor Koski; sister, Susan; and brother, Gary Koski.

Paul F. Ivancich
Paul Frank “Paulie” Ivancich, 59, of Burntside Lake, passed away at home on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, after a courageous, hard-fought, two-year battle with cancer. A Funeral Mass was held on Monday, Aug. 8 at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Ely. Memorials are preferred to St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, the Ely Baseball Association or Incredible Ely. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.
He is survived by his wife, Kelly Klun; mother, Virginia Ivancich; brother, Frank Ivancich; mother-in-law, Judy Klun; nephews, Mychal (Kate), Steven, Aiden and Easton Ivancich; niece, Kelsey (Miranda) Ivancich-Osthoff; sisters-in-law, Barb (Brad) Wilkins and Lauren Klun; brother-in-law, Tom Klun; and numerous other relatives, friends and Dairy Queen workers.

Thomas P. Stillman
Thomas P. Stillman, 70, of Port Saint Lucie, Fla., passed away on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, with his wife, sister and brother-in-law at his side. His death was due to complications of a rare, fast-moving autoimmune disorder. During his short hospitalization, he was able to reminisce with family and friends, which brought him comfort and joy. At Tom’s request, a service will not be held. It was his wish that his memory be honored with donations to Save the Boundary Waters,
Tom was born on March 12, 1952, in Duluth. He spent his weekends and summers fishing, hunting and waterskiing at the family cabin in Ely. He graduated from Duluth East High School in 1970. Before starting college, he toured Europe, on his own, with a Duluth pack on his back.
In 1975, he married his soulmate, JoAnn Wormley, whom he had first met as a seven-year-old. That relationship continued to blossom over the years, as summer romances do. In May of this year, they celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary.
Tom graduated from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 1976 with a BA in Geography and a Geology minor. American History was a lifelong passion of his. Three mottos he strongly believed in were, “It is the responsibility of every American to protect democracy,” Compromise is not a dirty word; it is the foundation of democracy,” and “Majority rules.”
Early in his career, Tom was a wilderness fishing guide for Deer Trail Lodge out of Ely. In 1976 he began working at Diamond Tool and Horseshoe Company as a production worker. He became involved in the local union, serving as treasurer and later president. The plant was later purchased by Triangle Corp and when it became apparent that Triangle intended to close the plant, Tom, in an effort to save jobs, along with other union leaders, convinced the city of Duluth to join in a lawsuit against Triangle for abuse of industrial revenue bonds. The case was successful and was upheld by the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Minnesota Supreme Court, buying the workers a few more years of employment. About the time the plant did close, Tom wrote and received a grant through the Jobs Training Partnership Act to help dislocated Diamond Tool workers find training and employment opportunities. Eventually Tom found himself drawn once again to his love of fishing through working at Gander Mountain where he managed the Fishing Department for many years. After 19 years at Gander, Tom retired in 2012 as the Soft-Lines Manager responsible for overseeing multiple departments.
In 2014, he and JoAnn traded blizzards for hurricanes and moved to sunny Florida, where they enjoyed bass fishing among alligators, bird-watching and photography.
Tom is survived by his wife, JoAnn; sister, Aliceon (David Williams); brothers, John (Joanne) and Jim (Wanda); nephews, nieces and close friends.
He was preceded in death by his son, David; and parents, Newland and Florence Stillman.

William N. Davidson
William N. “Bill” Davidson, 82, of Babbitt, passed away on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022, at the Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely. A Funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 12 at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Babbitt with Rev. Fr. Charlie Friebohle as celebrant. Visitation will be for one hour prior to the service at the church. Arrangements are with Landmark Funeral Home in Virginia.
He is survived by his wife, Virginia “Ginny” of Babbitt; seven children, Karen, Andrew (Jeni), Paul, Christopher, Beth Ann (Jim) McCain, Jeannette (Lee) Newton and Nancy (Pat) Orcutt; 22 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; adopted grandchildren, Chloe and Kenny; sister, Carol McCloud; and brother, Donald Davidson.