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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Obituaries: August 19, 2020


Frank A. Planton
Frank A. Planton, 82, of Soudan, passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by all his family on Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022. Funeral mass will be 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, at St. Martin’s Catholic Church in Tower with Rev. Fr. Beau Braun as celebrant, with a visitation one hour prior to the service at the church. A reception will follow in the parish hall.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Landmark Funeral Home of Virginia.
Frank was born on Oct. 11, 1939, to Frank G. Planton and Angela (Yapel) Planton in Soudan. Frank graduated from Tower High School in 1957. In 1959 he started his career at Erie Mining Company where he completed his welding apprenticeship, was a welder for 14 years before becoming a supervisor. In 2001, after 42 years of service, he retired from LTV Steel. He was proud to work in the mines, and he cherished the friendships that he made throughout his career.
On Oct. 21, 1961, he married the love of his life, Maria Zoe Zupancich and started a family. Frank’s family was his priority. Frank and Zoe were blessed with five loving children and their families.
Frank had a love for the outdoors, which included hunting, fishing, and collecting rocks for Zoe’s and his rock gardens. His real passion was fishing. He loved to fish with his family and friends and enjoyed sharing fishing stories with everyone. Fall fishing and netting whitefish in late October brought Frank great enjoyment.
Frank was an avid gardener who maintained three large gardens for many years. He loved to can and pickle vegetables and always provided an abundance of food for his family. You would often find him outside tending to his gardens and making sure they would be ready for the fall harvest.
One of Franks joys in life was listening to polka music. You could hear Frank’s polka music playing throughout the day. At night he would fall asleep listening to beautiful polka songs. Frank and Zoe also loved polka dancing and attended 36 polka festivals in Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Chicago.
Frank is survived by children: Margie (Rodney) Burgess, Frank J. (Carmen) Planton, John Planton, Mike Planton, and Annie (Tony) Tekautz; eight grandchildren, Carleen (Mike), Brian (Julia), Cole, Bradley, Leanne, Stefanie, Brent, and Nathan; and four great-grandchildren, Mason, Greyson, Noah, and Landon, sister, Mary Lou, sister in-law, Jana Planton and many nieces and nephews.
Frank was preceded in death by his loving wife, Zoe Planton of 60 years, parents, Frank and Angela Planton, his brother, Ray and his brother in-law, Joseph Zupancich.
A very special thank you to the East Range Hospice Team. The family would also like to recognize Nurse Jo for the exceptional care provided to our dad.

Keith J. Vagle
Keith Joseph Vagle, 73, of Tower, formerly of Biwabik, died on Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022, at the Solvay Hospice House in Duluth after a courageous fight with cancer. 
A celebration of life service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 19 at the Biwabik Pavilion. Private inurnment will take place in Lakeside Cemetery in Biwabik. Family services are provided by Bauman- Cron, a Bauman Family Funeral Home in Virginia.
He was born on April 26, 1949, in Hallock, the son of Arnold and Nina (Crow) Vagle.
He was a graduate of Biwabik High School and attended the University of Minnesota. In high school, Keith was an accomplished athlete, lettering for five years in swimming, four years in track, and three years in football. He competed in the state swim meet during three years. He sang in the choir, lettered in band, and earned the John Philip Sousa Award.  While attending university, Keith was a member of the prestigious U of M marching band. His love of bands continued after college with his performing in the Biwabik Clown Band, the Hopkins West Community Band and the Mesabi Community Band.
Keith was a certified dive instructor, enjoying many hours of SCUBA diving. He had a life-altering accident in 1973, after which he was helped by the Courage Center and worked as a lab tech for Cargill.
Keith loved fishing, dogs, camping at Pathfinder Village, and always saw the best in everything.
Keith is survived by brothers, Nick (Connie) Vagle of Grants Pass, Ore., and Scott (Terry) Vagle of Tower; sister-in-law, Joanne Vagle of Cross Lake; nieces and nephews, Jason (Tracy), Sarah, Ian (Amanda), Dan, Autumn and Molly; grandnieces, other extended family and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Arnold and Nina; brother, Chris; and nephew, Ricky.

Gloria M. Vertin
Gloria Mae DeBernardi Vertin, 88, a lifelong Ely resident, passed away on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, at the Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital surrounded by family.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20 at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Ely with Father Charlie Friebohle as celebrant. Visitation will be from 10 to 11 a.m. Private family interment will be in the Ely Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Northwood Partners – Senior Services in Ely. Arrangements are with Landmark Funeral Home in Virginia.
She is survived by her daughters, Marie (Matt) Baudek, Diane (Frank Guldbrandsen) Vertin, Kathy (Ed) Vertin-Erchul, Anne (Dennis) Portinen and JoAnne (Bob) Vertin-Franklin; grandchildren, Nick (Kari), Melissa (Garrett), Sara (Charles), Amanda, Brian, Max, Alex, Lauren, Ashley (Kyle), Taylor, Shelby, Mathew and Gianna; great-grandchildren, Aiden, Christina, Mariah, Easton, Reagan and Xander; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Billie J. Burritt
Billie Jeanne “BJ” Picek Burritt, 76, of Virginia, originally of Cook, died on Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022, surrounded by her family. A celebration of life will be held at the historic Little Fork Lutheran Church in Cook on Friday, Aug. 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Little Fork Cemetery, 9897 Wien Rd, on the corner of Samuelson Rd and Wien Rd). Refreshments and bars will be available; however there are limited facilities at the historic church. Flower delivery is not available. Arrangements are with Range Funeral Home in Virginia.
She is survived by her mother, Margaret Picek; children, Troy Burritt and Jena (Jason) Lamppa; grandchildren, John Burritt and McKenzie Burritt; siblings, Dan (Kathy) Picek, Tom (Char) Picek and Bobbi (Roy) Siegfried; special friend, Jerry Snell; and countless friends and family she cherished.

Joni L. Dahl
Joni Lynn Dahl, 39, of Genoa Location, rural Gilbert, died tragically on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, when her car was hit by a drunk driver on Hwy. 21 in Embarrass Township.
She was a true and loyal daughter of the Iron Range who touched a multitude of lives.
Funeral services will be private. A celebration of Joni’s life will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 26 at the Mountain Iron Community Center. Friends, colleagues and teammates are invited to join the family to share tears, laughter, memories, photos and a meal.
Arrangements are with Landmark Funeral Home of Virginia.

Alberta F. Lah
Alberta F. “Betz” Betzler Lah, 92, of Hibbing, died on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, at Majestic Pines of Grand Rapids.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20 at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Hibbing. Rev. Fr. Daniel Weiske will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 19 at Dougherty Funeral Home with recitation of the Rosary at 6:30 p.m. Visitation will then continue on Saturday, Aug. 20, for one hour prior to the Funeral Mass at the church on Saturday. Interment will be in Maple Hill Cemetery of Hibbing. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Blessed Sacrament Parish or the Hibbing Hospital Auxiliary. Arrangements are with Dougherty Funeral Home of Hibbing.
She is survived by her children, Teresa (James) Matetich of Grand Rapids, George Lah of Cloquet, William J. Lah of Hibbing, James E. (Ruth) Lah of Ely and Steven (Siiri) Lah of Rolla, Mo.; ten grandchildren; three great- grandchildren; and many wonderful nieces and nephews.

Rudolf J. Jensen
Rudolf J. “Rudy” Jensen, 77, of Ames, Iowa, died on Thursday, July 28, 2022, at his family’s cabin on Burntside Lake near Ely.
No formal memorial service is planned at this time. A private family remembrance will be held in Minnesota at a later date. Donations and memorials may be made to the Ely-Winton Historical Society, 1900 E Camp St., Ely, MN 55731; the Ames Public Library Friends Foundation, PO Box 1832, Ames, IA 50010; or a charity of your choice in Rudy’s memory.
Family services are provided by Bauman-Cron, a Bauman Family Funeral Home in Virginia.
He is survived by his wife, Helen Hannay Jensen of Ames, Iowa; son, Tomas Jensen (Heidi) and grandchildren, Lukas, Malin and Aina of Anchorage, Alaska; daughter, Eleanor Jensen of Dennison; brother, Paul (Sherill Hudson) of Daniel, Wyo.; and sister, Katharine A. Jensen (John Protevi) of Baton Rouge, La.