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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Obituaries: December 2, 2022


Joyce M. Maki
Joyce M. Maki, 90, of Ely, passed away on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, at Carefree Assisted Living in Ely. The family is thankful for the life of their wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, and would like to thank Essentia Hospice and the incredible, caring staff of Carefree Assisted Living in Ely. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 9 at Grace Lutheran Church in Ely. A luncheon will immediately follow at noon at Grand Ely Lodge, including those who were unable to attend the morning service. The family invites all to celebrate Joyce’s 90-plus years of Finnish “sisu” by attending one or both events. Donations may be directed to Grace Lutheran Church and/or Northwoods Partners in memory of her productive life. Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.
Joyce was born on Jan. 17, 1932, to Martha Kolari and Tom Kilpela in Palo. Martha married Anthony Kokal around 1943. Anthony adopted Joyce and her brother, Leonard. Joyce graduated from Eveleth High School, where she was active in 4H and home economics. She moved on to the University of Minnesota-Duluth and St. Mary’s Medical Technician school. While in college, she met her future husband, Robert M. Maki. They were married in Eveleth on March 27, 1954, when Bob was home on leave from the U.S. Army.
Joyce later joined Bob at Fort Benning in Georgia where they lived off base until his discharge in January 1956. They returned to Ely to settle down. Joyce and Bob made their permanent home on Ely’s Chapman Street in 1959 and spent many joyous years summering at the cabin, built by Bob, on Fall Lake.
Joyce worked as a laboratory and x-ray technician at the Shipman Hospital, the Ely Bloomenson Community Hospital, Dr. Edward Ciriacy Sr.’s medical office, and the Ely Medical Clinic/Duluth Clinic. After a few years of professional work, she devoted her time to raising her growing family, and was an excellent homemaker. She did return to full-time medical technician work in 1975 and retired in 1991.
Joyce tirelessly supported all of her children’s many activities and was a member of the Mother’s Auxiliary for Youth Activities, a Girl Scout Leader and a Cub Scout Leader. She was active in her community, participating in the local sewing club, Dance Club, Red Hat Society and the Ladies of the Kaleva local chapter. She was also a member of the Women’s Benefit Society/NABA/Women’s Life (known to members as “the lodge”) until the time of her death. She was part of the Ely Marching Team, serving as the chaplain for many years. She went on numerous lodge trips including to Hawaii, Vancouver Island, San Antonio, Texas, Minneapolis, and Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
Joyce and her daughters went on yearly or twice-yearly sightseeing (and shopping!) trips. These included travel to New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Door County, Wis., the Amana Colonies of Iowa, Mackinac Island, New Glarus, Wis., and frequent trips to venues and museums in Minnesota.
Joyce was likely the oldest Finnish congregational member of Grace Lutheran Church in Ely, joining the church in 1953. She was active in church circles, the membership committee and the Altar Guild. She served two terms on the church board.
Her creativity was on display through her sewing, knitting, quilting and seasonal crafting. She spent more than 20 years painting fine ceramics, perfecting the skill set of painting detailed faces. She also enjoyed reading, spending many hours with many books on her Kindle.
Left to grieve are her husband of 68 years, Robert “Chick”; children, Cheryl (Cal) Anderson, Charlene (Kenny) Harkins, Robert and Tracy (John Dybvig) Maki; grandchildren, Karl, Liisa and Siri Harkins, Andria LaFollette, Samantha (Mark) Buerkle, Matthew Maki, Eva and Leo Dybvig; and great-grandson, Tate Buerkle. Bob was told by Joyce that in her obituary she wanted it known that her children were her pride and joy.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Martha and Anthony Kokal; and brother, Leonard Kokal.

Gertrude L. Johnson
Gertrude “Carrots” Lenore Johnson, 93, longtime resident of Soudan, died on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, at Essentia Health-Virginia Care Center in Virginia. A private burial was held on Friday, Nov. 25. Arrangements were with Range Funeral Home in Virginia.
She is survived by her sons, Robert Johnson and Richard (Diane) Johnson; five grandchildren; ten great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.

Julee L. Sundstrom
Julee L. Bowman Sundstrom, 69, of Babbitt, passed away peacefully on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022, at Essentia Health St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth with her husband and daughters by her side. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 2 at Landmark Funeral Home Chapel in Virginia. Visitation will be for one hour prior to the service. Burial will be in the Eveleth Cemetery.
She is survived by her husband, Donald; daughters, Angela Bowman and Nicole Ollila; stepdaughter, Emily Rose; six grandchildren; and sisters, JoAnn Korpi and Pam Lindseth.

William M. Bell Jr.
William “Bill” M. Bell Jr., 82, of Tower, passed away on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in his beloved cabin, surrounded by family. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 22 at First Baptist Church in Cook. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the church. There will be a burial and a celebration of life to follow in summer 2023. In lieu of flowers, contributions and memorials can be made to First Baptist Church in Cook. Arrangements are with Mlaker Funeral Home of Cook.
He is survived by his daughters, Sharon (Eric) Haupfear, Deborah (David) Harrison and Lynn (Michael) Longhauser; grandchildren, Isabel, Chloe and Samuel Haupfear, Mikayla, Rebecca, Elisha, Alyssa and Karena Harrison, and Sophia, William and Anna Longhauser; other family, friends and beloved pets.  

James F. Obidowski
James “Jim” Frank Obidowski, 77, of Cook, passed away on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. There will be a private family interment at a later date. Arrangements are with Mlaker Funeral Home of Cook.
He is survived by two children; brothers, Richard (Sue) Obidowski and Art (Linda) Obidowski; special friends, Rolene and Jesse Lewis; and close friend, Mike Yancy.

Lyle W. Klein
Lyle Wayne Klein, 82, of Ely, a proud U.S. Veteran who touched many lives through his love of music, passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022, in his home surrounded by his family. His music will live on in all of us. Rest in peace, Music Man. Funeral services were held at Grace Lutheran Church in Ely on Tuesday, Nov. 22 followed by a graveside service at the Ely Cemetery with full military honors. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.
He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Mary; children, Kurt Klein, Kelli Thorne (Michael), Jenna Keller (Charlie) and Becca Green (Jordan); grandchildren, Samantha Dammer (Andy), Justin Klein, Sarah Lebeda (Joe), Leopold Green, Harrison Keller and Vivian Keller; great-grandchildren, Avry Dammer, Leo Dammer, Crosley Dammer, George Lebeda and Grace Lebeda; numerous nieces and nephews; and brother, Melvin.

Maxine Sharp
Maxine Sharp, 98, of Ely, passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, at Carefree Living in Babbitt.  Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.

Craig P. Chittum
Craig P. Chittum, 84, of Ely, died on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022, at Fairview Mesabi Medical Center in Hibbing. At Craig’s request, no services will take place at this time. Arrangements are entrusted to Rupp Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Chisholm.
He is survived by his children, Troy (Jo Holen) Chittum and Kelly Whiting; and grandchildren, Caid and Grant Chittum.

Allen H. Tumberg
Allen Harold Tumberg, 85, of New York Mills, passed away peacefully with his family by his side on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, in the gentle care of Knute Nelson Hospice. Funeral services were held on Monday, Nov. 7 at Apostolic Lutheran Church in New York Mills. Arrangements were with Karvonen and Son Funeral Home of New York Mills.
He is survived by his wife, Carol Pahkala Tumberg of New York Mills; children, Diane (Jim) Nelmark of Embarrass, Robert (Tricia) Tumberg of Cokato, Dennis (Karissa) Tumberg of Lester Prairie and Jayne (Jesse) Talo of Cherry; 11 grandchildren; one great-grandchild due in March 2023; many other relatives; and a host of friends.