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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Obituaries: June 16, 2023


James F. Charles
James Frederick “Jim” Charles, 100, formerly of Tower, passed away on Monday, June 5, 2023, at Lake Minnetonka Shores Assisted Living in Spring Park. A funeral service will be held at 12 p.m. on Monday, June 19 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Tower with Pastor Liz Cheney officiating. Visitation will be for two hours prior to the service at the church. A lunch will follow the service. Burial will be at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis at 12:45 p.m. on Friday, August 11. Meet at Assembly Area 6. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Immanuel Lutheran Church in Tower. Arrangements are with Landmark Funeral Home in Virginia.
Jim was born on May 5, 1923, in Minneapolis, and graduated from West High School in 1941. He was a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps at Camp 702 at Bena, and was proud of the many Norway pines he planted in that area.
He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in November 1942, with duty in the Atlantic Theater of Operations. Jim was also a Plank Owner on the Carrier FDR, serving as an Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd class, and was discharged in May 1946. He immediately enlisted in the active Naval Reserve, where he served for an additional eight years.
Jim worked a short time for Minneapolis Honeywell and Northern States Power, and attended the University of Minnesota in Wildlife Management. He worked summer jobs in Itasca State Park as a lifeguard, and worked two summers for the Conservation Dept., sounding lakes and mapping depth maps. Many of the lakes he sounded and mapped are still in effect today, with many in Northeastern Minnesota, including Snowbank Lake, Crane Lake and Bear Island Lake.
He married the former Margaret Elizabeth “Betty” Wels in 1948 at Brainerd. He started work in the Minnesota Fisheries Dept. in June 1952 in Grand Rapids, and then transferred to Winton as a Game Refuge Patrolman. He worked and patrolled the Superior Game Refuge (now the BWCAW) for four years by canoe and snowshoes. Winter work consisted of trapping predators, mainly timber wolves, and he became quite proficient at it. In 1956, Jim transferred to the Game Warden Service, was stationed at Littlefork, and was a member of the Volunteer Fire Dept. After four years, he transferred to Tower in August 1960.
He started the Firearm Safety program in Littlefork and continued the program in Tower. He spent the remainder of his career in Tower. He retired in 1982 with 31 years in the MN DNR.
He was active in the American Legion with over 60 years as a member, was Commander for two years in Tower from 1962-64, and had been a member of the Tower VFW and Babbitt VFW Post 1539. Jim was a member of the MN Conservation Officers Pistol Team, and won many trophies for shooting. He was also a member of the Tower Bank Trapshooting Team which won first place for several years at the Ely Trap Range.
For several years he guided canoe parties in Quetico Park and the BWCA. During his spare time, he loved canoeing and spending time in the wilderness area. He was a member of the Tower Masonic Lodge for many years, was a member of the NRA for several years, and was active in supporting the Second Amendment.
Jim married the former Shirley Anderson in Mt. Iron in 1982 shortly before retirement, and spent his remaining years on Lake Vermilion.
He was a director of the Lake Vermilion Sportsmen’s Club for several years and was a Senior Warden for several years at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Tower. Jim was an ardent hunter and fisherman, especially waterfowl and trout fishing, and was a longtime member of Ducks Unlimited. He also enjoyed downhill and cross-country skiing, and skied in several ski races between Ely, Tower and Bear Head Lake. He also competed in several ski jumping contests in the Twin Cities as a teenager.
Jim was a life member of the MN Police and Peace Officers Association, and also of the Arrowhead Police Officers Association. Along with DNR Fisheries personnel, he planted the first lake trout in Trout Lake in the early 1960s with the help of Bill Gruben.
Jim is survived by his son, James E. Charles of Alexandria; daughter, Wendy K. Charles of Minneapolis; grandchildren, Dallas (Holea) Charles, Samantha (Griffin) Runge and Levi Charles of Alexandria and Elizabeth and Karla Villanueva of the Twin Cities; great-grandchildren, Abel and Myla Charles; stepchildren, Bruce (Ann) Anderson, Jackie (Mike) Unrein and Gerry (Cheryl) Anderson; and many step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, James K. and Genevieve B. Charles; first wife, Betty Wels Charles; second wife, Shirley Anderson Charles; grandson, Cody Charles; stepchildren, Rick Anderson and Carol Anderson; and dear cousins, John Scholl and Lucille Tellett.

Kathryn M. Brown
Kathryn Marie Eich Brown, 77, of Vermilion River in South Buyck, entered her heavenly home of eternal rest and peace on Friday, June 9, 2023. A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Thursday, June 15 at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Orr, with a lunch immediately after the service at the church and a reception at the Legion Hall in Orr from 5-7 p.m. Arrangements were with Mlaker Funeral Home of Cook.
She is survived by her husband, Jerry; sons, Russ, Dan (Staci) and Jason (Heidi); five grandchildren; sister, Sharon (Arnie) Kroeger; brother, Gene (Marlene) Eich; and many nephews, nieces and friends.

Kenneth R. Bruce
Kenneth Russell Bruce, 72, longtime resident of Tower, died peacefully at his home on Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. A memorial service is planned for 11 a.m. on Friday, June 23 at Bauman Vermilion Funeral Home Chapel in Tower, with visitation for one hour prior to the service. Pastor Liz Cheney will officiate. Burial will be at Lakeview Cemetery in Tower.
Ken was born on June 14, 1950, in Chicago, Ill., and his family moved to Tower in 1972 where they operated the Tower-Soudan IGA grocery store for many years. Ken met the love of his life, JeriLynn Horntvedt, when she came to teach at the Tower-Soudan School in 1971. They were married on June 22, 1974, at Wabanica Lutheran Church in Baudette. They lived in a cabin on Isle of Pines in the summers and served as caretakers for Westhaven Lodge in the winters, before building a permanent home on the island in 1999.
Ken is survived by an aunt, Delores Bruce Teplar of Henderson, Nev.; sister-in-law, Lois (George) Widman of Crookston; brother-in-law, Ken (Jody) Horntvedt of Baudette; four nieces and nephews; and several cousins.
He was preceded in death by his wife, JeriLynn (2019); parents, Russell (1985) and Marcella (1980) Bruce; sister, Karen Pecha (2015); and brother-in-law, Tony Pecha (2021).

Carol J. Pohto
Carol Jean Lehtinen Pohto, 79, of Cook, passed away peacefully on Sunday, June 11, 2023, after a valiant fight with cancer. A celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 22 at the Cook Community Center. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service. Lunch and burial will follow. Arrangements are with Mlaker Funeral Home of Cook.
She is survived by her children, Shelly Gwash (Kevin), Guy Pohto, Cindy Aune (Donald), Brad Pohto (Peggy), Mark Pohto (Jean), Lisa Kirk, Grant Pohto (Sheila) and Mike Novak (Judy); sister, Mary Ann Backman; 20 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren with one on the way; one great-great-grandchild; and numerous nieces and nephews.

James M. Belehar
James Michael “Jim” Belehar, 72, passed away at his home on Everett Lake on Friday, June 9, 2023, after a brief illness, with his family by his side. A celebration of life will be held on Friday, June 16 at Semer’s Park Pavilion in Ely from 2-7-ish p.m. Light refreshments will be provided. Please bring a story to tell, the more colorful the better.
Jim was born to Joseph and Rose Belehar on Dec. 24, 1950, in Ely. He attended Ely Memorial High School and graduated in 1969. After graduating, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served two tours in Vietnam. Upon his return, he ended up enrolling in vocational school in Staples for mechanics. He also attended Vermilion Community College. Jim worked a variety of jobs throughout his entire life - mining, carpentry, bartending, some unknown and maybe not entirely legal enterprises - but his most recent endeavor was Jim’s Hardwood Floors, leading him to sand and refinish many floors in the Ely area.
Jim was an active member of the VFW Post 2717, serving as Commander at one point. He felt a special duty and privilege to be a member of the Honor Guard. Jim was known for his bawdy sense of humor, infectious laugh, generous nature, and extensive vocabulary, most of which is unfit to print.
Jim is survived by his wife and partner of 20 years, Mary Pat O’Halloran; sons, Jeramie (Sandy Thrasher) of Arizona and Shane (Bailey) of Ely; stepson, Tom; granddaughter, Chelsea; grandsons, Brennan and Everett; and brother, Joel (Kathy) of Hibbing.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and daughter, Amanda.

Todd J. Majeski
Todd Joseph Majeski, 61, of Angora, passed away on Tuesday, June 6, 2023. A private family burial will be held on Saturday, June 17 followed by a reception at 1 p.m. for family and friends at Kristin and Todd’s home. Arrangements are with Mlaker Funeral Home of Cook.
He is survived by his wife of almost 40 years, Kristen Billington Majeski; first son, Joseph (Mattie) Majeski, granddaughter Rowen and grandson Finley, all of New Hampshire; second son, Jonathan Majeski of Tennessee; third son, Jacob (Taylor) Majeski of Tennessee; best buds, Bill (Jakie) Billington, Wendell (Jeanine) Rutchasky and Timothy/Dudley (Lois) Reing; very supportive in-laws, Dan (Laura) Zika along with parents-in-law, Roger (Donna) Billington; numerous cousins, nephews, nieces and friends.

Charles M. Street Jr.
Charles Marvin Street Jr., 87, longtime resident of Beatty Township-Cook, entered his eternal home on Tuesday, June 6, 2023. A funeral service was held on Saturday, June 10 at Lakeland Baptist Church in Gilbert. Arrangements were with Mlaker Funeral Home of Cook.
He is survived by his wife, Marjorie Obr Street; children, Shane and Clint (Becky); grandchildren, Tyler, Jared and Brady; great-grandchildren, Greyson, Paisley and Sophia; and several nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.