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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Obituaries: June 28, 2024


Barbara J. Matts
Barbara Jean “Barb” Matts, 87, of Cook, died peacefully on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, at home, surrounded by her family. A celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 13 at the Cook Community Center. Arrangements are with Mlaker Funeral Home of Cook.
Barb was born on March 6, 1937, in Plymouth, Ill., to Roy and Sylvia Ballard. Her family moved to Cook when she was 14 years old. She attended the Cook Schools. She married John Gustafson on Aug. 27, 1953, and they had seven children. After 20 years of marriage, they went their separate ways. Barb married John Matts on July 9, 1977.  
Barb worked as a dietary aide at the Cook Community Hospital for 30 years. Family and friends were important to Barb. She and John Matts created special memories with her children and grandchildren on Lake Vermilion - pontoon rides and sauna. Barb was especially proud of her grandchildren and she and John Matts traveled the world to visit their grandchildren serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. 
Barb enjoyed gardening, sewing, knitting, puzzles, playing piano, and most of all, spending time with family and friends sitting out on the deck. Anyone could stop at her house and she’d have sweets and a drink ready to share. 
Many people created great memories with Barb to cherish forever and she will be deeply missed. 
Barbara is survived by her daughters, Beverly McGowen (LeRoy), Sandra Boutto (James) and Sherry Crego; sons, David L Gustafson (Karen), Jeffrey Gustafson (Linda) and Gregory Gustafson (Dawn); grandchildren, Rebecca Sarazine (Mike), Michael Boutto, Eric McGowen (Jessica), Melissa Friederichs (James), Dawn Kehoe (Jason), Kelly Krueger (Jerrod), Mickey Gustafson (Angie), David B. Gustafson (Stefanie), Carrie Brown (Erik), Allen Gustafson (Barbie), Lyssa Tupy, Jessica Landers and Matt Turigney (Jennie); 24 great-grandchildren; two great-great grandchildren; brother-in-law, Dennis Matts (Barb); sister-in-law, Karin Ballard; special family, Mike Smith, Gene and Vickie Ballard, Lawrence and Donna Gustafson, Sue and Rick Pliml, Kimberly Matts; and special friend, Audrey Armagost.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Roy and Sylvia Ballard; husband, John Matts; son, John “Butch” Gustafson Jr.; brother, Walter Ballard; and son-in-law, David Crego. 

Lawrence A. Klingsheim
Lawrence Anthony Klingsheim, 33, of Babbitt, died peacefully on the evening of Friday, June 21, 2024. His final days were spent surrounded by family at his home in Babbitt. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 28 at the Evangelical Free Church in Embarrass. A gathering for family and friends will begin one hour prior to the service. Burial will be at the Embarrass Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials. Family services are provided by Bauman Family Funeral Home in Virginia.
Lawrence was born on Nov. 29, 1990, in Mora. At the age of 10, Lawrence came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ and in that growing faith, he later dedicated his life to the ministry of the gospel. In pursuit of that calling, he attended Oak Hills Christian College (2013), where he met his wife of 12 years, Ashley, and then attended Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (2015).
He was a gifted preacher, a caring counselor, a talented musician, and a fervent student of theology. Together, Ashley and Lawrence used their gifts to richly bless and faithfully minister to all those in their care. In his years of ministry, Lawrence served at Westgate Church (Youth Pastor), Two Harbors Evangelical Free Church (Pastor), Northern Bible Church (Pastor) and Embarrass Evangelical Free Church (Associate Pastor).
Lawrence found purpose and fulfillment in his God-given role as a faithful husband and loving father. His inquisitive mind and curiosity drove much of his interests and hobbies, but he found greater joy and satisfaction in sharing moments of learning and exploration with his family. He passed on that spirit of curiosity to his children and leaves with them a legacy of steadfast faith, loving care, and courageous leadership.
Lawrence is survived by his loving wife, Ashley; and their five children, Ellie (10), Emma (8), Nora (6), Owen (4) and Maggie (2). As a husband, father, son, brother and uncle, he loved and was dearly loved by all those whom he called family.

Mark A. Lehto
Mark Alan Lehto, 68, longtime resident of Lake Vermilion-Tower, and formerly of Baxter and Staples, died on Monday, June 17, 2024, at home, of a massive heart attack. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 29 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Tower. Reverend Joel Guttormson will officiate.
Mark was born on Oct. 18, 1955, in Virginia, the son of Robert and Doris Salmela Lehto. He was raised in Embarrass and was a 1974 graduate of Babbitt High School. Mark earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Bemidji State University. Mark was united in marriage to Lynn Dee Jarnstrom on Sept. 8, 1984, at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Tower.
Mark worked as an Industrial Technology/Shop Teacher at Virginia High School and Staples High School. In the early 1980’s, Mark purchased the Vermilion Club and extensively remodeled the interior. Mark and Lynn Dee enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, traveling, boating, snowmobiling, and spending time at their cabin on Lake of The Woods at Sioux Narrows, Ontario, Canada.
Mark is survived by his loving wife, Lynn Dee; beloved mother, Doris Lehto of Moorhead, and formerly a lifelong resident of Embarrass; siblings, Craig (Mary Beth) Lehto of Highland Ranch, Colo., Sharon Kangas of Plymouth and Lori Lehto of Madison; nieces and nephews, Nicole Brown, Amanda Lahti, Kristen Kangas, Danielle Kolp, Jackie Lehto, Jennifer Frank, Erik Lehto and Jamie Lehto; lifelong best friend, Bob (Suzie) Kari of Ocoee, Fla., and Bear Island Lake; and numerous extended family members and friends.
He was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Jalmer and Ruth Nelimark Salmela; father, Robert Lehto; and brother-in-law, Herb Kangas.

Trudi J. Shaw
Trudi J. Shaw, 80, of Soudan, passed away on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth. Funeral arrangements are pending with Landmark Funeral Home in Virginia.

Karen K. Lind
Karen Kristin Kjera Lind, 85, formerly of Cook, passed away on Thursday, May 16, 2024, at Edgewood Vista Memory Care in Virginia. A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, June 30 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Cook Community Center. Lunch will be served. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Cook Area Food Shelf or Caring Edge Hospice in Virginia.
She is survived by her children, Robyn (James) Anderson and Kristin Zigan; daughter-in-law, Paulette Bober-Lind; brother, Tom Bialke; grandchildren, Sara (Chad) Bohannan, Katie Lind, Jesse (Chelsea) Anderson, Brett (Brittany Bakken) Anderson and Jamie Lind-Christiansen; and great-grandchildren, Aiden, Blake, Asher, Harlow, Sawyer, Bryson and Brandon.

Laura J. Chelesnik
Laura Jane Zbacnik Chelesnik, 83, of Ely, passed away on Sunday, June 16, 2024, at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth. A service was held on Friday, June 21 from 6-8 p.m. at Kerntz Funeral Home in Ely. Memorials can be made to the Ely Chapter of the American Cancer Society or the University of Minnesota Baseball Program. Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.
She is survived by her beloved husband of 65 years, Dave Chelesnik Sr. of Ely; son, Steven (Tamara) and granddaughter, Alex, all of Eden Prairie; sister, Carol Norby; brother, Tom Zbacnik; and in-laws, John and Sandy Chelelsnik, all of Ely; and many nieces and nephews.

Bernard G. Novak
Bernard Gene “Bernie” Novak, 89, lifelong resident of Gheen, passed away in the comfort of his home on Friday, June 21, 2024. He will be deeply missed and forever cherished in memories. There will be no services per his wishes. Arrangements are with Mlaker Funeral Home of Cook.
He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Barb Soger Novak; son, Shawn; daughter, Michelle (Joe) Manick; grandchildren, Emilee and Joshua Manick; and great-grandchildren, Addy and Tanner Manick.

Russell and Theresa Berg
A funeral service for Russell and Theresa Berg, former residents of Eagles Nest Lake, will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 5, 2024, in St. Martin’s Catholic Church in Tower. There will be an informal gathering following the service at the family home on Eagles Nest Lake.

Wayne E. Cheney
Wayne Edward Cheney, 81, of Cook, passed away on Monday, June 24, 2024. A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 11 at the Cook Community Center. Visitation will be held one hour prior. Arrangements are with Mlaker Funeral Home of Cook.