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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Obituaries: March 26, 2021


James T. Hart
 James Thomas Hart, 81, of Eagles Nest Township, passed away on Monday, March 15, 2021, at the Ely Bloomenson Community Hospital.
The world lost a great man - our dad, grandpa and great-grandpa, Jim Hart. He lived life to the fullest, most notably canoeing, kayaking and biking into his 80’s and skiing into his 90’s. With help from family, friends and neighbors, he lived on his own until his final days at his cabin under the towering pines in Eagles Nest Township. Jim loved his place in the Piney Woods, and especially his large family of ten children, 24 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren. We all loved him, too, and will miss him.
Memorial services will be planned for later in the summer. Final interment will be at Calvary Cemetery in Duluth. The family would like to thank St. Anthony’s Catholic Care, Northwoods Partners, local friends and neighbors, Dr. Jeff Wilt, Dr. Joe Schwinghamer, and the nurses and staff at Ely Bloomenson Community Hospital for their wonderful care and friendship, especially in Jim’s last days.
 He was born on Jan. 10, 1930, in Duluth, to the late Albert S. Hart and Nora Moran. His great-grandparents, Onesime Jolicoeur (James Hart) and Adelaide Bourget, were some of the early residents of the city of Duluth, arriving in the early 1880’s from Quebec, Canada. His mother Nora and her sister Mary Ellen Moran McLaughlin both came to Duluth from County Mayo, West Ireland, in the early 1900’s. A Nursing School graduate from St. Scholastica, Jim’s mother met his father Albert when the Hart family hired her as a nurse for Grandpa Hart.
 Jim attended Duluth schools and graduated from Duluth Cathedral (now Marshall) High School in the class of 1948. He earned his B.A. in Economics from St. John’s University in Collegeville and finished his law degree with honors at William Mitchell College of Law (now Mitchell Hamline) in St. Paul in 1958.
 As General Counsel for the St. Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority, and later as Assistant City Attorney for the city of St. Paul, Jim was proud of his career. As a young attorney, he clerked for Judge Dennis F. Donovan, U.S. District Court, and spent a few years in private law practice before he retired and moved from his home in Woodbury to Ely. During his long career, he loved to spend his free time relaxing and gardening in his yard. We all enjoyed the fruits of his labors. His yard was gorgeous.
 After moving to Ely, he made many dear friends and was very involved in social and civic activities in Ely and Eagles Nest Township. He loved gathering with family and friends for holidays and special events. Fourth of July at the Piney Woods and Christmas in St. Paul were cherished Hart family traditions.
 As a veteran of the Korean War, Jim served in the U.S. Army from 1951-1953. He was stationed in Boston, Mass., for counter-intelligence training, and later in Japan for the remainder of his tour of duty.
Jim married his college sweetheart, Mary Ellen Stember, on Aug. 21, 1954, at the old Catholic Church in Ely. They had ten children. Jim was married to Francis Leigh McMullen on May 1, 1994.
 Jim is survived by his children, Jim (Cheryl), Lindsay (Joe) Smith, Leslie (Greg) Brzezinski, Tom (Chanthy), Elizabeth, Rob, Mary (Percy) Gutierrez, John, Dan (Dolores) and Maggie (Tom) Crichton; sister, Patte Peterson; grandchildren, Matt, Rebecca, Nathan, Molly, Scott, Sara, Paul, Gabe, Tony, Jeff, Luke, Brian, Helaina, Kelsey, Andy, Adam, Daniel, Lanie, Rea, Allie, Lily, Jake, Nick and Sam; and great-grandchildren, Addilyn, Henry, Jude, Kaylee, Addy, Elle, Madeline, Drew, Abigail, Ava, Laicey, Madden, Willow, Jayden, Cameron, Quentin, Leo and Pearl; and many nieces and nephews.
 He was preceded in death by his first wife, Mary Ellen in 1992; second wife, Leigh in 2008; sisters, Rosemary in 1963 and Jeanne in 2011; brother, Bert in 2005; parents, Albert S. Hart in 1936 and Nora Moran Hart in 1966; and great-grandson, Orion in 2016.

Charles N. Young
With profound sadness, we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend - Charles Nels “Charlie” Young (aka “Chuck” and “Papa”). After collapsing at the St. Thomas softball field on Saturday, March 20, 2021, Charlie later died at Regions Hospital in St. Paul after multiple heart attacks. 71 years was not enough.
Services will be held on Friday, March 26 at Cremation Society of Minnesota in West Duluth. Visitation begins at 2 p.m. with the service at 3 p.m. and refreshments following. Please wear masks.
Sincerest gratitude is extended to all those involved at St. Thomas, the St. Paul responders, and the staff at Regions Hospital Emergency Room. Heartfelt thanks go to all our friends and family members for the outpouring of love and support during this difficult time. How sad we are now, but how lucky we were.
It had been a wonderful week that brought Charlie so much joy. He watched his grandson, Jack, play two hockey games which his son, Joe, coached. He received a big running hug and smooch from his granddaughter, Valerie, before one of the games. He road tripped with his wife, Sarah, on roads they had not yet traveled in their many years together. He visited with his daughter, Krista, while he watched his granddaughter, Gianna, start in and win the St. Thomas home opener on a beautiful spring day. He died full of pride and love for his family. 
Charlie was born to Carl “Nick” and Ruby (Swenson) Young on Oct. 22, 1949, in Duluth. Charlie grew up in Cotton with his parents and siblings on their family farm. He attended Cotton High School and always bragged about being Class President and ranked in the top 10 (out of 12 students), and he later went on to become the Mayor of 8th Street for 40-plus years.
 After high school, Charlie honorably served as a military police officer in the U.S. Army from 1968-70. He was a proud member of Laborers Local 1091 where he worked most of his life. He was also a member of American Legion Post 0071 for 38 years.
 Charlie and Sarah Sundeen were married on April 29, 1978, in Soudan. Together they raised Krista and Joseph in West Duluth and still resided in that same home. He lived the past 10 years in retired bliss with his soulmate and best friend of 43 years, Sarah, “my love”, as he said. They enjoyed many matinee movies, dinner dates, traveling, and spoiling their grandchildren every chance they got.
 He is survived by his wife, Sarah; daughter, Krista Smith of Eagan; son, Joseph (Samantha) Young of Duluth; granddaughters, Gianna Torres and Valerie Young; grandson, Jackson Young; sister, Loretta (Edwin) Bodey of Plymouth and their son Jason Bodey and family; along with countless other family members and friends.
 He was preceded in death by his parents, Nick and Ruby; brother, David; in-laws, Gerald and Lila Sundeen; brother-in-law, Roger Berglund; and sister-in-law, Faye Sundeen.

Gene L. Avikainen
Gene Lawrence Avikainen, 74, of Shakopee, formerly of Pike-Sandy, passed away at his home on Sunday, March 14, 2021. Interment will be at Fort Snelling at a later date.
He is survived by his wife, Sharon; sons, Darryn (Dana), Adam (Midori) and Grant (Crissy); daughter, Christine (Ross); eight grandchildren; siblings, Gary (Bonita) Avikainen of Pike-Sandy, Glen (Debra) Avikainen of Mt. Iron and Gail (Ted) Esala of Vermilion Lake Township.; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Michael A. Biondi
Michael Anthony Biondi, 69, of Chisholm, loving son, brother, uncle, cousin and friend left to be reunited with the rest of “la famiglia” on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. The family wishes to express their sincere appreciation for the staff of Aspen Grove and Fairview Range Hospice for their care and support throughout the past few years. A private family ceremony was held on Wednesday, March 24 at Rupp Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Chisholm. A graveside service will be held in June with a celebration later this summer.
He is survived by his brothers, Joe (Marilyn) Biondi of Warroad and Jeff (Carol) Biondi of Orr; many cousins, nieces and nephews; and special buddies, Terry, Rick, Mark and Unch.

Marjorie K. Ojala
Marjorie Katherine Preblich Nelson Ojala, 93, of Ely, passed away on Friday, March 12, 2021, at the Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely. The family wishes to thank all staff over the years for the wonderful care given to Marjorie during her time at BWCC. She truly enjoyed the activities. Interment will be at the Ely Cemetery at a later date. Arrangements are with Landmark Funeral Home in Virginia.
She is survived by her sisters, Florie (Donald) Maroney and Rosie (Gale) Maroney; grandson, Garry Nelson; granddaughter, Cherish Jarvi; great-granddaughters, Haven and Braelynn Chavers; and many nieces and nephews.

Earl A. Johnson
Earl A. Johnson, of Ely, left us on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.
He is survived by his sons, Scott (Jennifer) and Todd (Rhonda); grandchildren, Nikki, Josh, Brady and Drew; great-grandson, Weston; siblings, Jay Johnson, Brian Johnson, Cheryl Johnson and Marilyn Plunkett; and several dear friends.

Valerie K. Ohotto
Valerie Kay Martinson Ohotto, 60, of Cook, peacefully passed away on Friday, March 19, 2021, with her loving family by her side. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 26 at the First Baptist Church in Cook. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the church. Arrangements are with Mlaker Funeral Home in Cook.
She is survived by her loving husband of 41 years, Jerry Ohotto; daughter, Rachel (David) Fultz; son, Travis Ohotto; grandchildren, Samantha, Olivia and Isaac Fultz; sisters, Kathleen Sarazine and Coralee (Greg) Mihm; sisters-in-law, Donna (Walter) Snyder and Bonnie Martinson; brothers-in-law, Jim Ohotto and Butch Strand; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Gladys M. Molick
Gladys M. Molick, 91, of Britt, died on Friday, March 19, 2021, at Cornerstone Villa in Buhl. Arrangements are pending with Rupp Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Chisholm.