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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Obituaries: Nov. 29, 2019


Alice O. Holkko
Alice Olga Holkko, 97, passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, at Essentia Health Virginia Care Center. Funeral services were held on Tuesday, Nov. 26 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Virginia with Pastor Erik Roth officiating. Donations are preferred to the VCC Activities Department. A special thanks to all the VCC staff and caregivers, especially to the activities staff and nurses’ aides who were special to Alice. Arrangements were with Range Funeral Home in Virginia.
Alice was born on Feb. 4, 1922, in Vermilion Lake Township, to Peter and Mary (Forsnappa) Hujanen. She graduated from Embarrass High School in 1940. On Aug. 4, 1945, she was united in marriage to William E. Holkko in Virginia. Alice worked various jobs, including Ketola’s Department Store, cook/waitress at Holkko’s Café and Confectionary, K&H Self Service Laundromat, office worker at the License Bureau, and Assistant Postmaster at the Britt Post Office, part-time, for 22 years.
Alice enjoyed bingo at the Elks Club and Fortune Bay. She cared for her grandchildren often and would drive for her friends whenever they needed assistance.
Alice was a member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, a past Moose Club Member, a Virginia Senior Citizens Member, and a life member of the Virginia Historical Society.
Saunas were every Wednesday and Saturday night at Grandma Holkko’s. Everyone was always welcome; coffee and goodies were always served.
Alice is survived by her daughters, Connie (Jack) LiaBraaten of Hermantown, Carol (Dale) Mell of Alborn and Sharon (Butch) Panula of Britt; sons, Gordon Holkko, Gerry (Debi) Holkko, Scott (Becky) Holkko and Kenneth (Maggie) Holkko, all of Britt; 14 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren with one on the way; numerous nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, William in 1994; son, Keith Alan in 1966; five sisters; ten brothers; and daughter-in-law, “Happy” (Carolyn) in 2018.

Linda S. Rankila
Linda S. Rankila, 99, of Tower, formerly of Embarrass and Virginia, passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, at Vermilion Senior Living in Tower. Per Linda’s request, there will be no formal services. Burial will be at Greenwood Cemetery in Virginia. The family would like to thank East Range Hospice and the staff at Vermilion Senior Living in Tower for the wonderful care that was given to their aunt. Arrangements are with Landmark Funeral Home in Virginia.
Linda was born on Aug. 14, 1920, in Virginia, to Anselm and Ilna Elizabeth (Haikio) Huhta. She left school to help the family and later received her GED at age 50. She worked as a nursing assistant at the Virginia Regional Hospital.
Linda, always known as “Auntie Dada”, never forgot a birthday of her nieces and nephews. She loved her sauna, knitting, baking, making quilts, family gatherings, picking berries at age 90, and going on a girls-only outing to Arizona with her nieces at age 80.
Linda had “sisu”. Some people live long and live well and sad is the day we have to say goodbye. Nakemiin, Auntie Dada.
Survivors include nieces and nephews, Sarah (Charles) Young of Duluth, Faye Sundeen of Sun City West, Ariz., Amy Berglund of Lake Vermilion-Soudan, Lori (Tim) Tomsich of Soudan, Thomas (Jayne) Sundeen of Soudan and Linda “Mindy” Sandstrom of Virginia; several great-nieces, great-nephews, great-great-nieces and great-great-nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Reuben Rankila; two brothers, Reino and Arvo Huhta; sister, Lila Sundeen; Reuben’s family; and many friends.

Gayle D. Lilya
Gayle D. Lilya, 82, of Virginia, formerly of Tower, died peacefully on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, at Essentia Health St. Mary’s in Duluth with family at her side. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. memorial service on Saturday, Dec. 7 at St. James Presbyterian Church in Tower. Pastor Doug Workman will officiate. Inurnment will be at a later date in Lakeview Cemetery in Tower. Memorials are preferred to the donor’s choice. Family services are provided by Bauman-Vermilion, a Bauman Family Funeral Home in Tower.
Gayle was born on Sept. 6, 1937, in Tower, the daughter of Roy and Irene (Mickelson) Sjoberg. She was a graduate of Tower-Soudan High School. Gayle was united in marriage to William J. Lilya on June 2, 1962, at St. Martin’s Catholic Church in Tower.
Gayle worked as a homemaker. She also worked at the Tower Dress Shop and at Fingerhut. She was a member of St. James Presbyterian Church. Gayle enjoyed spending time with her family and always had a tasty home-cooked meal waiting for them. She also enjoyed spending time at their cabin on Lake Vermilion.
Gayle is survived by her husband, Bill; sons, Scott (Amy) Lilya of Chaska and Michael (Stacy) Lilya of Blaine; sister, Joy Raudio of Mound; grandchildren, Molly, Andrea, Joseph, Lindsay and Landon Lilya; and numerous extended family and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Roy and Terry; and special friends, Sandy Moraski and Mary Kilpila.

Jean Schottmuller
Jean Stettner Schottmuller, 77, of Virginia, died on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, at home. Visitation will be from 12 noon until the 1 p.m. memorial service on Saturday, Nov. 30 at the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Midway. Pastor Jerry Deppa will officiate. Family services are provided by Bauman-Cron, a Bauman Family Funeral Home in Virginia.
She is survived by her children, Wade (Jena) Schottmuller of Eveleth, Wendy (Bruce) Sweney of Embarrass, Wannette (Jay) Miller of Gilbert, Dana (Daryl) Banttari of Burnsville and Dawn (David) Crandall of Britt; siblings, Shirley Jackson, Mary Jo Holzschuh, Joseph Karp II, Elizabeth (Robert) Hill and Anthony Karp; 16 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and numerous extended family members and friends.

Mary Ann Pulis
Mary Ann Gotchnik Pulis, 92, of Ely, passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, at the Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely. A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Monday, Nov. 25 at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Ely with Father Dennis Hoffman officiating. Burial was in the Ely Cemetery. Memorials are preferred to St. Anthony’s for the parish musical liturgy. Family arrangements were entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.
She is survived by her son, Terrance (Betty) Pulis of Mt. Iron; daughters, Vanessa (Leon) Schanlaub of Eveleth and Justine (Dennis Burns) Carlson of Ely; grandchildren, Michelle (Jim) Sereno of Virginia, Dan (Tempy) Pulis of Oak Grove, Ky., Steph (Tim) Kniefel of Bemidji, Emilie Pulis (Amanda Lippincott) of Hibbing, Bryan Schanlaub of Santa Rosa, Calif., Kimberly (Chris) Mosher of Virginia, Garrett Carlson (Melissa Portinen) of Elk River and Marissa Carlson (Jeff Gapp) of Milbank, S.D.; nine great-grandchildren; three step-great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandson; and sisters-in-law, Margaret Pulis Anderson and Mary Ellen Gotchnik.
Impie M. Luukkonen
Impie Marie Maki Luukkonen, 94, of Britt, passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, at Essentia Health St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth surrounded by her family. Funeral services were held on Saturday, Nov. 23 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Virginia with Judy Peliska officiating. Burial will be in the Sand Lake Chapel Cemetery in Britt at a later date. Arrangements are with Landmark Funeral Home in Virginia.
Survivors include four children, Diane (Jim) Miller of McGregor, Albert Luukkonen of Britt, Darlene Lossing of Cook and Cynthia Bozicevich of Britt; numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren; sister, Esther Heinonen of Britt; son-in-law, Dennis Wessman of Tower; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Lawrence D. Irving
Lawrence Dale Irving, 75, of Ely, died unexpectedly in his home on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019. A memorial service was held on Monday, Nov. 25 at Kerntz Funeral Home in Ely.
He is survived by his sons, Lawrence ‘Chic’ Irving of Ely and Lawrence ‘Bouncer’ Irving; daughters, Frances ‘Nikki’ Irving of Nett Lake and Winona ‘Baby Girl’ Smith of Isle; sister, Josette Irving of Ft. Thompson, S.D.; and brother, Randy Shields of Ft. Thompson, S.D.

Jeanette M. Altobell
Jeanette Marie “Mickey” Masucci Altobell, 88, of Eveleth, died on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, at Waterview Woods in Eveleth. A celebration of life and service of remembrance were held on Sunday, Nov. 24 at Cron-Sheehy Funeral Home in Eveleth with Deacon Mark Skala as the officiant. Burial was in the Eveleth Cemetery.
She is survived by her children, Bonnie Altobell and John (Linda) Altobell, both of Eveleth, Terri (Scott) Jarvi of Hutchinson, Kathy (Joe) Celley of Cook and Cory (Katie) Altobell of Virginia; four grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandson; siblings, Joan Masucci, Mary Margaret Little, Patsy (Cyril) Beaudette, Christine Lang, Peter Masucci and Polly Hall; and numerous nieces and nephews.


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