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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Obituaries: Nov. 8, 2019


Jerry P. Diwishek
Jerry Peter Diwishek, 84, of Ely Lake, entered his heavenly home on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, at his home. A gathering of family and friends will be held from 4-6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8 at Mlaker Funeral Home in Cook. A short memorial service will commence at 4 p.m., followed by fellowship and light refreshments.
Jerry was born to John and Nadia (Trofimluke) Diwishek on Jan. 2, 1935, in Zdolbunow, Poland. In 1939, after the invasion of Poland, Jerry’s family was forced to move to Germany where the family lived in camps for two years before moving to Nieder Saxon, Germany, where his father was able to resume his occupation as a master baker in Hann Munden. This allowed the family to move from the camp to an apartment. As a boy, Jerry would hire out to pick crops in exchange for food. After WWII, and with the help of his uncle, the family emigrated to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada, in October 1948. For the second time, once in Germany and now again in Canada, Jerry had to learn another language, this time the English language. Jerry excelled in school and also found that he excelled in school sports - soccer, hockey, volleyball and basketball. Jerry also enjoyed singing. He and his sisters often sang in a trio at church and in the school choir. The trio were also guest singers for “The Sunshine Hour”, which aired on CKBJ radio in Prince Albert.
In 1950, Jerry’s family moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where Jerry finished high school. During this time, Jerry joined the Grant Memorial Baptist Church in Winnipeg, where he became the “song leader” for the Youth Night Service. The pastor suggested that Jerry join a mission project called “God’s Invasion Army” where Jerry traveled throughout Canada and the U.S. to serve many different churches for a year. During this time, he met Ardythe Nukala who was also a member of the mission group, and who would become his future wife; they were united in marriage on July 23, 1960, at the First Baptist Church in Cook.
Jerry and Ardythe lived in Minneapolis for a time and then moved back to Virginia, where their first child was born. After a severe snowstorm, the couple decided to move to San Diego, Calif., where they lived for 15 years and were blessed with three more children. The couple then decided it was time to move home to Minnesota. Jerry began a job with DW&P Railway and purchased some land in Britt, where Jerry and Ardythe built their home, pouring their hearts and plenty of back-breaking work into the project. This home was Jerry’s pride and joy, as it was built with his own hands from the ground up. The family lived in their home for the next 30 years, building many memories while raising their children. After the Department of Transportation decided to run a four-lane highway through Britt, the couple were forced to move from their beloved home, and it was demolished soon thereafter. It was a tremendous disappointment, but in Jerry’s own words “…when one door closes another opens. God gave us our next home on Ely Lake.” It was the same home where he and Ardythe lived until their passings, first Ardythe and then Jerry.
Jerry’s “one desire as a boy was to see the world.” He and Ardythe did just that, traveling to almost every province in Canada and almost every state in the U.S. They also traveled to England, Scotland, France, Germany and Vienna, Austria. Jerry also had “a love affair with cars”, starting from the first car he owned, a Mercury, that he purchased in 1948 in Canada. Throughout his life, and even as a young boy struggling during WWII in Poland and then in Germany, Jerry’s faith never wavered. He noted in a family book that experiences come with joy and disappointments, “yet in all these I experienced the loving, guiding hand of my Heavenly Father. There was never a time when I felt helpless and all alone.”
Jerry is survived by his four children, Valerie Diwishek of Eveleth, Michelle Gribbon of Duluth, John Diwishek of Sauk Rapids and Tim Diwishek of Virginia; sisters, Helene Pettypiece of Canada and Irene (Ernie) Friesen of California; sister-in-law, Doreen (Arlee) Olson of Cook; and four grandchildren, Casey Diwishek, Alia Gribbon, Chloe Diwishek and Ellie Diwishek.
He was preceded in death by his parents; beloved wife, Ardythe Diwishek; and infant sister, Nina Diwishek.

Jeanette Mattson
Jeanette Sipola Mattson, 90, of Virginia, formerly of Embarrass and Ely, died on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, at the Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely. Funeral services will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8 at Range Funeral Home in Virginia with Rev. Terry Hartikka officiating. Visitation will be from 12:30 p.m. until the service at the funeral home. A luncheon will be provided after the service at Virginia United Methodist Church. Burial will be at a later date in Argo Cemetery. Arrangements are with Range Funeral Home in Virginia.
Survivors include six children, Roberta (John) Templeton of Wrens, Ga., Frances (Charles) Roux of Buffalo, Lyle (Cheryl) Mattson of Britt, Marian (Amr) Azzabi of Eveleth, Terry Mattson and Robert (Mary) Mattson, both of Ely; 10 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; brother, James Sipola of Virginia; sisters, Miriam Gornick of Soudan, Margie Skube of Duluth and Doris Sipola of Roseville; and numerous nieces and nephews.


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