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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Obituaries: November 11, 2022


LeRoy C. Holmes
LeRoy Cecil Holmes, 88, of Soudan, died on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, at the Cardigan Ridge Senior Living in Little Canada. A memorial celebration of life service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Tower. Pastor Liz Cheney will officiate. Lunch will be provided after the service. A graveside service with full military honors will be held in Lakeview Cemetery in Tower sometime in the summer of 2023.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Alzheimer’s Association are preferred,\donate. Family services are provided by Range Funeral Home of Virginia.
LeRoy was born on June 18, 1934, in Embarrass, the son of Oscar and Ida Sundeen. He grew up and attended school in Tower-Soudan, graduating from high school in 1952. He then worked as an apprentice electrician with Oliver Mining company for a year, and proceeded into the Air Force in May 1953; he was honorably discharged as a sergeant in April 1961. From there he went to pre-seminary study at both Gustavus and Augsburg, then attended Northwestern- Luther from 1961-1964. He was ordained at Gustavus Adolphus on June 6, 1964. Churches served in ministry were Embarrass-Pike Lutheran, Gethsemane Lutheran in Virginia, Mount Carmel in St. Paul and Trinity Parish in North Dakota, from 1964 to 1996. In addition, he served multiple congregations as interim from 1996-2010.
His interests included fishing, woodworking, hunting, camping; he was an active member of the Tower-Soudan Historical Society in retirement.
Leroy is survived by his daughters, Dori Holmes Skramsted (David), Karleen Wildes and Lisa Ledman (David); grandchildren, Jason Eggers (Lindsey), Joshua Eggers, Kristi Ledman, Justin Ledman, Alec Wildes and Matthew Wildes (Maggie); and five great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and wife, Katheen Dorian (Tuominen) Holmes.

Calvin D. Jokela
Calvin Donald Jokela, 74, of Babbitt, passed away on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, at the Ely Bloomenson Community Hospital. Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.

Helen C. Miller
Helen C. Miller, 102, of Babbitt, passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, at Carefree Living in Babbitt. Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.

William F. Freeman
William F. “Bill” Freeman, 77, died on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, while in hospice care at the home of his son Steven Freeman in Lindstrom. A celebration of life will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10 at the Chisago Lakes Township Hall in Lindstrom. All who knew Bill are welcome. He will be remembered fondly for his wit, his singing voice, his love of northern Minnesota, and his ability to give everyone and everything a clever and affectionate nickname. Condolences and inquiries may be sent to Steve Freeman, 31661 Mildred Ave., Lindstrom, MN 55045 or
Bill was the only child of Theodore “Ted” Freeman of Whitesville, N.Y., and Marjorie “Peggy” Freeman of St. Paul, who met and were married while both served in the U.S. Coast Guard/SPARs during World War II. He was born on Oct. 6, 1945, in St. Paul where his family lived until moving to Chisago City in 1956. At Chisago City High School, Bill was active in choir, band and athletics, competing in shot put, as a heavyweight wrestler, and playing center on the football team. 
 After graduation, Bill married Leilani Dahl at Zion Lutheran Church in Chisago City in October 1963. They lived in St. Cloud, where Bill attended St. Cloud State College for one year before returning to Chisago City. Bill and Leilani had two children, daughter Susan and son Steven. In 1965, Bill began employment with the Toni Company, which later became the Gillette Company, in St. Paul. Bill and the family moved to Lindstrom in 1967. 
Bill sang for 20 years in the Trinity Lutheran Church Senior Choir. He was a charter member and volunteer with the community’s first ambulance service, the Chisago Lakes Rescue Squad. He played an active role in the Chisago Lakes Jaycees and in the area’s first youth hockey association. Bill coached youth hockey, and for several years entertained youngsters as the community’s Santa Claus at Christmas. A natural-born performer, Bill shared his talent as an actor and singer with the Masquers Theatre Company in Forest Lake during the 1980s. In 1987, he played the leading role of the sheriff in Chimera Theatre Company’s production of “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” in downtown St. Paul.
Bill and Leilani were divorced in 1991 but remained friends as they shared the lives of their children and grandchildren. After retiring from the Gillette Company in 1996, Bill moved to Ash Lake near Orr. In Orr, Bill attended Calvary Lutheran Church where he joined the choir and sang many solos.
In 2004, Bill met his partner, Patricia Hoover, and with her participated in numerous community activities, especially at the Orr School where Pat was a teacher. He worked on fundraising events, built sets for school plays, created decorations for school proms, and helped Pat chaperone proms and dances. An avid school sports fan, he could be found in the stands enthusiastically cheering on the Orr Braves and North Woods Grizzlies football and volleyball teams.
Every deer hunting season found Bill in Babbitt, with his cousin Ron Rykken and friends Kevin, Rick and Tony, whose wives and children also became family and were dear to his heart. In his later retirement years, Bill spent summers in Orr and winters with his devoted partner Patricia at her home in Green Valley, Ariz. 
Bill is survived by his special friend, Patricia Hoover; son, Steven (Tammy) Freeman of Lindstrom; daughter, Susan Freeman of Center City; grandchildren, Anthony, Devan (Alyssa Wickenhauser), Teran Freeman and Tristin (Cole) Hemme, all of Lindstrom, Connor (Marly) Freeman of Wyoming, Samantha Duncan and Nick Duncan of Center City, and Rheanna Duncan of Brooklyn, N.Y.; great-grandchildren, Alexander Buys of Center City, Tucker and Tanner Hemme of Lindstrom, Leia, Ella and Lois Freeman of Wyoming; and many cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Ted and Peggy Freeman; and cousins, Fred Vette and Mayleann “Toots” Rykken.

Melvin D. Amundson
Melvin “Mel” Daniel Amundson, 79, of Babbitt, went to his heavenly home on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, at the Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely, surrounded by family. Family services provided by Bauman-Vermilion, a Bauman Family Funeral Home in Tower.
He is survived by his wife, Sonja Lindland Amundson; daughters, Shelly Monteith and Hollie (Beau) Mason; son, Willie Canisalez; six grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; sisters, Carol (Bill) McKinney and Lorie (Benny) Rivera; brother-in-law, Jim Lindland; sisters-in-law, Kelly (Jack) Lopac, Donna (Mark) Blanchfield and Diane (Troy) Wood; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Phyllis M. Boshey
Phyllis Mae Strong Boshey, May-may-skoo-waa-beck (Yellow Butterfly), 85, Bois Forte Tribal Member, passed away on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, peaceably at her home on the Lake Vermilion Reservation. A Traditional Wake was held on Monday, Nov. 7 and a Traditional Service was held on Tuesday, Nov. 8, both at the Vermilion Wellness Center.
Phyllis was born on April 7, 1937, on the Nett Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota to Mary (Boness) Chicag and Albert Strong. She was dearly loved by so many in her community at the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa for her leadership as a Tribal Council Member, family member and friend as everyone’s Grandma and Auntie. One word can describe her, generosity. She was generous with her time, resources and love. Everyone has a story of how she helped them.
In her youth, she lived with her grandparents, Rosie Beargrease Strong (descendent of famous dogsledder John Beargrease) and George John Strong at historical Strongville in the Nett Lake Village; she was the longest living of former Strongville residents. In her 19 years as District II Lake Vermilion Bois Forte Tribal Council Representative, Phyllis was instrumental in Vermilion’s first Tribal government office and first medical clinic, the development of Fortune Bay Resort Casino, the Wilderness Golf Course, and conceived the idea of the Bois Forte Heritage Center and Museum to come to life, and for her service on the Bois Forte Housing Authority Board.
Her early work history included flagging for road construction and skillfully loading taconite pellets into train cars at Minntac. She enjoyed carrying on cultural traditions such as jingle-dress dancing at powwows, beadwork, berry picking, wild ricing, netting, and gardening. She really enjoyed living near the water on the lakeshore and being on the water. Phyllis was a lifelong learner and loved her studies of maps and reading literature on the Ojibwe peoples’ history and culture to enhance her knowledge of and advocacy for treaty rights.
Phyllis is survived by her brother, Rodney Strong; daughters, Denise Pieratos and Carrie Strong, both of Lake Vermilion and Cheryl Milbridge of Roseau; seven grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; and 33 nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by husband, Robert Boshey; sisters, Mary Strong and Sara Kochie; brothers, Gerald Chicag Sr., Faron Chicag, Kenneth Strong Sr. and Gaynard Strong; and nephew, Carl Dagen.

Robert Akemann
Robert “Bob” Akemann, 72, of Babbitt, a proud U.S. veteran, passed away on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.

Douglas Johnson
Senator Douglas Johnson “Doug” “Dougie”, age 80 of Tower, passed away peacefully on Nov. 7, 2022. Per Doug’s wishes, private family services are being held. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the charity of your choice in Doug’s name. Online condolences to
Doug lived his life helping others, serving in the Minnesota legislature for 32 years. He had a love for the Iron Range and his family. He will be deeply missed. 
He was preceded in death by his parents, Oscar and Irene; and brother, Robert. Doug is survived by wife, Denesse Johnson; children, Nicole Nelson and Alan Hoole; grandchildren, Brady (Andrew) Hernandez, Jenna Hoole and Barrett Walker; great grandson, Benjamin; sister-in-law, Judy; dear cousin Charlotte and her family; other loving relatives; and numerous friends.