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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Obituaries: October 21, 2022


Carol M. Alstrom
Carol Marie Alstrom, 74, of Cokato, formerly of Tower, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022, at Cokato Manor. Carol will be missed by many, especially her former students and athletes with whom she kept in contact over the years. There will be a celebration of life in the spring of 2023 in the Tower area.
Carol was firstborn to Phillip and June Alstrom, on All Saints Day, Nov. 1, 1947, in Duluth. She was baptized and confirmed in her faith at Zion Lutheran Church. She attended school in International Falls, graduating in 1966. Carol was active in GAA (Girls Athletic Association), marching band, and had the wickedest slap shot at the 8th Street rink.
She continued her education by attending Bemidji State College where she got her teaching degree in physical education and health. While in college, she participated in field hockey, volleyball, softball and track. Carol was later inducted into the Bemidji State University Athletic Hall of Fame for excellence in athletics.  
Carol started her teaching and coaching career at Tower-Sudan in 1970 and retired from Tower-Sudan in 2004. While teaching physical education and health, Carol started several girls athletic teams, including volleyball, basketball, swimming and track. She was passionate about keeping her students active and would earnestly pursue equipment so her students could try different activities, like rollerblades, unicycles and cross-country skis. Carol volunteered for various races and high school state tournaments. She was an excellent teacher and coach, getting the best out of her students and athletes.
In 2007, Carol moved in with her sister, Susan; they lived on a small lake near Litchfield. She was an avid Minnesota Vikings fan, dressing in purple and gold from head to toe each and every game. Carol loved the Minnesota Gophers and reality TV shows as well.
Carol is survived by her brother, Dan (Barbara) of Glencoe; sister, Susan of Litchfield; cousins, Patty Ann (Andy) of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, Billy VanDyke (Carol) of Alexandria and Debbie (Geoffrey) of Osseo, Wis.; cats, Winnie and Shyloh; and nephew dog, Oliver.

Carolyn F. Donald, Ozhaawash-koozibinisiik
Carolyn Faye Donald, Ozhaawashkoozibinisiik, 60, of the Bois Forte Vermilion Reservation, passed away on Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. Those who knew Carolyn also know that she valued her privacy and space. She will be greatly missed by many. Her final wishes were to not have a public funeral service; however, the family had a celebration of life at the Bois Forte Vermilion Social Center on Sunday, Oct. 16.
Carolyn was born on June 11, 1962, in Cook. She graduated from Tower-Soudan High School in 1980. After high school, she moved around the state and attended college at BSU and worked various places throughout the Iron Range, Twin Cities and Bemidji. Some of her favorite jobs were at the IDS Building in Minneapolis and Bemidji State University, where she took an early retirement for health concerns. She relocated back to the Vermilion Reservation where she lived out the rest of her days.
Those who knew Carolyn know that she loved singing, playing her guitar, listening to music, watching Tom Brady play football, going to concerts, being the family photographer, playing Scrabble, traveling, gardening, canning, hunting, fishing, parching rice, gathering berries and other medicines, cooking, and contributing to various community engagements. But the thing she loved the most was her family, especially her nieces and nephews, whom she often cared for like they were her own children.
Carolyn will be missed by her father, Gary Donald; sisters, Gayle (Jim) Littlewolf and Leigh Donald; nieces and nephews, Wenona Kingbird, Jamie (BJ) Copenace, Andrea (Hershel) Gorham, Joanna (Tonya) Boyer-Knaak, Jessa (Ase) Boyer-Proulx, Emma (Levi) Brown and Gary Proudchief; numerous uncles, aunties, great-nieces and great-nephews; an abundance of close friends; and dog, Trigger.
She was preceded in death by her mother, Joanne Donald; sister, Coleen Jennings; nephew, Don Kingbird; and faithful cat, Freedom.

Allan L. Ehrich
Allan Lee Ehrich, 73, of Tower, died on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, with his wife by his side, following a courageous four-year battle with cancer. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 24 at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Aurora with Fr. Kristoffer McKusky officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. Inurnment will be in the Forest Hill Cemetery Columbarium in Aurora. The family would like to thank the staff at East Range Hospice and Essentia Health-Northern Pines for the loving care Al received. Arrangements are with Ziemer-Moeglein-Shatava Funeral Home in Aurora.  
Allan was born on Aug. 14, 1949, to William and Agnes (Weideman) Ehrich in Redfield, S.D.  While attending high school in Redfield, Al worked with his aunt and uncle on their family farm. He and a friend bought a baler and started a custom baling business. During his young adult years, he was also a truck driver. He moved to the Iron Range and began working at LTV Steel where he stayed until his retirement.
Al was united in marriage to Debbie Goette on July 26, 1991. He was an active member of the Hoyt Lake JC’s and the Tower Snowmobile Club. Al enjoyed farming, traveling, wintering in Florida for several winters, dancing, hunting, fishing and snowmobiling. Not only will he be remembered for his generosity and love for his family and friends, but also for his undying love for his John Deere tractors.
Survivors include his wife of 31 years, Debbie and her children, Sarah (Rusty) FitzGerald of Duluth and Emily (Tony) House of Hoyt Lakes; two daughters, Nicole Ehrich of Duluth and Brandi (Kenneth) Hascall of Wright; seventeen grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; three sisters, Connie Stewart of Abilene, Kan., Bonnie Boyd of Orient, S.D., and Sandy (Perry) Schmidt of Redfield, S.D.; daughter-in-law, Haley Ehrich of Cotton; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his son, Nathan Ehrich; two brothers, Larry and Jim Ehrich; two brothers-in-law; and his parents.

Brian H. Murphy
Brian H. Murphy, 75, passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Lake Vermillion Cultural Center in his honor. This act of kindness will help to fund the restoration of the church he cared so much about. Mail to: Brian Murphy Memorial Fund, Lake Vermillion Cultural Center, PO Box 659, Tower, MN 55790.
Brian was born in Virginia in 1947 to Daniel J. Murphy and Ruth E. Murphy. He was a proud man in the construction industry. He dedicated 35 years of his life working with the fine men and women of Sundt Construction. Brian made regular donations to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, a church that was near and dear to him.
Brian is survived by his brother, wife, son, three daughters, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  

Marjorie J. Jackson
Marjorie “Mardy” Jean Reinertsen Jackson, The Loon Lady, 94, formerly of Lake Vermilion, left us quietly at home listening to sounds of the loons and the Northwoods, on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022. A celebration of life will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 23 at Washburn-McReavy Edina Chapel with visitation one hour prior. Interment will be at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 24 at Acacia Park Cemetery in St. Paul. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the International Wolf Center in Ely or the Animal Humane Society. Arrangements are with Washburn-McReavy Edina Chapel.
Who was she? A mom, a beauty, a traveler, a reader, an adventurer, a listener, a humorist, a cook, a perfectionist, a writer, a nature lover. She was filled with loyalty, integrity, class, and above all, love.
Mardy is survived by her favorite daughters, Leah (Brian) Woolsey, Kimberly (George) Miller and Debora (Tom) Bliss; seven grandchildren, Brian (Deb) Woolsey, Ben (Jennifer) Woolsey, Molly (Brent) Faul, Kelly (Chris) Blumberg, Alana (Joseph) Bliss, Kevin Bliss and Dustin (Betsy) Bliss; nine great-grandchildren; and wonderful sisters, Mary Erickson and Virginia Abrahamson.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Byrd Belle and Edgar William Reinertsen; brother, Robert Reinertsen; sister, Dorothy Doescher; and former husband, Robert Jackson.

Earl E. Hill 
Earl E. Hill, 83, passed away on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, at a care facility in Oregon City, Ore. A military service of burial was held on Monday, Sept. 26 at the Veterans Cemetery in Happy Valley, Ore.
Earl was born on Sept. 21, 1938, in Vermilion Lake Township. In his early years he lived in Virginia, moving back to the Tower area as a teenager, with his parents. He graduated from Embarrass High School. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he moved to Milwaukee, Wis., to work for General Electric as a technician in the x-ray division while attending the Milwaukee School of Engineering and subsequently Marquette University, pursuing an electrical engineering degree. He moved into sales, selling x-ray machines and equipment in the Portland, Ore., area. He left GE to start his own business selling and servicing x-ray equipment. 
While business provided a good living, Earl’s real passion was woodworking. Throughout his life he built beautiful furniture, cabinets, a sailboat, and a post and beam structure for a cabin on Lake Vermilion. All of his expertise was self-taught. 
Earl is survived by his daughter, Kelly (George) Heiney of Milwaukie, Ore.; son, Jeffrey of Battle Ground, Wash.; granddaughter, Lacey Hill of San Diego, Calif.; brother, Jack of Minnetonka; one niece and two nephews. 
He was preceded in death by his wife, Betty Kyllonen Hill; parents, Ernest and Madie Hill; and sister, Phyllis Hill Johnson. 

Lillian I. Angelo
Lillian “Lil” Irene Linnea Niemi Angelo, 100, originally of Embarrass, entered Heaven on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022. Many thanks to Edgewood Vista in Virginia and the HealthPartners Hospice team, especially Kim, Nikki, Sharon, Brenton and Pastor Phyllis, who assisted in continuing her quality of life. She will be cremated and join her husband at Calvary Cemetery in Virginia. Memorials are preferred to a local food shelf or Second Harvest.
She is survived by her daughters, Patricia Blake and Barbara Angelo; sons-in-law, Ronald Blake and Butch Blawd; grandchildren, Christine Granlund, Paul (Amy) Grigal, Steve (Christy) Boho and Megan Grigal; great-grandsons, Ryan, Kyle, Kazimer, Nico and Gabe; great- granddaughter, Kelsey; great-great-granddaughter, Maya; sister-in-law, Joyce Niemi; and many nieces, nephews and friends.

Joan L. Gustafson
Joan Lee Anderson Gustafson, 89, of Virginia and formerly of Lake Vermilion, passed away peacefully at Carefree Living of Virginia on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, surrounded by her loving family. A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22 at Range Funeral Home in Virginia with visitation one hour prior to the service. A graveside gathering will be held at 2 p.m. at the Greenwood Cemetery. The family is deeply grateful to the staff of Carefree Living of Virginia and Moments Hospice for their loving care and presence. Arrangements are with Range Funeral Home in Virginia. 
She is survived by her son, Steven Ray Gustafson (Anne); daughter, Donna Lee Gustafson (John); grandson, Mike Gams (Michelle); great-granddaughters, Naveah, Hannah and Adrianna; and several nephews and nieces.

Paulette L. Tekavec
Paulette Louise Pishler Tekavec, 81, of Ely, passed away peacefully on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, at Carefree Living in Babbitt. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22 at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Ely with visitation held one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial will follow at the Ely Cemetery. The family is thankful to Northwoods Partners, Meals on Wheels, and special home health nurse aide, Morgan, who all assisted Paulette so she could stay at home as long as she did. Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.
She is survived by her children, Deb Campbell of Ely, Denise Jordan (Brian Floen) of Jonesboro, Ark., and John Tekavec (Teresa) of Hinckley; grandchildren, Paul Starkovich (Tasha) Jr., Erica Starkovich, Nicholas Jordan, Sean Jordan, Clarence Jordan IV “Drew”, Robert Tekavec, Dana Tekavec and Jenna Tekavec; three great-grandchildren; brother, Paul (Judy) Pishler of Soudan; sister, Jeanette Hutar of Minneapolis; and all her loving and caring friends.

Jan E. Lekatz
Jan Eleanor Johnson Lekatz, 77, of Ely, passed away on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, at the Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely from complications from hip surgery. There will be no service per her request. Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.
She is survived by her husband, Frank Lekatz; sisters, Diane Treno and Wendy (Russ) Meyer; sister-in-law, Louise (Andy) Kainz; brother-in-law, John (Mary Ann) Lekatz; and numerous nephews and nieces.