Support the Timberjay by making a donation.

Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Obituaries: September 1, 2023


Mark R. Phillips
Mark Raymond Phillips, beloved husband, dad, grandpa, brother, uncle, cousin, brother-in-law, dog-lover, storyteller, public servant, strategic thinker, compassionate leader, economic and community developer, and friend peacefully passed away in his sleep on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023, at his home on Lake Vermilion in Tower, after spending the day enveloped in the love and caring support of his wife, kids, and hospice angels.
The family is grateful to Dr. Bret Friday, nurses and staff at Essentia Health-Virginia; Dr. Lance Pagliaro and Dr. Aaron Potretzke at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester; and Dr. Keith Peterson, nurses and staff at Essentia Health Hospice for their expertise, care and compassion.
A celebration of Mark’s life will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23 at the Virginia Elks Club, 220 N 5th Ave. W in Virginia. Family services are provided by Bauman-Vermilion, a Bauman Family Funeral Home in Tower.
Mark grew up in Eveleth where he was born on June 30, 1950, to William Raymond and Annie (Bennetts) Phillips. After graduating from Eveleth High School in 1968, he attended Gustavus Adolphus College for three years and then transferred to the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where he met his future wife, Patty Pocrnich, and graduated with a degree in Business Administration.
Mark was a visionary leader and a savvy dealmaker who worked tirelessly to balance financial benefit with positive community impact and whose professional legacy lives in the numerous improvements in the communities he served in Northeastern Minnesota and beyond. A recipient of the Economic Development Association of Minnesota’s Career Achievement Award, Mark had forty years of leadership experience in economic and community development. He served as Commissioner of the IRRRB for eight years under both Governors Mark Dayton and Tim Walz, Commissioner of the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development, Director of Corporate Relations at Minnesota Power (Allete), Director of Business Development at Kraus Anderson Construction, Vice President of Northeast Ventures Corporation, Vice President of Business Banking for Norwest Bank (Wells Fargo) in Virginia and Director of Economic Development for the IRRRB. He also held leadership positions on corporate and non-profit boards, including the University of Minnesota Alumni Association National Board, UMD’s Labovitz School of Business, Northland Foundation of Duluth and the Virginia Foundation.
73 years young, Mark lived a good story and to quote him, “a wonderful life with no regrets.” He was a loving family man who enjoyed every second spent with his adult children, grandchildren and grand-dogs. He had a huge circle of friends and was loved and respected wherever he worked. He had a lifelong love affair with Lake Vermilion and enjoyed boating and viewing its beautiful sunsets and sunrises, first as a young boy at his family’s cabin on Daisy Bay and later, at his cabin and then his retirement home on Frazer Bay.
Mark is survived by his wife of 49 years, Patty; daughter, Jessica and grandsons Vincent and Miles; son, Joe and grand-dog, Nacho; sisters, Prudence Wirtz and Constance (George) Walters; brother-in-law and sister-in-law Mark and Suzanne (Wenstrom) Pocrnich; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents.

Nancy R. Mihm
Nancy R. Maki Mihm, 88, of Cook, died peacefully at home on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023. A memorial service was held on Thursday, Aug. 31 at Trinity Lutheran Church. Arrangements were with Mlaker Funeral Home of Cook.
She will be deeply missed by her daughter, Susan (Peter) Stone; son, Greg (Coralee) Mihm; grandchildren, Chad (Connie) Stone, Brandi (Max) Embacher, Justin (Stephanie) Mihm and Brandon (Amber Wilke) Mihm; great-grandchildren, Steven (Alli Sandberg) Stone, Makenzie (Justin) Huberty, Hailey (Michael Anderson) Embacher, Kate (Drake Zibble) Stone, Devin Embacher, Hunter Mihm, Mason Mihm and Addsion Mihm; great-great-grandchildren, Braelynn and Sutton; and best friend, Barb. 

Loren G. Sampson
Loren Gene Sampson, 83, of Babbitt, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023. A graveside service was held on Monday, Aug. 28 at the Argo Cemetery. After the burial, a celebration of life was held at the Junction Hotel Conference Room in Babbitt. Arrangements were with Range Funeral Home of Virginia.
Loren was born on March 9, 1940, in Brooten. He was the oldest of three children born to George Sampson and Lorraine Kalland Sampson. He attended the Ely High School and graduated in 1959. Loren married the love of his life, Roxyann Christeck, on June 26, 1965. The couple raised two foster girls, Linda and Colleen Olson, and had four children, Larry, Sally, Tammy and Wayne. They made their home in Babbitt.
Loren was a hardworking man. He worked at Reserve Mining until its closure, and then had many side jobs, including Dublin Plumbing, Dr. Udovich and Riverpoint Resort. And he also worked for the City of Babbitt Street Department. He enjoyed his breakfasts and drives around town at noon. And you could expect to see him around the evening cruising in his old cars, playing the oldies but goodies.
Loren is survived by wife of 58 years, Roxyann; children, Larry (Lisa) Sampson, Sally (Red) Orutt, Wayne Sampson and Tammy (Craig) Lasart; grandchildren, Mallory Reichenberger, Kyle Orutt, Chelsey Orutt, Shelby (Jordan) Lasart, Kerenza (Cody) Lasart, Joscelyn Lasart, Jacob (Tamara) Brown, Karl Brown and Kyle Brown; and thirteen great-grandchildren. He will be missed by family and many friends.