Russell W. Berg Russell William Berg, 93, dedicated veteran, family man and Vikings fan, crossed over peacefully to the mystical Valhalla on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Rockford, Ill., holding the …
Russell W. Berg
Russell William Berg, 93, dedicated veteran, family man and Vikings fan, crossed over peacefully to the mystical Valhalla on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Rockford, Ill., holding the hand of his beloved wife of 72 years, Theresa. A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 5, 2024, at St. Martin’s Catholic Church in Tower.
Russ was born on Sept. 18, 1930, in Tower, to Christian and Virginia Bruneau Berg. He attended Tower-Soudan schools and encountered his lifelong passions of sports, education, and the love of his life, Theresa Pavlich.
Russ worked a variety of jobs starting around age ten, from delivering ice to running the projector at the Rex Theater. After graduating from high school in 1948, he moved to Milwaukee to work at Allis-Chalmers and be closer to Theresa, who had moved to Chicago to live with her sister and work at the Merchandise Mart. Russ and Theresa got together on weekends and saw many celebrities perform. They loved to dance and were usually the last ones on the dance floor.
Russ returned to the Range to work in the Soudan Mine. He and Theresa were married at St. Martin’s Catholic Church in Tower in 1951. He then enlisted in the Air Force, starting a 20-year military career. Russ valued his family above all else and to better provide for them, he pursued an education while serving in the Air Force. Russ was the first in his family to earn a college degree, a BA in Physical Education at UMD.
In 1955 their first child Mitchell was born in Soudan. Russ said that the loss of Mitchell in 2015 was the most difficult thing he experienced in his life. Daughter Michele was born in Duluth in 1964, and shortly afterward they moved overseas to Okinawa, where Dan was born in 1965.
Russ served in Special Reconnaissance in Korea and Vietnam. As a Master Sargent, his final assignment was as a recruiter in Rockford, Ill., where he completed a Master’s Degree in Education at Northern Illinois University.
After retiring from the service, he and Theresa, who had also earned a BA and later a Master’s in Education, took teaching positions in Loves Park, Ill. Russ initially taught physical education, then served as the head of the driver education program at Harlem High School. By the end of his teaching career, Russ had earned the equivalent of a doctorate degree.
Russ and Theresa resided and worked in Rockford, yet returned to Minnesota each summer and on many holidays. After retiring, they spent half the year in each location. Russ always considered Minnesota home; there was no place he would rather be than Valhalla, the name of the mythological Viking heaven that he gave to his home on Eagles Nest Lake. It was an appropriate reflection of his Scandinavian heritage and love of the Minnesota Vikings.
Valhalla is truly the “house that Russ built” along with Theresa and his brother Ray. They poured the cement foundation by hand, sawed every board, hammered every nail, and miraculously lifted the heavy roof beams into place. They installed the plumbing and electricity lying on their backs in a small crawl space. Theresa stained every board while also raising three children and hosting the extended family who came to visit in the summertime.
Russ was devoted to his community, attending church every Sunday at Holy Family Church in Rockford or St. Martin’s in Tower, where he and Theresa were members of the choir. He had a standing table after Mass at the Tower Cafe where he generously paid the bill for whomever joined. Russ was a member of the Rockford Elks Club, Tower Lions Club and Eagles Nest Seniors.
As a longtime American Legion member, Russ assisted with bingo and the Fourth of July pancake breakfast. Leading the parade with the Color Guard was Russ’s biggest goal and honor of the year. He did so until age 90 and the arrival of COVID. He would prepare by walking on Walsh Road in Eagles Nest, surprising many by his determination and by choosing to walk down the center of the road.
Like most boys growing up on the Iron Range, Russ learned to hunt and fish yet it wasn’t until he retired that he was able to enjoy doing so again, with his nephew Bob and brother Don. Bob and wife Jane were the kind caretakers of Valhalla when Russ was in Illinois. In his final years, Russ shifted from duck hunter to duck feeder with over 80 ducks in his yard at times.
Russ enjoyed playing cards, especially the Range favorites, cribbage and schmear. His primary enjoyment was sports; he played sports, taught sports, and worked as a referee and umpire. Each day before dinner he would play football, baseball or basketball with his three children. Russ also made sure they were exposed to activities like karate, gymnastics and swimming at the YMCA.
In later years Russ shifted from playing to watching sports on television. He enjoyed watching tennis, the Twins, the Cubs, and his favorite, the Vikings. A few times he had the thrill of viewing them from the Metrodome press box with his lifelong friend from Tower, Marsh Nelson, who was the Vikings game announcer from 1965-96.
Russ was known for expressing his disappointment in the Vikings’ performance yet he always remained a faithful fan. He watched his last game on Sunday, Sept. 10, dressed in a Vikings T-shirt and pants, covered by his Vikings blanket. He died in the same proud purple attire.
Russ is survived by his wife, Theresa Pavlich Berg of Rockford and Eagles Nest; his caregiver daughter, Michele “Mica” Berg Cascarano of Milwaukee, Wis.; son, Dan (Cathy) Berg of Rockford; daughter-in-law, Nancy Berg of Machesney Park, Ill.; grandchildren, Ben (Rachel) Berg and great-grandchildren Anna and Cameron of Machesney Park, Ill., Samantha (Bryan) Bem of Cottage Grove, Danny Berg of Lakewood, Colo., and Abby Berg of Rockford; brothers, Ray and Darrell, both of Tower-Soudan; sister, Darlene Mesojedec of Virginia; and sister-in-law, Aggie (Tony) Yapel of St. Paul.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Christian and Virginia Bruneau Berg; son, Mitchell; brother, Don (Mary Ann) Berg; sisters-in-law, Lorraine Berg and Carol Berg; sister, Christine (David) Parks; and brother-in-law, Paul Mesojedec.
Mark D. Duame
Mark Doyle “Muk” Duame, 61, of Mt. Iron, passed away on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11 at Mlaker Funeral Home in Cook. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service. Lunch and fellowship will follow at the VFW in Cook.
Mark was born on June 6, 1962, in Virginia, to Dennis and Jill Menelli Duame. He grew up and lived on Lake Vermilion beside Duame’s Marina. After high school, Mark’s adventurous and fearless love to travel led him to take a construction job at Larsen Bay Lodge on Kodiak Island in Alaska. When he returned home, he continued his carpenter career; he had been a member of Carpenters Local 606 since 1998 and most recently working for Alesch Construction.
Mark never gave up his love of traveling and considered himself a “wanderer”. Among his other adventures, he was able to return to Kodiak Island a few times during his life. Another of his memorable trips was taking the Amtrak to California with his grandpa Russell.
In his younger years, Mark enjoyed hunting and fishing. He was a naturally talented artist; he could pick up anything and draw it. He also painted and was an excellent woodworker. He made many items that he loved to give to other people, including a rocking chair for his niece Kayla. Mark was a history buff and enjoyed anything to do with old military memorabilia. If he was watching TV, it was usually a war history show.
Mark enjoyed getting together with family and friends and also enjoyed going to different functions. Mark had a great sense of humor; he enjoyed razzing people and drawing some questionable, but humorous, birthday cards for his family. He mischievously enjoyed being sarcastic, but in good form. Mark’s family lovingly remembers him as “a really good guy with a kind heart”. He will be dearly missed by all.
Mark is survived by his wife, Tammy Duame; daughter, Ashley (Alex) St. Clair and their children Rian and Brooks; stepson, Kyle Aune; siblings, Mike (Kathy) Duame, Lisa Holter and Brian Duame; and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Dennis and Jill Duame; aunt, Susan Mattson; and two brothers-in-law, Gary Bamberg and James “Ding” Holter.
Luvern “Dutch” Sauerbry, 96, longtime Lake Vermilion summer resident, passed away on Monday, Oct. 23, 2023, to reunite with his beloved best friend, Lois. Memorial donations can be made in honor of Dutch to the Fisher House Foundation, part of the Minneapolis VA.
Dutch and Lois bought a tiny cabin on Pine Island in 1969, later building a new cabin in the same bay. Lake Vermilion was truly their happy place. They found great joy in entertaining family and friends at the lake. If you knew them, please raise a glass to toast their wonderful life together. Dutch will raise a Manhattan back to you!
Dutch is survived by his daughter, Jane (Mike) Travis; sons, Steve (Laurie) Sauerbry and Jim (Sarah) Sauerbry; eight grandchildren; eighteen great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.
Clifford L. and Christine L. Johnson
Clifford Leonard Johnson, 78, and Christine Louise Karkinen Johnson, 78, of Babbitt, died tragically at their residence on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 16 at Range Funeral Home in Virginia.
They are survived by their daughter, Errin; granddaughter, Falen (Quincy); great-granddaughter, Vinnie; Clifford’s brothers, Waino W. Johnson of Ironwood, Mich., Edward E. (Sharon) Johnson Jr. of Duluth and Timothy Lee Johnson of Ontonagan, Mich.; Christine’s brothers, Eric (Cozette) of Oak Grove and Les (Mary Lou) Karkinen of Gilbert; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Lois Jeno Warren, 84, of Ely, passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023, at her home.
Funeral services were held on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at Grace Lutheran Church in Ely. Arrangements were with Landmark Funeral Home in Virginia.
Terrence J. Bosch
Terrence “Terry” Jul Bosch, 71, of Ely, passed away on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, surrounded by his loving family after a courageous hard-fought battle with cancer. A Funeral Mass was held on Monday, Nov. 6 at St. Anthony’s Church in Ely. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.
He is survived by his loving wife of 44 years, Joni Schwab Bosch: four children, Kelly (George) Rajkovich and their children Autum, Layla and Addison, Jami (Robert) Stepec and their children Cole and Jace, Casey (Mike) Vieau and their children Emma, Scarlett, Brian and Clare, and Dan (Kelsey Velcheff) Bosch; sisters, Valerie LaRocque, Deb (Dale) Sedlezky, Pam (Mark) Anderson, Sandy (Randy) Weishaar and Kathy (Jeff) Miller; mother-in-law, Dolores (Heit) Schwab; sisters-in-law, Kristi (Doug) Vang, Shirley (Steve) Brock, Debbie Adahl and Julie (Vern Church) Schwab; and many nieces and nephews.
Elizabeth J. Erickson
Elizabeth “Betty” Joan Niemi Erickson, 80, lifelong resident of Ely, passed away at Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023. There will not be a public memorial at this time, but there will be a celebration of life for close family and friends in the summer of 2024. Memorial donations may be made to Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely. Betty fought vigilantly for the survival of the center and the work done there was always close to her heart. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.
She is survived by her son, Bernie Erickson; granddaughters, Rachel Thunde (Sam), Emily, Madeline and Isabel Erickson; great-grandson, Noah Thunde; and many colleagues, family and friends.