George Rukavina, 89, of Ely, dies

George Rukavina passed away on December 6, 2017, in his home. He was born to Steve Rukavina and Kathryn (Karakas) Rukavina on January 26, 1928.
George attended the Ely Schools until he quit in 1946 to go to work and take care of the family. He started work for the Forest Service in 1944, the following year he worked for the DMIR railroad, joined the Army in 1946, putting one year in Korea, was honorably discharged and returned to work on the railroad. He was a part of a team of three that then started an Army Reserve unit, the 982nd Construction Battalion from Ely, Minnesota, which was 3 years inactive, then activated for two years during the Korean War in August 1950.
In 1952 he was discharged again and started work for the Oliver Mining Company at Pioneer Mine for two years.
He began work for the Reserve Mining Company in 1954, running jet-piercing machines and rottary drills for 34 years, and two years for Cyprus Minerals, after which he retired.
George’s hobbies were netting fish in Shagawa Lake for 52 years, smoking and pickling tons of fish. He fished lake trout in Canada and was a sausage maker. He felt he must have done something right when asked to smoke trout for Governor Rudy Perpich for his last birthday in office. George’s other hobbies were carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, baking poticas of all kinds, and tending a large garden. He traveled to Mexico twice in one of his many vehicles, taking in the bullfights and deep-sea fishing off of Acapulco. He visited Las Vegas many times, the Seattle’s World Fair, the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, hunted Hudson Bay for geese, and was a member of the Ely Bowling League and an Ely Golf Club member.
Living relatives are brother Karl Rukavina, niece Cecilia Rolando, nephew Seraphine M. (Pat) Rolando, great niece Amanda, and great nephew Mathew, and families; nieces Andrea Bailey, and Carol (Burnie) Stahl, and families; special friend Pat Marty of Babbitt, and family; sister-in-law Mary Rukavina of Minneapolis, her sons Tom and John, and daughter Susan Johnson. Many great friends also survive George.
George was preceded in death by parents Kathryn and Steve Rukavina, brother Steve Rukavina, sisters Olga (Seraphine) Rolando and Mary (Andrew) Jaworski; also niece Mary Jaworski.