Obituaries

Thu
07
Dec

Carol Delores (Ostlund) Austreng, 83, dies

Carol Delores (Ostlund) Austreng, 83, longtime Babbitt resident, died December 7, 2017 at Carefree Living in Babbitt. Family arrangements are by Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.

Thu
07
Dec

Ralph Frank Sershen, 85, of West St. Paul, MN formerly of Ely, dies

Ralph Frank Sershen, 85, of West St. Paul, MN formerly of Ely, passed away on December 5, 2017.
Survived by wife Elizabeth (Birch) Sershen, son Frank (Sue) Sershen, daughters: Barb (Chuck) Elliott, Marie (Chris) Coyne and Jean Sershen (Chris Tomhave), 8 grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Ralph was preceded in death by mother and father, Frank and Mary (Vertnik) Sershen and brother, Donald Sershen.

Thu
07
Dec

Alice Pamela Starkman, 87, dies

Alice Pamela Starkman, 87, passed away peacefully on Monday December 4 at Southview Senior Living Center in West St. Paul, MN. She was born in St. Paul, MN to Phillip and Olga Keeling on Apil 5, 1930. In her early life Alice was a school teacher in South St. Paul MN, Rawlings WY, Tower MN and the Section 30 School. She married Kenneth Starkman on February 15, 1958 in St. Paul, MN. They owned and operated several businesses throughout the years, most notably the Starkman Oil Company in Ely, MN.
Alice and Ken spent their retirement years in Apache Junction, AZ and St. Paul, MN. Alice loved to read, work crossword puzzles as well as play cribbage and she spent many hours of her retirement doing just that.
She was preceded in death by her husband Kenneth Starkman. Alice is survived by sons: Ken Starkman and Jeff Starkman (Jessica); brother Keith Keeling; and grandsons: Hunter Starkman and Garrett Starkman.

Thu
07
Dec

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.

Fri
01
Dec

Mary Jane Johnson, 67, of Ely, dies

Mary Jane Johnson, 67, of Ely, went to be with the Lord on Wednesday, November 29, 2017, at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth. She was born on February 5, 1950, and was the daughter of John and Ann Benko.
Mary Jane had been a lifelong resident of Ely. She attended the Ely schools, graduating in 1968, and afterward from Ely Junior College. Mary Jane went on to attend the University of Minnesota-Duluth, graduating with a degree in elementary education. In later years, she achieved a Master of Education degree.

Fri
01
Dec

George “Duffy” W. Rhein, 85, of Ely, dies

George “Duffy” W. Rhein, 85, of Ely, passed away Friday, November 24, 2017 at Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely.
George William Rhein was born February 13, 1932 in Ely to George and Alice (Kolstad) Rhein. He was a graduate of Ely High School. Following high school, George attended Ely Junior College and played football while attending. On July 14, 1956, he was united in marriage to Janet Kramer. George enlisted in the U.S. Army and was Military Police in Germany during the Korean Conflict. He was employed at Reserve Mining Co. as a machinist.
George enjoyed family and the outdoors which included fishing, camping, and hunting.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Janet; sons:David (Julie), Mike (Pat); daughter: Sandy (Paul); grandchildren: Triston, April (Leo), Katie, Eric, Sara, Tyler (Joselyn); great granddaughter: Isabell; brother: Allen (Betty); sisters-in-law: Francis Kramer, Norma Kramer; several nieces and nephew.

Thu
30
Nov

Marilyn Wilson, 70, of Ely, dies

Marilyn Jean (Tuomela) Wilson, 70, of Ely, passed away on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at her residence. She was a lifelong resident of Ely and attended Ely schools. She loved camping.
She was preceded in death by her parents and sister Maxine Lassi. She is survived by her children: Dawn Wilson, Scott Wilson, Tami (Tom) Herb; her grandchildren: Justin Runberg, Zach Kainz, Ashlee Kainz; her great-grandchildren: Nora Kainz and Aspyn Kainz and many cousins.
A celebration of Marilyn’s life will be held on Monday, December 4, 2017 at 2:00 P.M. at Kerntz Funeral Home. Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.

Tue
28
Nov

Richard Leroy “Dick” Perala, 76, of Lake Vermilion, Tower, dies

Richard Leroy “Dick” Perala, 76, of Lake Vermilion, Tower, died Sunday, November 26, 2017 at his home. Richard was born March 21, 1941 in Duluth to Betty Perala. He grew up in Makinen and Markham and was a 1959 graduate of Aurora-Hoyt Lakes High School. Richard was united in marriage to Judith Papesh on August 1, 1964 in Virginia. He retired in 2001 after 36 years as a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 294 in Hibbing. He split his retirement years between his lake place on Vermilion and the homestead farm in Makinen.

Tue
28
Nov

Ralph Howard Smith, 93 dies

Ralph Howard Smith, 93, went to his heavenly home on November 24, 2017, in Wilmington NC. Ralph was born in Plainfield, IL, to Reva Davis Smith and Ralph Howard Smith Sr. Ralph lived in Ely MN for over three decades before relocating with his wife, Mary, to Wilmington in 2014 to be close to family.
Ralph was predeceased by his daughter Eleanor, in 2017, one brother, three sisters, two step brothers three step sisters and two wives.
Ralph is survived by his wife, Mary Wachter-Smith, son Dale (Debbie) Smith of Conway AK, daughter Kathleen (Virgil) Norris of Sunrise Beach, MO and son-in-law Robert Pedersen of Joliet IL. Also, step daughters, Janet (Bruce) Kavanaugh of Wilmington, Barbara (Gary) Rothe of Springfield NH, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Tue
28
Nov

Edwin William Latva, 88, of Ely, dies

Edwin William Latva, 88, of Ely, passed away on Monday, November 27, 2017 at his home. He was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years Helen and his parents.
He is survived by his children: Luann (Keith) BaDour of Glenwood City, WI, David Latva of Fairbault and Joel (Veronica) Latva of Mantua, OH; four grandchildren; one great-grandchild. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, December 2, 2017 at First Lutheran Church in Ely at 11:00 a.m. with visitation being held one hour prior to the service at the church. Military honors will be provided by the Ely Honor Guard. Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.

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