Obituaries

Wed
29
Mar

Gertrude “Gertie” Vesel, 88, of Ely, dies

Gertrude “Gertie” Vesel, 88, of Ely, died Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at Essentia Health St. Mary’s in Duluth. Gertrude Mary Vesel was born September 12, 1928 in Soudan, MN to Tony and Julia (Stepan) Zollar. Gertie grew up in Soudan, graduating from Tower-Soudan High School in 1948. She worked at the local grocery store until her marriage. On October 21, 1950, she was united in marriage to Vincent Vesel, Jr. in Tower. Following marriage, they made their home in Ely where they raised their family.
Gertie was a great cook, especially her Potica. She enjoyed dancing, polka music, gardening, picking berries, knitting, and spending time with family, especially her grandchildren

Sun
26
Mar

Barbara J. Rom, 96, of Ely, dies

Barbara Jean Rom (96) passed away in Ely, Minnesota, on March 25, 2017. She was born on June 23, 1920, in Kent, Washington, to Laurence and Doris Berlin, and the older sister to Judy Berlin Brislawn. The Berlins ran a successful grocery store where her father was known for his big heart; she told many stories of her dad giving away food to the needy during the Great Depression. Following her father’s path, she devoted considerable effort to philanthropy, focusing on education and environmental causes.

Thu
23
Mar

Larry F. Schanno, 68, of Finland, MN dies

Larry F. Schanno, 68, of Finland, MN died unexpectedly on Monday, March 20, 2017 at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth.
He was born June 29, 1948 to Franklin and Laura (Dietrich) Schanno in Virginia. Larry grew up and attended schools in the Ely area before attending Dunwoody Academy for his welding certification. He was employed as a welder before returning to Ely. Larry was employed as a logger before purchasing his own logging truck which he operated for 20 years. In 1998, Larry purchased Our Place restaurant in Finland which he owned and managed until his death.
He enjoyed hunting and fishing and volunteered countless hours with the Veterans from the Minnesota Veteran’s Home in Silver Bay. Larry hosted the Veterans at the restaurant on Wednesdays and also took them hunting in the fall and fishing in the pond he built and stocked with trout.
He was preceded in death by his father, Franklin; infant daughter, Linda; brother, Terry; and sister, Jennifer Fogg.

Wed
22
Mar

James (Ron) Wittrup, 70, of Ely, dies

James (Ron) Wittrup, 70, of Ely, passed away on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital.
He was born and lived in Iowa until moving to Ely as a high school sophomore. He was a diesel mechanic at Reserve Mining until it closed. He then worked at several jobs until buying Erzar Candy and Supply where he worked until retiring in 2013.
He is survived by his wife, Sharyn; son Jim of Ely, daughters: Connie of Virginia, MN and Lori of Cottage Grove, MN; grandchildren: Kayla, Adrianna and Chandler; numerous nieces and nephews and his beloved dog Otis.
He was preceded in death by his father, Walter, his mother, Alice; brothers Carl and Dean; sisters Laura, Mildred and Grace.
Funeral services were held on Monday, March 27, 2017 at 11:00 A.M. at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Ely with visitation held one hour prior to the service at the church. Family arrangements entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home.

Wed
22
Mar

Robert F. Van Etta, former Ely resident, dies

Robert F. Van Etta was born on September 28, 1924. He was the oldest son of Dr. Michael and Jean Van Etta. He was raised in Cook, Minnesota where his father practiced dentistry. He was valedictorian of the Class of 1943 and played basketball and was named to the All County team. Upon graduation he began college at Virginia Junior College and then served during World War II as a seaman in the Navy. While attending the Navy Radio and Telegraph school in Detroit he met his future wife, Luella “Lee” Pauline Quinn at the USO. After the war he returned to Minnesota and attended the University of Minnesota Dental School and graduated in 1950.

Wed
22
Mar

Christopher Paul Yarger, 48, of Ely, dies

Christopher Paul Yarger, 48, of Ely, passed away on Sunday, March 19, 2017 at the St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, MN as a result of a snowmobile accident. Chris was born on September 23, 1968 in Virginia, MN the son of LeRoy and Janice (McDowell ) Yarger.
Chris lived his first two years in Orr, MN and Camp Vermilion, his next four years in Overland Park, KS. He and his family moved to Grand Forks, ND where he graduated from Red River High School in 1987. Following high school, Chris attended Concordia College in Moorhead, MN and graduated in 1991 with a German teaching degree. He went back to school at Bemidji State College where he obtained a second teaching degree in Industrial Technology. Before his passing, Chris was working on obtaining his Master’s Degree at NDSU.

Mon
20
Mar

Burlin “Bud” Mattson, 83, former Ely resident, dies

Burlin “Bud” Mattson, 83, passed away peacefully at home on March 17, 2017 in Rochester, MN surrounded by family. He was born in Minneapolis, MN on December 3, 1933 to parents Carl H. and Dorothy Mattson. He is proceeded in death by his parents and survived by his wife of 61 years, Janet, children: Julie Mattson (Paul) Ostrow, Tracy Mattson (Jim Strande), Jim (Kathy) and grandchildren Jordann Mattson (Josh) Crowley, Matthew Ostrow, Lauren Mattson, Christopher Mattson, Kira Strande, Emily Ostrow and Luke Mattson.

Mon
20
Mar

Ronald E. Prahl of Winton, dies

RONALD E. PRAHL of Winton, received his Angel wings on March 15, 2017 in his home surrounded by his “girls.”
Ronnie was born in Milwaukee, WI. He spent most of his working life as a heavy equipment operator and mechanic.
He was also skilled in plumbing, heating, electrical and construction areas. He had an exceptional talent for wood crafting.
Ronnie was an avid outdoors man and especially enjoyed hunting and fishing. He will be remembered as a loving, dependable, loyal and faithful husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother and friend.

Sun
19
Mar

Mary A. Johnson, 79, of Ely, dies

Mary Agnes (Virkus) Johnson, 79, of Ely, passed away peacefully at home, Saturday March 18, 2017.
Mary was born January 8th, 1938 to Agnes and Stanley Virkus in Palisade, Minnesota. She was a graduate of Aitkin High School. Mary married Clifford Johnson in 1959.
Mary was a life time volunteer with over 40 years of service with the Cancer Society. She was also a member of the Ely Lions Club, VFW Ladies Auxiliary, PTA, Cub Scouts, New Comers, Ely Blue Line and many more. Mary was very proud of being presented with a plaque for “Volunteer of the Year” from the city of Ely in 2008.
She attended Vermilion Community College in the late ’70s for bookkeeping and started her Bookkeeping/Tax Preparation Business. She also held various other jobs in the Ely area, including Irresistible Ink, Zup’s samples, Cake Decorating and helped at resorts and outfitters.

Sun
19
Mar

Bernard J. Petrich, 83, of Ely, dies

Bernard James Petrich, 83, of Ely died Saturday, March 18, 2017. Bernie passed peacefully on at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, MN after suffering a bad fall. He was born in Ely on May 17, 1933, the youngest of 12 children, to John and Louise (Dormish) Petrich. He was preceded in death by his parents, siblings: Louise Goldowski, John Petrich, Justine Petrich, Matthew Petrich, Heddy Storm, Joseph Petrich, Louis Petrich, Elizabeth Schauer, Frank Petrich; in-laws Anton and Julia Klun and brother-in-law Laurence J. Klun. He is survived by his wife of almost 59 years, Gerry (Klun) Petrich, son Michael (Diana); grandsons: Nicholas (Jaci) and David (Cheryl); three great grandchildren: Madelyn Ann, Louis James and Eleanor Jane; sisters: Patricia Boitz (Ely) and Anna Gradishar (Aurora, MN); five brothers-in-law: Jerome (Harriet) Klun; Philip (Marcia) Klun, Bob (Cheryl) Klun, Tom (Peg) Klun, David (Carol) Klun and many nieces and nephews.

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