Obituaries

Sun
02
Apr

Helen L. Champa, 89, of Ely, dies

Helen Louise Champa, 89, died Sunday, April 2nd, 2017 at the Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely surrounded by her family. Helen was born March 9, 1928 in Ely to Louis and Josephine (Melovasich) Ravnikar. Helen grew up and went to school in Ely. She married Robert Champa Sr. on October 5, 1946. They met at Vertin’s after Bob came home from the war and after seeing her working there he knew he was going to marry her. They made Ely their home and raised a family there.
Helen was a wonderful mother and loved being a mom and grandma. She was a great cook and loved to bake. She made potica which was a favorite at the hunting shack and she shared her talent with her children and taught a few of her grandchildren as well. She loved polka music and dancing. She worked at Vertin’s, catering for Zup’s and as a cook at Veteran’s on the Lake, Vermilion Community College and the Senior Citizen Center.

Sun
02
Apr

Fredric Matthew Johnson, 78, dies

Fredric Matthew Johnson, 78, passed away on March 31, 2017. He was born Oct. 31, 1938 to Toivo and Helen (Nevala) Johnson of Embarrass, MN. Fred attended Ely Junior College and went on to the University of Minnesota where he completed his degree in education. Fred taught in the St. Paul Schools and coached football and track. He enjoyed living in his home on Burntside Lake with family and friends, canoeing in the BWCA, traveling to many countries and walking in his Embarrass woods.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Toivo and Helen.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara (Moroni) Johnson, his two sons, Christopher Johnson, S.J, and Benjamin (Adrienne) Johnson, three grandchildren: Andrew, Sophia and Leo Johnson, a brother, Michael (Nancy) Johnson, and a sister, Shannon (James) Hannigan.
He was a wonderful husband, father, brother and grandfather. We miss him.

Thu
30
Mar

Anton “Joel” Rogenes, 91, of Ely, dies

Anton “Joel” Rogenes, 91, of Ely, MN passed away on March 28, 2017 at the Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely, MN. Funeral services will be held at NY Stavanger Lutheran Church, Buxton, North Dakota, on Monday, April 3, 2017 at 1:30 p.m.. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the church. To leave online condolences please visit www.ceasefuneralhome.com

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.

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