Support the Timberjay by making a donation.

Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Obituaries: April 12, 2024


James W. Gawboy
James Walter “Jim” Gawboy, “Waasagiizhik” “Animikii Aanakwad”, 87, died at home in his wife’s arms on Thursday, April 4, 2024. A Traditional Wake was held on Sunday, April 7 and a Traditional Service was held on Monday, April 8, both at the Vermilion Wellness Center in Tower. The Spiritual Leader was Ricky Defoe. Military Honors were accorded by the Bois Forte Honor Guard, Cook VFW Honor Guard and Orr American Legion Honor Guard. Casketbearers were Donald Swartz, Tristan Day, Issac Gawboy, Jordan Gawboy, Lorenzo Gawboy, Timothy Gawboy, Rollin Burba, Liam Burba, Rogelio Noyes and Ryan Bajan. Burial was on sacred ground.
Jim was born in Cloquet on July 17, 1936, and lived his early life on Vermilion Reservation, later moving to his grandmother’s farm near Ely after her passing. He graduated from Ely High School in 1953 where he was a renowned swimmer. He then enrolled in the University of Minnesota where he swam sprints and ran cross country for the U of M. After graduating from the U of M with a degree in anthropology and zoology, he was drafted into the U.S. Army where he served for two years. He then went on to work as a game warden for the Minnesota DNR for 30 years.
In 1990 Jim moved to Kugler Township and, together with his wife Becky, created a working farm. After his retirement, he taught American Indian studies at Mesabi Community College for two years. Jim and Becky then became licensed foster parents. Over a ten-year period, they fostered nearly 100 children and went on to adopt 12. When people asked why he adopted so many kids, his reply was “no one else would and besides I never learned to play golf.” During their 34 years together, Jim and Becky were inseparable. They traveled with their kids to Powwows throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ontario. Together they took cruises, train trips, traveled often to the Yucatan in Mexico, and drove their camper out west several times and to North Carolina to visit family there.
On a trip to Ireland, Becky bought a tin whistle which Jim learned to play and led him to play the piano at age 62. Although he had no musical experience, he became an accomplished pianist. Jim also built a dozen saunas, the family home on Lake Vermilion Reservation, and added a large addition to the farmhouse that he was remodeling. Jim was well known for his sense of humor, his brilliant intellect and his creativity.
Jim is survived by his loving wife, Rebecca Holm Gawboy; children, Linden Gawboy, J.T. Gawboy, Briita (Donnie Swartz) Noyes, Sigurd Noyes, Rolando Noyes, Ann Gawboy, Shawn Gawboy, Miranda Gawboy, Naomi Gawboy, Isaac (Angel Day) Gawboy, Timothy Gawboy, Jasmine (Tristan Day) Gawboy, Desmond Gawboy, Juanita Gawboy, Roger Gawboy, Lorenzo Gawboy, Jordan Gawboy and Victor Diaz; beloved foster son, Steven Isham; son of his heart, Ryan Bajan; brother, Carl (Cindy Donnes) Gawboy; brother and sister-in-law, John and Amy Holm; 30 grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; six siblings; oldest son, Galen Gawboy; granddaughter, Amy Gawboy; and first wife, Kathleen.

Richard F. Hall
Richard Fred “Dick” Hall, 80, of Birch Lake-Ely, passed away on Sunday, March 31, 2024, at Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely. Funeral services were held on Saturday, April 6 at Grace Lutheran Church in Ely. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.
He is survived by his wife, Vicki Saari Hall; daughter, Jenny Hall of Virginia; son, Russell (Miriam) Hall of Eau Claire, Wis.; and granddaughters, Elizabeth and Lily.

Donald H. Lettow
Donald H. Lettow, 88, of Breckenridge, passed away on Tuesday, March 12, 2024, under the care of CHI Hospice and Twin Town Villa. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 13 at Joseph Vertin and Sons Funeral Home in Breckenridge, with Pastor Ale Tulu officiating. Visitation will be for one hour prior. Burial will be at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Breckenridge.