James B. Trembath
James Benjamin “Jim” Trembath, 95, formerly of Tower, peacefully passed away on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, at Autumn Lane Assisted-Living in Cohasset. The family extends a special thank you and appreciation to all of Jim’s caregivers at Autumn Lane. Jim always looked at the glass as being half full, songs were forever in his heart, and a smile was always on his face. He was genuinely thankful for friends, family, and the little things in life. Jim and Edith Trembath exemplified who Tom Brokaw wrote about in The Greatest Generation.
A Military Service of Interment will be held at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. A family remembrance will be held at the time of interment. Memorials in the form of gifts, or your service, may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice. Cremation arrangements are with Rowe Funeral Home and Crematory in Grand Rapids.
Jim was born on Oct. 1, 1925, in Eveleth, the son of William and Ethel Trembath. He grew up in Eveleth, graduating in 1943. At age 17 he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving as a Pharmacist’s Mate (corpsman) during WWII. Assigned to the 3rd Marine Division for the battle of Iwo Jima in 1945, he was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He was within a half-mile of Mount Suribachi during the famous Marine American flag raising. Jim brought home his helmet with a bullet hole and was known in his unit as “Hole in the Helmet Trembath.”
Jim married Edith Sundstrom, a Cadet Nurse Corps graduate, in Soudan, on June 14, 1947. He attended Dunwoody Institute in Minneapolis for mechanics. He was employed by Burgess Chevrolet and later as a maintenance mechanic in the underground mines in Soudan and Ely. He transferred to the Minntac Mine in Mountain Iron, retiring in 1983.
Jim and Edith raised seven children in Tower, where he was very active in the community. He was a volunteer fireman, EMT, member of the Lions Club, American Legion, Fourth of July committee, Tower-Soudan Historical Society, Vermilion Housing, and Tower-Soudan School Board. Active in the Soudan Baptist Church, he served as treasurer, deacon and soloist. As a Boy Scout leader he received the Silver Beaver Award, scouting’s highest leadership honor. Jim was a community volunteer extraordinaire, but family always came first.
He is survived by five sons, Rick (Nancy) of Bigfork, Mont., Tom (Marcy) of Bella Vista, Ark., Tim (Mona) of Thornton, Colo., Terry (Merrie) of Hoyt Lakes and Chuck of Virginia; two daughters, JoAnn (Bruce) Wahlsten of Duluth and Patti (Bob) Lynch of Grand Rapids; numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Edith in 2013; brother, Tom (MIA WWII Corsair Carrier Fighter Pilot); twin sister, Grace Langen of Minneapolis; sister, Myrtle Summers O’Shaughnessy of St. Paul; and two grandsons, Jason and Michael Trembath of Thornton, Colo.
Agnes C. Mattson
Agnes Caroline “Aggie” Dragavon Mattson, 96, long-time resident of Soudan, entered into eternal life on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, at Benedictine Health Center in Duluth. The family would like to thank Olajean Hayworth for her special friendship, support and love, and the staff of Westwood and BHC for taking “good care” of Mom over the last ten years. They became extended family to Mom and will never see a Dum-Dum sucker without remembering her.
Mom’s life will be celebrated at a later date when we can gather safely to share memories of her. The family prefers memorials to St. Scholastica Monastery, Second Harvest or a charity of your choice. Arrangements are with Dougherty Funeral Home of Duluth.
Stand up for what you believe in. Be kind. Wear a mask.
Aggie was born in Soudan on March 24, 1924, to Joseph F. and Mary (Breznik) Erchul. She was married to Edward J. Dragavon at St. Martin’s Catholic Church in Tower on Aug. 10, 1946. They were the parents of four children: Edward J. Dragavon Jr. of Los Angeles, Calif., Mary (Rod) Eidelbes of Grand Rapids, Dolly (Bob) Ladner of Lake Elmo and Jane Dragavon, who passed away in 1965. Edward passed away in 1968. Aggie was blessed to marry Carl M. Mattson on Sept. 22, 1973. They enjoyed many years of travel, dancing, dining out, and card games until Carl’s passing in 2006.
Aggie was a long-time employee of the State Bank of Tower and especially loved her work at the Soudan Underground Mine State Park, retiring at age 70. She was a devoted member of St. Martin’s Catholic Church (St. Elizabeth’s Circle), KSKJ Lodge 4, and the Slovenian Women’s Union, Branch 34.
Aggie loved her faith and her family. In her faith she found much comfort and strength. She was a proud Mom, Grandma, and Great-Grandma, always sharing accomplishments with whomever would listen. Nothing put a bigger smile on her face than to see her grands and great-grands. Aggie was always perfectly dressed and accessorized to a “T”. Mom was an accomplished baker (potica!) and cook. We all remember her joy in serving her family a delicious meal at her dining room table. She also excelled as a seamstress and gardener.
In addition to her three children, Aggie is survived by four grandchildren, Mike (Becky) Eidelbes, Kelly (Joe) Broking, Jason (Bev) Dragavon Dahl and Ashley (Jeff Mulligan) Dragavon Dahl; eight great-grandchildren, Brady and Kayden Broking, Sydney Eidelbes, Fintan, Macrae and Lula Mulligan, Jane, Charlie and baby girl Dahl (arriving this month); and many nieces and nephews. She is also survived by dearly loved members of Carl’s family, son-in-law, Chuck (Jiggs) Rathbone; daughter, Chris (Alan) Schnoor; grandchildren, Chucky (Deb) Rathbone, Brian (Deana) Schnoor, Lynn Schnoor and Brenda (Josh) Miller; and six great-grandchildren, Sarah and Becky Rathbone, Abby and Natalie Schnoor, and Brandon and Liam Miller.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Edward Dragavon in 1968; husband, Carl Mattson in 2006; and all ten of her siblings.
Dennis “Denny” Erchul, 83, of Duluth, passed away unexpectedly but peacefully at his home on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. Due to COVID, the funeral will be held in the spring at St. Martin’s Catholic Church in Tower.
Denny was born in Tower in 1937 and was raised in Soudan. He enjoyed hunting and fishing in the area with his four brothers, especially while living on Fourmile Lake just outside of Soudan. He graduated from Tower High School in 1955, then enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1959 during which time he was stationed in Germany. He was honorably discharged in 1962.
Upon returning to the Iron Range, Denny married the love of his life, Helen Mesojedec, in 1963. This union produced five children who survive him: Ed (Kathleen Vertin), Joe (Lynette Dalbec), RoJean Flaherty, Kim (Steve) Olson and Jennifer (Steve) Delich, along with eight grandchildren.
After marriage, Denny and Helen relocated to Duluth, where he was employed at Northern City National Bank and then Fond du Luth casino until retiring in 1996. Much of Denny’s time was spent enjoying their cabin on Eagles Nest Lake, surrounded by friends and family. He also shared his musical talents by acting as a church organist at several churches and as an active member of the Singing Slovenes, whose members became close friends of the family.
Denny leaves behind a long list of friends and family who will sorely miss his presence. The family has been touched by the outpouring of love shown by those who were informed of his untimely passing. We sincerely appreciate the words and stories which have been shared in this difficult time.
Denny is survived by his four brothers; wife; five children; and eight grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Joseph and Mary Erchul.
Thomas E. Mayo
Thomas E. Mayo, 76, of Kugler Township-Tower, passed away on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Tower, doing what he loved, cross country skiing. There will be no formal funeral service. Arrangements are with Landmark Funeral Home of Virginia.
He was born on March 8, 1944, in Deer River, the son of Thomas and Elmire “Bertha” (Nollette) Mayo. Tom served in the United States Navy on the USS Waddell from 1963 to 1969. He was united in marriage to Katy Larsen at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Tower on June 22, 1979. They had lived in Kugler for the past 40 years, where they raised their four sons. He worked for the United States Steel Minntac mine in Mountain Iron as a blaster, retiring in 2003. He was a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church of Tower and the United Steelworkers of America Local 1938 of Virginia.
Tom loved his family. Loved the time spent with his grandchildren. Loved the time spent at the cabin on Lake Vermilion. Loved wild ricing, fishing and eating fish. Loved visiting with friends. He will be greatly missed.
He is survived by his wife, Katy Mayo of Kugler Township-Tower; sons, Thomas Mayo of Grand Rapids and Aaron (Rebecca) Mayo of Mountain Iron; daughter-in-law, Bethany Mayo of Cloquet; nine grandchildren; sisters, Carol (Howard) Thompson of Deer River, Cathy Parks of Deer River and Viola Cook of Bigfork; brothers, Donald (Peggy) Mayo of Grand Rapids and Dick (Sandi) Mayo of Grand Rapids; numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sons, Richard and Neil; brothers, James, Vern and Bill; and sister, Evie Lee.
Leona M. Janezich
Leona Marie Janezich, 91, of Ely, passed away on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, at the Boundary Waters Care Center. She had finished living her live. A Memorial Mass will be held at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Ely in June, with inurnment to follow at the Ely Cemetery.
Leona was born in Ely, to Louis and Ana (Matelic) Janezich, on May 27, 1929. She graduated from Ely Memorial High School in 1947 and from Ely Junior College in 1949. Her work experience for a short time included being a nurse’s aide at the old Shipman Hospital, a clerk at the Sears Catalogue Office, a third-grade teacher at Fort Yates on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota, a worker in a dental office, and finally, for 47 years she worked various jobs at the American Fraternal Union.
Leona belonged to Ely Branch 23 of the Slovenian (Women’s) Union, was a member of the Duluth Scleroderma Support Group, a survivor of melanoma cancer, and a member of Women’s Life Insurance. She also served on the Board of Directors for the Ely-Winton Historical Society.
Some of the activities she enjoyed were learning to pilot a plane, line dancing, Tai Chi/Qigong, planning mahjong with friends, getting together with the birthday club, attending concerts and plays, listening to music of many kinds, traveling, and learning.
Her survivors are many cousins and friends here and in Slovenia.
Leona was preceded in death by her parents; three-year-old sister, Annie; and brothers, Louis and Fred.
William R. Lamppa
William R. “Bill” Lamppa, 92, of Embarrass, died on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, in Essentia-St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth. Private inurnment will take place in the Embarrass Cemetery at a later date. Memorial contributions may be directed to the Tower Area Food Shelf or the ACLU. Family services provided by Bauman-Vermilion, a Bauman Family Funeral Home in Tower.
He is survived by his sons, Jason (Kirsten) Lamppa of St. Paul and Clayton Lamppa of Embarrass; grandson, Joshua Lamppa; extended family and friends.
Rudolph M. Grahek
Rudolph Michael “Rudy” Grahek, 94, of Ely, Soudan, and Lake Havasu City, Ariz., passed away on Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020, at the Chisholm Heritage Manor. A huge thank you goes out to the Chisholm Heritage Manor staff who cared so deeply and genuinely for our Dad during his stay there. A private family Memorial Mass was held at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Virginia with Rev. Brandon Moravitz officiating. Burial was in the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Duluth. Arrangements were with Landmark Funeral Home in Virginia.
He was born on May 22, 1926, to Steve and Ann (Strukel) in Ely. Rudy graduated from Ely High School and attended the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis. He was a World War II and Korean War veteran and a member of American Legion Post 45. Rudy married Agnes Mesojedec in June 1953 and later married Angeline Pertz in 1973.
Rudy worked at the Soudan Underground Mine and the Ely Pioneer Mine; he also owned and operated several businesses, including the Friendly Tavern Bar, Rudy’s Amusement Machine business, Snow Shield, Ruann’s Teen Center and his first wife’s Town & Country Beauty Salon. He was also the Tax Assessor for the Township of Breitung.
Rudy enjoyed hunting, fishing and camping, especially with his brothers, Ted and Albert. During his retirement years he traveled several times to visit relatives in Yugoslavia and enjoyed residing in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., which he often called Paradise. He was extremely proud of his family and cherished his children, grandchildren and especially his great-grandchildren. He loved playing cards, home-cooked meals, and attending Saturday Masses with family members.
He is survived by his son, Michael (Beth) Grahek; daughter, Marjorie (Randall) Johnson; grandchildren, Ashley (Justin) Morken, Adam (Christina) Grahek, Courtney (Casey) Aluni and Whitney (Ryan) Cobby; great-grandchildren, Aubri, Emmi and Halli Aluni, Harper and Hudson Cobby; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 34 years, Angeline Pertz; parents; brothers, Ted and Albert; sisters, Ann (Inky) Stefanich, Mary (Mitzy) Grahek, Marcella Gardiepy and Dorothy in infancy; and first wife and mother of his children, Aggie (Mesojedec) Taylor.
Paula “Nana” Freyholtz, 60, of Gheen, passed into the heavenlies to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, after a long bout with COPD and lung cancer. Paula requested no service. Her wish was for friends and family to go fishing for a day in her memory. Arrangements are with Mlaker Funeral Home of Cook.
Paula was born and raised in Forest Lake and eventually settled in Gheen, where she met and married her husband of 33 years, Gene Freyholtz. The Lord blessed them with a lucrative logging business and they were able to retire early and just slow down and enjoy life.
Paula enjoyed her pets, fishing, and especially ice fishing on Lake of the Woods. She enjoyed puttering in the garden, trying new kinds of kitchen gadgets, birdwatching, reading, and just sitting and watching nature.
Paula is survived by her husband, Gene Freyholtz; sister, Irene (Dennis) Udovich of Greaney; brothers, John (Kay) Fischer of Forest Lake, Bob (Diane) Fischer of Zimmerman and Mark (Wendy) Fischer of Forest Lake; stepdaughters, Darla (Roy) Ballard and Shawna (Justin) Rosenlund; seven grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her son, Daniel Nygren; grandson, Tyler Nygren; parents, Emil and Mary Fischer; and brothers, Jim Fischer and Gary Fischer.
Priscilla J. Mickle
Priscilla J. Mickle, 81, of Soudan, passed away on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, at Edgewood Vista Memory Care in Virginia. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Arrangements are with Landmark Funeral Home in Virginia.
She is survived by her husband, Mike Mickle; children; grandchildren; great-grandchildren; sister; brothers; and many nieces and nephews.
Graham W. Grilley
Graham William Grilley, 84, of Orr, has died. The family would like to thank the Orr Ambulance for their speedy response and the Cook Care Center for taking such good care of Graham while he was there. There will be a celebration of life in the spring or summer of 2021. Arrangements are with Mlaker Funeral Home of Cook.
Graham was born on April 11, 1936, in New Ulm, to William and Ellen (Zick) Grilley. He grew up in Barnes, Wis., graduating from Drummond High School. After graduation, he moved to Orr, to work at Wally’s Auto Service. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1959, serving two-plus years. Also in 1959, he married Marilyn Poppy in St. Paul. He was a great mechanic, loved plowing snow and grading roads. He also installed septic systems and some of the first outside wood-burning stoves in the area. He had a love of trains all his life and had a model train lay-out that was never finished. He was a lifelong member of the Twin Cities Model Railroad Club and enjoyed getting down there to “play” as often as possible. Graham was a proud member of the American Legion Post 480 Honor Guard of Orr.
Graham is survived by his wife, Marilyn; two daughters, Cheri (Bill) Carter of Orr and Michelle (Brad) Kropp of Logan, Utah; four favorite grandchildren, Laura (Jeff) Julkowski of Orr, Christina (Nick) Reichter of St. Paul, Amy Kropp and Christopher Kropp, both of Logan, Utah; great-granddaughters, “his two little girls”, Chesney and Harley Julkowski of Orr; brother, Ronald (Delores) Grilley; sisters, Anita (Richard) Rauwolf of Barnes, Wis., and Sandra Hanzlik of Poway, Calif.
Graham was preceded in death by his parents; brother and sister-in-law, Leonard and Ruth Grilley; and brother-in-law, Bill Hanzlik.
Lorraine “Toni” Preblich Phelps, 86, a lifelong resident of Ely, passed away at the Boundary Waters Care Center in Ely on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. A Memorial Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 15 at Holy Spirit Church in Virginia for family and close friends. Capacity limit, face masks and social distancing will be in effect. Burial will be at the Ely Cemetery. Funeral services have been entrusted to Landmark Funeral Home in Virginia.
She is survived by her children, LeAnne (Tom) Feehan of Woodbury, Lynette (Orion) Hanson of Atwater and Dr. Lavern “Bucky” (Jodi) Phelps of Virginia; grandchildren, Jodi (Kris) Nyman, Craig (Jen) and Travis (Chris) Hanson, McKenzie and Marija Phelps; great-grandchildren, Andrew, Ty, Atlanta, Henrik, Anders, Freya, Astrid, Autumn and Chloe; sisters, Marjorie Nelson, Flori (Donald) Maroney and Rosie (Gale) Maroney; and many special nieces and nephews.
William R. Jones
William Richard “Bill” Jones, 74, of Tower, died suddenly on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020. A memorial service will be held at a later time.
He is survived by his sons, Ryan (Stacy) Jones and Richard (Mylene) Jones; grandchildren, Mason, Emma and Gavin; and special friend, Beverly (Babs) Allis.
Beryl E. Sersha
Beryl Eileen Johansen Sersha, 92, of Virginia, formerly of Cook, passed away on Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, with her loving husband Bill by her side. The family would like to thank the staff of Edgewood Vista and Caring Edge Hospice for their caring kindness during this difficult time. A memorial service was held on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, at Mlaker Funeral Home in Cook. Memorials are preferred to Trinity Lutheran Church in Cook in Beryl’s name.
She is survived by her loving husband, William “Bill” Sersha of Virginia; son, Roger (Juanita) Sersha of Angora; granddaughter, Rochelle Bristol of Duluth; grandson, Rodney (Shanda) Anderson of Duluth; five great-grandchildren; six great-great-grandchildren; brother, Roger (Jean) Johansen of Virginia; many nieces and nephews;and lifelong friends.
Dwight D. Light
Dwight D. Light, of Embarrass, left this world on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, at his home, peacefully in the compassionate care of his loving wife after a short battle with brain cancer. Dwight loved Montana and wanted his cremains spread on Skalkaho Pass in Montana. To keep everyone safe from COVID-19, there will be no funeral. A celebration of life will be planned for a later date. Arrangements are with Landmark Funeral Home in Virginia.
He is survived by his wife, Cathy; sons, Troy (Stacy) Davidson of Babbitt and Dennis Davidson of Embarrass; grandchildren; great-grandchildren; mother, Donna Light of Fort Dodge, Iowa; sister, Duana Light of West Des Moines, Iowa; brothers, Bruce (Sue) Light, of Gowrie, Iowa, and Mark (Sandy) Light of Adel, Iowa; sisters-in-law, Cindy (Steve) Vesel of Hibbing, Sherry (Bob) Riddel of St. Michael and Lori (Fred) DuFalt of Hibbing; very special friends, Leslie Aubin and Kaitlen Flannigan of Virginia; and numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.
Nancy G. Stanaway
Nancy G. Columbus Stanaway, 79, originally of Tower, a respected elder of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, passed away on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020. Due to the current coronavirus restrictions on gathering, an outdoor family celebration of life will be held in the warm days of spring.
She is survived by her loving and almost perfect children, Marlin “Poncho” (Cheyenne D.) Stanaway, Michele (Mark R.) Maki, Joseph (Laura B.) Stanaway, Sheila “Sissy” (John) Cashman, Gay Stanaway and Charlene (Bill) Evans; her beloved and definitely perfect grandchildren, Derek (Sonya), Jared, Jason, Josef (Mesa), Christian, Christopher, Amanda, Chloe, Jenna, Zachary, Jeremy, Christina and Vince; and her wonderful great-grandchildren, Riley, Addison, Derek Jr. and Thomas.
Marianne K. Dean
Marianne Kay Buvarp Dean, 82, went to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, at the Cook Care Center. Due to COVID restrictions, a celebration of life will be held at a later date.
She is survived by four children, Douglas Dean, David Dean, Daniel Dean and Dawn (Scott) Frazee; grandchildren, Abigail (Ripley), Avery, Zoe, Aubie (Jason), Mandy and Ariana; great-grandchild, Flora; sister, Marcia Norlander; special aunt, Maxine Buvarp; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Irene M. Johnson
Irene May Peterson Johnson, 90, of Ely, died on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020. She was a resident of assisted living for a year when she contracted coronavirus and died after a short illness. Ely friends and neighbors generously offered their help to Irene: Toni Mitchell, Paul and Marisa Haraldson, and Mary Louise Icenhour. The nursing care staff at Aurora Carefree Living gave her excellent care. A private memorial will be planned when that can safely be arranged.
She is survived by her daughters, Susan Johnson (Daniel Arnold), Becky Johnson and Jody Johnson (David Paluch); seven grandchildren; one great-granddaughter; and other close family members, Darrel and Rosemary Johnson, Lowell Johnson, Kimberly Haug and Cathy Bogolub.