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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Obituaries: May 10, 2024


Rebecca L. Swan
Rebecca Lynn “Becky” Swan, “Waawiyaasinokwe” Whirlwind Woman, 45, of Virginia, died unexpectedly on Tuesday, April 30, 2024, in her home. A funeral service was held on Sunday, May 5 at Bauman’s Vermilion Funeral Home in Tower. Spring interment will take place in Lakeview Cemetery in Tower. Family services are provided by Bauman Vermilion, a Bauman Funeral Home in Tower.
Becky was born on June 11, 1978, in Bemidji, the daughter of Victor Swan and Dawn Rae Sam. Becky grew up in Tower, moved to Virginia, and graduated from Virginia High School. She was employed by the East Range DAC in Eveleth and thought of her co-workers as family. Becky was very kind and social, enjoyed gardening, country music, and loved the Purple and Gold.
Becky is survived by her moms, Pam Sherman of Tower and Dawn Rae Sam of Virginia; siblings, Jolene Swan and Blaine Swan, both of Virginia, Zowie Swan III and Josh (Alanna) Sherman, both of Tower, and Jason (Marissa) Sherman of Wisconsin; numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, extended family and friends, including her group home and ERDAC families.
She was preceded in death by her father; and grandma, Margaret Hackey.

Cathryn M. Housey
Cathryn Mary Klaesges Housey, 66, of Sartell, originally of Ely, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, with her family by her side. A private family memorial will be held at a later date. 
She is survived by her husband, Randy Housey of Sartell; son, Anthony Housey of Albany; daughter, Kimberlee Housey of Sartell; granddaughter, Cailin Bowdich of Sartell; grandson, Jacob Housey of Albany; brother, David Klaesges and sister, Jean Zaverl, both of Ely; and other relatives.

Judy Pearson
Judy Pearson, 81, of Duluth and Lake Vermilion, died peacefully at Solvay Hospice House in Duluth on April 29 after an unexpected and swift decline from pancreatic cancer. A memorial service for Judy will be held at Peace United Church of Christ in Duluth on Sunday, May 19, at 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider memorial contributions in her name to Solvay Hospice House, Peace Church, or CHUM, all located in Duluth. 
The daughter of Addis and Robert Holmstrom, Judy was born in Joliet, Ill., on September 11, 1942. A graduate of Joliet High School, Judy attended Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., where she fell in love with David Pearson, a Lutheran seminarian with a sparkle in his blue eyes. The two married in 1963 and she graduated soon after. 
Deeply in love, Judy and David were inseparable for 54 years, until his death in 2017. Despite David’s role as a Lutheran minister that led them to parishes in Chicago, Rice Lake, Minneapolis, Brainerd, Duluth, and Woodbury, Judy still pursued her own career, most recently in marketing at Duluth’s Spirit Mountain, until she retired in the 1990s.
Judy and Dave had five children, two of whom they adopted. They were also passionate advocates for peace and justice. In conjunction with First Lutheran Church in Brainerd, they sponsored a family of 13 Vietnamese refugees. Judy worked tirelessly for weeks to welcome the family to their new country, forming relationships that lasted the rest of her life.
Beyond her husband, her family, and a few dear friends, Judy’s greatest love was the outdoors. From the day they found shoreline property on Lake Vermilion on their honeymoon, Judy worked alongside Dave to build a cabin that became the focal point of vacations, holidays, and celebrations. It eventually evolved into their full-time home, where Judy spent her days riding her bike, doing chores, growing flowers, reading alongside lapping waves, and taking nightly saunas. Every winter, Judy migrated to Sedona, rocks, which she did a month before she passed away.
Judy’s joy for life, love for others, and peaceful equanimity radiated from within. She carried herself with class, was always present, had a fabulous sense of humor, and listened more than she spoke. When she did speak, it was with wisdom. 
Judy is survived by three sisters, Nancy Youngdahl, Carol (Art) Ogren), and June (David) Kroog; her children, Jen (Doug Hoffman), Scott (Kristi) Pearson, Stephanie (Brian Hayden) Pearson, Jon (Deborah) Pearson, and Tim; and her 11 grandchildren, Ellie, Seth, Kai, Jack, Sam, Hannah, Sieanna, Devon, Lucas, Joshua, and James. She will be deeply missed.

Ronald L. Freeman
Ronald Louis Freeman, 69, of Babbitt, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth. A celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 18 at the Babbitt Golf Course.
He is survived by his brother, Tom (Linda) Freeman of Rapid City, S.D.; uncle, Donald Santa; daughter, Jessica Weaver of Rapid City, S.D.; son, Ronald Louis Freeman Jr. of Hibbing; four grandchildren; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.

Stephen D. Comings
Stephen D. “Steve” Comings, 72, of Cook, passed away on Thursday, May 2, 2024. A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, May 19 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the VFW in Cook.

Samuel T. Okstad
Samuel “Sam” Thomas Okstad, 80, born and raised in Winton, died surrounded by loved ones on Thursday, April 11, 2024, after a two-year battle with cancer. Family and friends are kindly invited to attend a celebration of life in Winton on Sunday, July 7. Additional details will be provided closer to the date.
He is survived by his wife, Mary; son, Paul (Tessa); daughters, Karen and Kathryn; grandchildren, Persephone, Topher and Petra; and siblings, Marge and Walter (Bonna).  

Chester C. Leathers
Chester C. Leathers, 84, of Cook, passed away on Thursday, May 2, 2024, at his home. Funeral arrangements are pending with Landmark Funeral Home in Virginia.

Roger N. Waisanen
Roger Neil Waisanen, 81, of Angora, passed away on Monday, May 6, 2024. A memorial visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, May 17 at Mlaker Funeral Home in Cook, with a short prayer service at 6:45 p.m. followed by Military Honors.

Thomas R. Whiteside
Thomas “Tom” Richard Whiteside, 71, of Angora, passed away on Tuesday, May 7, 2024. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 17 at First Baptist Church in Cook, with visitation held one hour earlier at 10 a.m. Arrangements are with Mlaker Funeral Home of Cook.

Charles B. Haxton
Charles Bradley Haxton, affectionately known as Chuck, aged 70 and a resident of Cook, MN, passed away peacefully on May 6, 2024, at his residence surrounded by his devoted family, following a valiant battle against pancreatic cancer.  Arrangements made by Landmark Funeral Home of Virginia. No formal funeral services will be held. A burial service will be held at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery-Duluth on Wednesday, May 15 at 2 p.m.
Chuck was born on August 19, 1953, in Wellsville, N.Y. He graduated from Perry Central High School in 1971 before embarking on a distinguished military journey, enlisting in the Air Force in 1972. His military career spanned decades, culminating in his retirement in 2013 as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army, where he served as a Battalion commander. Beyond his military service, Chuck dedicated himself to serving others, as a weatherization auditor for Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA), a furnace technician for Edward’s Oil, and a TSA officer.
He was a man of many talents and passions, from his love for family to his enthusiasm for flying, firearms, westerns, history, genealogy, and music. Relocating from New York to the scenic landscapes of Minnesota, he transformed his property into a homestead complete with honeybees, chickens, donkeys, and cherished “puppies.” Chuck’s place was a hub of adventure for his children and their friends, who enjoyed activities ranging from hunting and fishing to snowmobiling and dirt biking. An avid ultralight pilot, he found solace in soaring through the skies. A gifted musician, Chuck shared his musical talents across the Iron Range alongside his sister and brother-in-law, even garnering recognition for his abilities while stationed in Korea.
Chuck is preceded in death by his sisters, Judith Anne Haxton Mowrer and Judy K. Allen Johanson, his brothers-in-law Brian P. Hanke and Richard C. Edblom, and his parents, Charles R., and Beverly McCracken Haxton.
He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Ida Mowrer Haxton, his children Daniel Haxton of Cook, Jared (Jennifer) Haxton of Duluth, Chelsea (Paul) Haxton  Raukar of Chaska, his brothers Stephen M. Haxton of Austin, Texas, James (Kim) Haxton of Levittown, N.Y., his sisters Marianne (Rod) Haxton Violette of Natchez, Miss., Jo Haxton Edblom of Elizabethtown, Ky., Rebecca (Fred) Haxton-Johns of Colonial Beach, Va., his grandchildren Kylie Haxton, Ellis Haxton, Evan Raukar, Miles Raukar, and Jana Raukar, as well as numerous other relatives and friends whose lives were touched by his kindness and warmth.