Evelyn Buetow

Evelyn Buetow, 95, walked that last portage to join her paddling partner, Harry on February 10, 2018 in her home overlooking Lake Superior in Silver Bay.

Evie was born in St. Paul on May 3, 1922 to Victor and Borghild ‘Pat’ Storberg.  She was a 1940 graduate of St. Paul Central High School and a 1945 graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in journalism.  She always said it should have been in home economics and music.

It was the summer of 1939 that Evie met Harry at YMCA Camp Widjiwagan on Burntside Lake near Ely.  That meeting led her to a 79-year relationship with the camp as children and grandchildren continued the tradition.  The Camp Widjiwagan/Camp duNord experience continues to be an integral part of the family life.

Evie and Harry were married in 1944 and went on their first couple canoe trip for their honeymoon in what is now the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.  This began a lifetime of canoe trips with the family in the BWCAW and Quetico Park, going on her last trip when she was 80.  Fishing was a passion for Evie and Harry from the boundary waters, to Florida, to Montana and Alaska.  She had a deep love and appreciation for wilderness and water.

The family moved to Silver Bay in 1955 when it was a new town, drawn to the town not only because the town needed a dentist but because of the fishing, hunting and canoeing possibilities.

Even though she had three young children, she quickly became involved in the community.  She was a Brownie/Girl Scout leader; on the building committee for the Silver Bay Public Library and the board; member of the PTA, and the AAUW.  Other interests included hiking, cross-country skiing, knitting, reading, newspaper puzzles (in ink), and traveling.

Evie’s home was always filled with a wide variety of music.  She sang in a trio in high school, The Harmony Hags and at the University in the Tri Delt Trio.  She also sang in the Sychar Lutheran Church choir, Borealis Chorale in Grand Marais, and with the totally unique, amazing Singing Moms.

In addition, she taught piano lessons, played hand-bells, and took organ lessons at St. Scholastica in order to be the Sychar organist. She attended Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra concerts for over 40 years.  In her last weeks, Classical MPR was her constant companion.

She was an excellent cook and baker.  Her home-ground cracked wheat bread was legendary and was mailed to many a college dormitory over the years.  The great grandchildren are already hooked on “Oma Bread.”

Everyone always had to taste something at least once and no one was allowed to pick out onions or green peppers.

Evie was a curious, interested and interesting person who reached out to people of all ages with attention and friendship.  She had a sparkle and smile for everyone, a sharing, generous and loving nature.  She was a devoted mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. She will be greatly missed by family and friends especially at 5 o’clock wine time.

Surviving are her children, Christine of Grand Marais, and her children, Odin (Betsy) Jorgenson; and Anna (Will) Sandstrom; David (Pat) of Charlotte, North Carolina and their children, Teresa (Mike) Gigante, Will (Carrie) Buetow; Eric (Katie Madden) of Fairbanks, Alaska and their children Alex and Jordan; and great grandchildren, Gunnar, Sigrid, Isaac, Wyatt, Cullen, Brennan, Cosmo, Max and James.

The family wishes to thank Dr. Paul Sanford, Dr. Michael Mollerus, Dr. Daniel Skorich, Dr. Susan Ash and St. Mary’s Hospice.

Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. Memorial Service on Saturday February 24 at Sychar Lutheran Church in Silver Bay

Memorials may be directed to YMCA Camp Widjiwagan – Harry and Evelyn Family Endowment Fund 651 Nicollet Mall, Suite 500 Minneapolis, MN 55402 or donor’s choice.


David Louis Brislance

David Louis Brislance was born December 5, 1940, to Louis and Mary Brislance in Wanamingo Minnesota. He went to Luther College and graduated with a BA degree in art. He worked for D J Peterson Paint Company in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and later for Holcomb Company in Indianapolis, Indiana.

David married Mary Olmanson Brislance in 1964, and they enjoyed just over 53 years together. They lived in Indianapolis for three years, and 36 years in Isle, Minnesota where David taught art and social studies for 33 years and coached boys’ basketball, girls’ basketball, football, and track.

In 2003 they moved to Lutsen and the two built their new home. David enjoyed 15 years in the “Ridge Above Lake Superior” for its scenic beauty and his wildlife photography.

David is survived by his wife Mary; son Jean of Maple Grove; son Brett and wife Blythe of Duluth; two precious grandchildren, Will and Aubrey of Duluth; sister Lorraine and Jeroy Carlson of Edina Minnesota; and sister-in-law Michelle Brislance of Tucson, Arizona; nieces and nephews Liz, Jon, Pablo, Elisabeth, and Suzanne; Mary’s two sisters, Jean and Wayne Andreen of Los Alamitos, California, and Ann and Jim Friederichs of St. Peter, Minnesota.

David will be missed by many family members and friends. The wildlife and the birds will miss their “Chickadee Dave.”

A memorial service for David was held at Lutsen Evangelical Lutheran Church on Saturday, February 10.

Memorials may be sent to Wild and Free in Garrison, Minnesota, Wildwoods in Duluth or Lutsen Lutheran Church.

Willard Charles Nelson

Willard Nelson at his Lutsen homestead

Willard Charles Nelson, a consummate storyteller whose own life on Minnesota’s North Shore and long career in sales became the stuff of family legend, died Jan. 19, 2018. He was 103.

For quite a few years Willard was the oldest known male World War II veteran in northern Minnesota.

He is survived by son Dick Nelson, Lutsen and daughter Connie Ahlberg, Burnsville; grandchildren Joel (Crystal) Nelson, Sterling, Colorado., Noelle Nelson (Paul P. Phillips), Minnetrista, Minnesota, Monique (Eric) Albright, Midland, Michigan, and Erik (Tami) Ahlberg, Singapore; great-grandchildren Joshua Albright, Wyatt Nelson, Jordan Nelson, Maya Albright, Carter Albright, Kjerstin Ahlberg and Andrew Ahlberg; and lifelong dear friend Bob Watts of Duluth.

Willard was known and called Willard by his family and Cook County roots; however in the military and business world he was always “Bill” Nelson. No one knew who you were talking about if you used the wrong first name in the wrong setting.

Willard enjoyed sitting by a fire and scouring the day’s newspapers. But it was his own stories, often repeated, that over the course of time became larger than life.

There was the one about carrying individual rocks from the shores of Lake Superior with his brother and father to craft a cobblestone fireplace. Or fighting off a bear during an 11-mile walk in the woods because his brand-new Buick didn’t start after a day of blueberry picking. Or about telling a guest at his cabin on Clara Lake that bear were so plentiful that year, why, he bet he could open the door and a bear would be standing there. And a bear was standing there.

A few of his favorite things: his treasured family and its lineage to include the story of Lutsen, engaging others, a sometimes-crude joke, polka music, trips around Isle Royale, T-shirts and caps with off-color humor, and a belief that the Minnesota wildlife seemed hell-bent to annoy him personally.

Willard was born in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, on November 11, 1914, returning to Lutsen on the America. His father Carl rowed out in a skiff to get Phoebe and baby Willard, who was handed down to his father in the boat.

He left home at age 18 with $20 in his pocket, encouraged by Charlie Ward of Brown & Bigelow, who felt Willard had more promise than working on his parents’ resort on Caribou Lake could offer.

Willard’s career in sales began by selling Brown & Bigelow calendars, then to Standard Oil, and later to Roosevelt Fiat Motors of America. He rose to become vice president and national sales manager, and was fascinated to meet and work with Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr.

Businessman Willard Nelson

A veteran, Willard was a proud member of the Minnesota National Guard 34th Infantry Division. On March 1, 1941, Willard was one of 600 men who left the Duluth Armory and marched down London Road and Superior Street to the Duluth depot. There they boarded a troop train to Louisiana, destination Camp Claiborne. However, Willard and the men who became his tent-mates were part of an advance detail to set up camp in a sea of mud.

He remained devoted and enriched by his tent mates at Camp Claiborne for what is now 77 years. In 2018, just two remained: Bob Watts and Bill Nelson as part of the 34th “Red Bull” Infantry Division. Bill called Bob “the kid” because when they enlisted Bob was not truthful with his age of only 16. In 1947, Bob organized a luncheon at the Pickwick Restaurant in Duluth, which has had a monthly noon business lunch of the 125th Field Artillery Division. Those Army comrades have met on the second Tuesday of every month since 1947—70 years—840 meetings. The kid organized and conducted every meeting. Bill now defers to “the kid Bob,” who is the last man standing.

Willard, devoted to his family and its Swedish heritage, was proud of his grandfather, Charles Axel Nelson, who with his wife Anna Nelson (nee Peterson) settled at the mouth of the Poplar River at what became Lutsen Resort. Willard and his wife Dorothy journeyed to Norrköping, Sweden in 1980 to glean Charles Axel’s family origin.

They met with the publisher of Norrköping’s newspaper and were assisted in finding the small house where Charles grew up.

When Willard retired to Lutsen he was dismayed at the condition of the Lutsen Cemetery. All of the county townships had dissolved after each school closing. Willard went door-to-door to get signatures to begin the Lutsen Township with the personal hope that the neglected cemetery would get care from the township. His efforts were successful, and Tofte and Schroeder townships soon followed.

Willard was preceded in death (in order in which they passed) by his father, Carl F. Nelson; brother Harold Nelson; mother Phoebe J. Nelson; sister Dorothea Nelson; brother Thomas Nelson; and beloved wife Dorothy Elvira Nelson (nee Engebretsen).

Profound gratitude to Becky and Loren Stoner of Hill Haven in Grand Marais; Cook County North Shore Hospital and Care Center medical staff; Ecumen Scenic Shores; and St. Croix Hospice.

In the ecumenical spirit a Celebration of Life memorial service for Willard will be held this Memorial Day at Lutsen Lutheran Church. A Catholic mass will be celebrated by Father Seamus Walsh at 11 a.m. May 28. A traditional Scandinavian meal will be served in the Lutsen Resort dining room following the memorial service.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts are preferred to the Lutsen Cemetery Association Perpetual Maintenance Fund, or the American Heart Association.

Jennifer Rue

Jennifer Rue passed away on Feb. 6, at Essentia Hospital in Duluth, where she was a patient on the Oncology Palliative Care Unit.

Jennifer was employed at Cook County Public Health & Human Services for eight years. She provided support for individuals who were struggling with mental health symptoms and chemical dependency needs.

Jen liked helping people and was a wonderful friend, sister and aunt. Her dry wit and helping hand will be missed by many. Services for Jennifer will be on Saturday, Feb. 17, from 2-4 pm, at the Cremation Society located in Duluth.

John Henry Eliasen, Jr.

John Henry Eliasen Jr. passed away Jan. 24, 2018, in Harlingen, Texas, from complications after heart surgery.

He was born in Duluth on April 24, 1933, to J. Henry and Ellen (Spelman) Eliasen. He graduated high school in 1950 in Grand Marais and attended college at St. Olaf College and the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1953, and, due to unusual circumstances, also served in the Army National Guard at UMD, the Air Force, and the Marines. He attended flight school in Pensacola, Fla.; served as a Navy pilot, Lt. J.G., stationed in Okinawa, Alaska, Whidby Island (Wash.), and San Diego; and was honorably discharged in 1957.

He married Sharon Noyes in 1957, and they moved, briefly, to Milwaukee. They then purchased and operated Clearwater Lodge on the Gunflint Trail in Grand Marais. They built a home on Maple Hill and John Henry resumed logging (his real passion since early childhood). Through the years he owned and operated North Shore Jobbing and Eliasen Equipment, buying and selling logging machinery.

John Henry and Sharon purchased and remodeled their current home on the Lake Superior shore in the early 1980s. He enjoyed remodeling a cabin and sailing on Devil Track Lake.

He and Sharon spent the past 11 years wintering in Rancho Viejo, Texas (105 Santa Ana Ave., 78575) with wonderful friends and family visits.

Since he would enjoy a good list: He was a gardener, chef, inventor, avid reader, artist, bread baker, lifelong learner, researcher, mechanic, welder, tinkerer, eclectic collector, boat builder, woodworker, organizer, and hard worker. He had a great sense of humor and loved to tease. He especially enjoyed his family, dogs, Lake Superior, and small children. He was tough, strong, generous, affectionate, loyal, sentimental, and one of a kind. His wide toothy grin, twinkling eyes, and chuckle will be missed by many. He lived out his motto every day: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

JHE is survived by his wife, Sharon, of 60 years; four children, Janis (Bud) Viren of Billings, Christy (Steve) Lindell of Seattle, Karin (Moshe) Bronstein of Petah Tikvah, Israel, and Donn (Geri) Eliasen of Grand Marais; three grandchildren, Matthew (Angel) Viren (Billings), Mia Lindell (San Francisco), and Berit Lindell (Boston); and three great-grandchildren, Pierce, Johnathan, and Gunnar; three siblings, Barbara Brown, Ruth (Charles) Tice, and James (Liz) Eliasen; and many nieces and nephews.

There was a gathering to celebrate his life with his Rancho Viejo friends and neighbors and a few family members on Friday, Jan. 26.

A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, July 28 at 2 p.m. at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Grand Marais. Memorial gifts may be given to Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Grand Marais or to Trinity Lutheran Church in Hovland.

Monica Alice Johnson

Monica Johnson, 88, Two Harbors, died Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at Ecumen Scenic Shores.

Monica was born December 27, 1929 to Theodore and Anetha (Robinson) Wannebo in Biwabik, Minnesota. She grew up and attended schools in Two Harbors and on May 9, 1953 married Milford Johnson.

Monica was employed by the DM&IR for several years in their phone company and later worked with Milford commercial fishing on Isle Royale and operating the Wenonah passenger boat between Grand Portage and Isle Royale.

Monica was a member of Holy Spirit Catholic Church.

She enjoyed spending winters traveling to visit their children.

Monica was preceded in death by her parents and siblings Anetha, Peter, Joseph, Bertha, Theodore, and Lenore.

She is survived by her husband, Milford; daughters, Tracey (Mark) Berge of Lewisville, Texas, Terrie (Brian) Gressman of Evergreen, Colorado, Tammie (Roland) Decker of Fairfield, California; a son, Todd (Kristi) Johnson of Neosho, Missouri; 12 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren; and sisters, Nella and Theo.

Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial on Friday, February 16, 2018 at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Two Harbors.

Viola Nelson

Viola Nelson, 103, of Duluth, formerly of Grand Marais,  and Wenona, Illinois died Sunday, January 14, 2018 at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth.

Viola was born August 7, 1914, the first of two children, to Bernard and Florence (Flesburg) Crone in Wenona.  She graduated from Wenona High School and Illinois State University in Normal with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She was an elementary and remedial reading teacher in Wenona, Leaf River, Benson and Minonk-Dana-Rutland public schools, all in Illinois, for 25 years.

She and Carl J. Nelson, also a teacher, were married October 10, 1942 and to this union were born two sons, Wayne (Mary Mathews) of Duluth and Donald (Mary Jo) of Ft. Myers, Florida.

After Carl and Vi’s retirement in 1974, they moved to Grand Marais. She moved to Duluth in 2003 following his death.

In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her parents; one sister Eleanor (James) Winter; sister-in-law Lillian Nelson; two brothers-in-law, James Winter and Maurice Lindvall.

She is survived by her two sons and their wives; three grandchildren, Julie (Trent) Helland, Lake St. Louis, Missouri; Scott (Stephanie) Nelson, St. Charles, Missouri; Todd (Stacy Reuter) Nelson, Lake Ozark, Missouri; sister-in-law, Marian (Nelson) Lindvall, of Denver, Colorado; two nieces, Janice (Gale) Miller of Denver and Anita (Curtis) Addicks of Bloomington, Illinois; one nephew Robert (Marcia) Winter of Taylor Ridge, Illinois; 12 great grandchildren; one great-great granddaughter; five great nieces and five great nephews.

A memorial service will be scheduled this spring at Bethany Lutheran Church in Wenona.

Memorial gifts can be made to Bethany Lutheran Church, First Congregational-United Church of Christ in Grand Marais, or any child welfare charity of the donor’s choosing.

Virgil Lindquist

Virgil “Virg” Lindquist passed away unexpectedly on January 16, 2018, in Tucson Arizona. He was 85 years old.

Virg was born September 14, 1932, in St. Paul, to Emil “Fritz” Fritjof  and Jennie Lindquist of Grand Marais, Minnesota. Fritz was a Baptist minister, Clerk of Court, and finally owned the Shell and Spur service stations in Grand Marais, where Virg worked while growing up.

The family also owned two “deep-sea” boats (Sea King and Sea Queen) and Virg would take clients out on Lake Superior, to troll for lake trout.

After graduating from Cook County High School, in 1950, Virg attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where he graduated in industrial arts and was also enrolled in the ROTC program. Upon graduating he served in the Air Force for four years, eventually as a pilot stationed mostly in Florida and Texas.

After leaving the military, Virg worked in the insurance industry for 50 years, owning his own insurance agency in Grand Marais for 45 years.

In 1962 Virg married Nancy Gunderson Vervoort and they had a long and wonderful marriage together, celebrating their 55th anniversary last March.

They have three children, Jeffrey Vervoort of Pullman, Washington, Jennifer Vervoort-Smith of Phillip Island, Australia, and Barry Lindquist of Fairbanks, Alaska.

Virg lived most of his life in Grand Marais. He and Nancy had a house in Grand Marais and spent summers up at their cabin on Devil Track Lake. They moved to SaddleBrooke, Arizona in 2000 first as winter residents, spending the summer months at their Devil Track cabin, enjoying the best of both worlds.

Virg loved to work around their properties, doing landscaping, carpentry, and other projects—always striving to improve things. He was not one who had much personal experience with idle time.

Virg was well known and respected in the community of Grand Marais and throughout Cook County. When people would have an accident, other major crises, or just wanted advice, Virg would often be the first one to get a call. He had a large circle of friends, both in Cook County and Arizona.

Virg was known for his huge, beaming smile and enjoyed meeting and talking with people. He loved telling stories, particularly of all the interesting people he had known over the years and had an uncanny ability to remember people’s names and know their interesting stories, usually to great detail. He kept the following passage with him that encapsulated his outlook on life: Always pray to have eyes that see the best in people, a heart that forgives the worst, a mind that forgets the bad, and a soul that never loses faith in God. He had a very positive impact on the many people he interacted with throughout his long life.

Virg was very active in community service. He served on the North Shore Hospital and Care Center board for 15 years, 10 years as chairman. He also served on the Arrowhead Electric board and on the Park and Recreation Board of Grand Marais, among many other contributions to the community.

Virg was a 50 year member of the Masonic Lodge, a 50 year member of the Grand Marais Lions Club, and a member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church of Grand Marais.

Virg was also highly involved in community service in Arizona where he was on the SaddleBrooke Symphony Guild and the Tucson Symphony Board of Trustees. He was also active in SaddleBrooke Community Outreach. He was an active member of the Resurrection Lutheran Church.

Virgil is preceded in death by his brother, Donald.

Virgil is survived by his wife Nancy; sons Jeffrey (Kathleen) and Barry and daughter Jennifer (Rob); sister Janet Lindquist and brother Gordon (Joyce) Lindquist; special niece Dawn Marie Lindquist; grandsons Tyson Vervoort of St Paul,  Harrison and Parker Smith of Minneapolis,  and Keith and Kyle Lindquist of Fairbanks, Alaska; granddaughters, Jennifer Becsi of Peoria, Arizona and Kaitlin Vervoort of Syracuse, New York; two great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.




Karl Bruce Smit

Karl Bruce Smit passed away at North Shore Health on November 28, 2017 at the age of 74.

Karl was born on June 22, 1943 to Esther (Brosdowski) and Karl John Smit in St. Louis, Missouri.

Karl graduated from O’Fallon Technical High School in 1963. After graduating he went active duty in the Navy. He was assigned to the USS-Hector, a repair ship in Sasebo, Japan. Karl returned to St Louis, where he worked in industrial maintenance.

In 1967, Karl married V. A. Thompson. Their son, Wade Alan, was born in 1970. Karl’s family moved to Salem, Missouri, where he worked in Amax Lead Mine until it closed in 1986.

Karl returned to St Louis to work, where he met Pamela McDougall. They were married in 1990 in Gasconade County, Missouri. Karl did not realize, marrying a Minnesotan meant he would eventually live in Minnesota. Karl and Pam moved to Cook County in 1996.

Karl made many friends while working at Lutsen Mountains and Superior National Golf Course. He was becoming a Minnesotan. He enjoyed watching Lake Superior, drives through the woods, and hot dishes.  Karl loved to spend time with Pam and their cats.

Karl is preceded in death by his father in 1971 and his mother in 1996. He is survived by his wife, Pamela McDougall, of Grand Marais and his son, Wade, of Gallatin, Missouri.

Please drop in to remember Karl Smit on January 17, 2018 at Birch Grove Community Room 1, in Tofte, 12:30-2:30pm. All are invited to share photos and stories about Karl.

Veronica Irene (Deschampe) Olson

Veronica Irene (Deschampe) Olson, 85, of Grand Portage, passed away at home on Wednesday, January 3, 2018, surrounded by her family. She was born August 29, 1932 in Grand Portage. She enjoyed traveling, bingo, the casino and most of all spending time with family. She was a member of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

Veronica is preceded in death by her parents, Joseph and Theresa (Morrison) Deschampe; eight brothers; one sister and three children, Shirley Sylvester, Brian Olson and Sheryl Olson.

She is survived by her husband Edward A. Olson; daughters, Sharon Olson and Carol Cleveland; son-in-law Leonard Sylvester; grandchildren Gail (Wallace) Deschampe, Tammy Custer, Shaunna Wood, Vanessa (John) LeMaster, Ryan (Leslie) Olson, Jennifer (Paul) Spry, Kristi Krenz, Desiree (Howard) Likiaksa and Darren (Eden) Waha; 19 great-grandchildren; 10 great-great grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, January 10 at 11:00 a.m. at Mt. Rose Community Church, Grand Portage. Burial will be in the spring at Mt. Rose Cemetery, Grand Portage.