James Warren Nelson

James Warren Nelson, 81, of Tofte, passed away peacefully on September 8, 2018 in Duluth.

He was born March 31, 1937 in Two Harbors to Edward and Dorothy Nelson. He was raised in Lutsen and graduated from Cook County High School in 1955.

After proudly serving his country in the U.S. Army, he returned to the North Shore to open Jim’s Barber Shop in Grand Marais and Lester River Barber Shop in Duluth.

His passion for flying then landed him in a career he loved: flying private and corporate jets. His experiences of piloting musicians and movie stars were central to the many stories he was famous for telling. His favorite to share, though, was the time he flew his hero, General Chuck Yeager.

One of Jim’s happiest moments was in 1963 when he purchased the land to build his cabin on Kemo Lake, which he did with his father and siblings. Family and friends will forever cherish the memories of fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, boating, laughter and love shared at his beloved Kemo, and many more will continue to be made as the traditions are carried on today by his son, Blake.

He loved company and the B.S., but mostly the “B.S.”

Jim is preceded in death by parents Edward and Dorothy (Nelson) and brothers Jerry, Gene and Lyle.

He is lovingly survived by sister Nancy; brothers Glen and Ken; sons Blake of Duluth and Stein Eric of Sandnes, Norway; Blake’s mother Lane (Wilson) Nelson; grandchildren Addison, Vetle and Olliver, and many cherished nieces, nephews and friends.

Jim left the world as he lived in it – on his own terms.

A celebration of life will be held at the Lutsen Lutheran Church on Saturday, October 20 at 11 a.m. A lunch will follow.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Disabled American Veterans, DAV.org

Gary Ralph Lowell Nelson

Gary Ralph Lowell Nelson passed away at his home on October 8, 2018 with his daughters holding him in their arms, fulfilling his wishes on how he wanted his final days to be spent.

Gary was diagnosed with Mesothelioma in 2015, and his family is ever-grateful for the extra time they had with him beyond what was originally expected.

He was born on December 14, 1936 to Ralph Hjalmer Nelson and Ruby Lenore (Helmerson) Nelson.  He was a third generation Norwegian immigrant homesteader of Cook County, and was most-proud of being 100 percent Norwegian, as well as “a local” of Grand Marais.  Gary lived his entire life in Cook County, except for the year his family spent in Excelsior, Minnesota when Gary was a young teenager.

Gary’s young life was spent enjoying idyllic days with his grandparents, John and Tillie Nelson, and Herman and Lena Helmerson.  Family gatherings were most often enjoyed at the Nelson homestead on Maple Hill, or the Helmerson homestead on Good Harbor Hill or their Pike Lake Resort.

Gary’s grandfathers taught him to love fishing and hunting, being out in the woods, and how to be a dependable and persistent worker; being strong and fearless was important.

In 1955, Gary married Patricia Stephens. They built a home next door to his parents who were always a guiding presence in the lives of Gary and Pat, and their daughters.

When his daughters were young, time was spent ice fishing, on marathon snowmobile rides, picnics with his uncle and aunt, Hjalmer and Rachel Helmerson, partridge hunting, long Sunday afternoon rides on gravel roads, bear watching at the dump, hauling firewood, making sure no hands were ever idle, and visiting with family and friends.

In 1984, Gary married Lois Paulette “Polly” (Lehto) Mathisen.  Gary and Polly shared 32 years of marriage before Polly passed away in 2015.

Their home on Coyote Ridge was a sanctuary for them where they enjoyed watching and feeding the many deer, fox, birds, coyotes, chipmunks, and all the creatures of the forest.

The day before he passed, he told his daughter Kathryn, with a big, broad smile, “there is no place on Earth I would rather be.”

Gary loved doing everything well, and for being known for that.  He was extremely proud of his tireless work ethic and the friends he made along the journey of his working career which began as a youth selling fish for his uncle, Russell Zerbach. His career included working for C.O. Backlund & Sons, Cook County Highway Department where he worked alongside his father, owning his own trucking company, and after retiring from Hedstrom’s Lumber Company, Gary continued to work for Edwin E. Thoreson where he was appreciated for his finesse, ability, and engineering genius for operating an old-time road grader and building roads.  He showed the younger generation how it was done, becoming a mentor to some.  He only quit working at the age of 78, when his health began to decline in 2015.

After his retirement, Gary was a self-identified “gad-about” and enjoyed nothing more than his daily “appointments” with his friends for breakfast at South of the Border and coffee breaks at Subway or The Donut Shop.

He had special memories with each of his friends, as well as an often-humorous anecdote for each that was told often.  The space to name all of his friends is not adequate, but you know who you are and what you meant to Gary.

He will be particularly missed by his good, long-time friend, Clifford Berglund, with whom he shared a special bond.

Gary’s family is grateful to his many friends that kept a close eye on him over the past three years and before.  It has been a comfort to know that their dad was loved and cared for by so many.

The deck of the Java Moose was where he could be found in recent months, enjoying the afternoon sunshine and people-watching, drinking coffee or eating ice cream, surrounded by his family and friends.  These are cherished moments and will be held dear forever.

Gary enjoyed home-cooked meals and sweet desserts crafted by Kathryn; being the apple of everyone’s eye; vintage automobiles; telling a good “Ole & Lena” joke; music of the Bee Gees; being outside doing anything; road grading; spending time with his family; wood working; fashioning diamond willow walking sticks; fixing anything that needed to be fixed; and sharing a laugh with anyone around.

Gary was a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan for 50-plus years, who never gave up the hope of a Super Bowl win.  His love of the “Purple People Eaters” was everlasting, and he was delighted by that Sunday’s win.

He will be lovingly remembered for his loyalty, tenacious spirit, twinkling blue eyes, devilish smirk, flirtatious manner, youthful handsomeness, subtle wit, looking dapper, and according to his mother and those that were blessed enough to see them, his beautiful feet, of which he was very proud.

Gary was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Lois Paulette “Polly” (Lehto) Nelson, and great-grandson, Mercer Gustav Everson.

He is survived by his daughters, Doretta Nelson Busbey (Doug), Kathryn Nelson-Pedersen (Mark), and Stephanee Nelson Everson (Ronald); his grandchildren that adoringly called him, “Papa”, Tyler (Carrie) LeGarde, Brienne (Anton) Moody, Dustin (Gina) Nelson, Andrew (Simone) Strand, Alex (Breanna) Everson, Natalie Everson (Furqan Balouch), Lily Nelson Pedersen, Dengalo, Sigame and Sitota Busbey; great grandchildren, Eero and Hiver Moody, and Aiden and Sophia Everson; sister Charlene Anderson, and beloved feline companion, Toby.

The family requests in lieu of flowers, a donation be made in Gary’s name to the Lake County Humane Society, PO Box 27, Two Harbors, MN 55616.

Memorial service to be held at Bethlehem Lutheran Church at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 16, 2018. Interment following service at Poplar Grove Cemetery with a luncheon to follow at Bethlehem Lutheran Church.

To sign the online guestbook please visit www.cavallinfuneralhome.com.


Lucille Dols

Lucille Rita (Rumpza) Dols, age 75, passed away Friday, Aug. 3, 2018, at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

Lucy was born April 24, 1943, to Jacob and Valeria Rumpza. She attended grade school at St. Joseph Catholic school in Grenville, S.D., and graduated high school in 1961 from Webster, S.D.

She married Jim Dols in June of 1964, having four wonderful children. They moved to Grand Marais, when Jim accepted a job as a Minnesota State Patrol Officer. While raising their children, Lucy also worked as a waitress and domestic violence advocate before taking her final occupation as a U.S. Customs/Inspections Officer (U.S./Canadian border). When both retired, they moved to Blue Earth, Minn., and spent their winters in Leesburg, Fla.

She is survived by sons, Mike (Amy), Chris, Steve (Mandy); six grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; sisters, Marcy (Orvis) Jorganson, Adeline Tracy; brother, William (Marietta) Rumpza; many nieces, nephews and cousins.

She was preceded in death by husband, Jim; son, David; parents and in-laws; five brothers; and four sisters.

A funeral Mass will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Blue Earth, Minn., with Father Peter Klein officiating. Burial will be 3 p.m. Saturday at the Calvary Catholic Cemetery, Blue Earth, Minn.

Lucy will be missed and forever in our hearts.

Janette Hansen Strathy, M.D.

Janette Hansen Strathy, M.D., age 62 of Edina, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on July 28.

Jan was born to Irving and Susan Hansen of Lutsen, Minnesota on April 25, 1956.

She grew up loving the outdoors and the North Shore of Lake Superior.  She graduated early from Cook County High School in 1973, attended Hamline University, Mayo Medical School and Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, completing a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology.  She joined Park Nicollet Medical Center in 1985 and enjoyed a wonderful 31 year career.  Jan served for several years as the Chair, Park Nicollet Clinical Board of Governors.  She also held several leadership positions in the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, including vice chair, District VI and Assistant Secretary of the College.  She received an Outstanding District Service Award in 2004.

Jan served as the legislative chair, Minnesota Section, ACOG and testified many times before the legislature as a tireless advocate for women’s health.  She was an examiner for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology for many years.   Within her department at Park Nicollet, Jan was a mentor and role model for many of her younger partners.

In 2013, Jan was awarded the prestigious Earl G. Young Physician of Excellence Award by the Park Nicollet Foundation.

In her personal time, Jan loved to return to her home of Lutsen.  She was an accomplished and graceful skier, loved the Boundary Waters and Quetico, hiked the full length of the Superior Hiking Trail, could outfish most of the guys, and enjoyed any opportunity to be on the water.

She obtained her private and instrument pilot ratings so she could “intelligently critique” her husband in the air.  She also enjoyed traveling, including trips to the Arctic and Antarctica.

She is survived by her husband, Gregg; son Bryan (Jillian); granddaughter Alexandra Janette; mother Susan Hansen, Grand Marais; sister Lee (Scott) Bergstrom, Grand Marais; sister Ginny (John) Foster, Hopkinton, MA; and many nieces and nephews.  Memorials preferred to Planned Parenthood, Minnesota; Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance; and Gilda’s Club Twin Cities.

A celebration of Jan’s wonderful life will be held at 11 a.m. on September 4 at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Edina.


Dave Miller

A Life Celebration will be held for Dave Miller of Grand Marais on Wednesday, August 1.

A memorial service will be held at St. John’s Catholic Church at 3 p.m.

Friends are also invited to Grandma Ray’s in Grand Marais for dinner and reminiscing at 5 p.m., followed by music with Brothers in Arms

All are welcome.

Walter Thomas “Duffer” Mianowski

Walter Thomas Mianowski died peacefully on April 20, 2018, at the Care Center in Grand Marais.  Walt was overjoyed to be home again in his beloved community after a short stay in Silver Bay.

He was born on February 18, 1927, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Walter Richard Mianowski and Irene (Jocz) Mianowski.  Walt was given a treasured family name that he shared with his dad and an uncle.

The day he was born, Canada and the United States formally entered into diplomatic relations and the U.S. Senate passed the White-Duck Bill, Radio Act of 1927, establishing what is now the Federal Communications Commission.

Walt grew up during the Great Depression and only got to attend school through the eighth grade.  He did not let the hardship of his early years deter him from living a life of friendship and service to family, church, and community.

His first job was as a press operator for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, at age 16, earning $21 per week—pretty good for a teenager in the 1940s but not a living wage.

He went into construction at 18, a vocation he would follow for nearly three decades.  He worked on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, then Koppers, a big engineering and contraction company that sent him on projects in Ohio, Boston, and Baltimore.

Walt moved to Duluth in 1950.  It was in Duluth that he met Jane Wilsey, who was teaching at the school in Esko. They fell in love and got married in 1952.

Walt’s work took them back to West Virginia for a short time, but they missed the North Shore and settled in Grand Marais.  Walt worked on the construction of the Taconite Harbor plant and Jane began teaching in Grand Marais.

Walt worked for many years as the custodian at the old Grand Marais Elementary School.  Prior to that he worked construction for Isak Hansen and C.O. Backlund.  Walt and Jane owned and operated the Montgomery Ward catalogue store in Grand Marais from 1974-1985.

Walt loved to fish, especially at their cabin on Devil Track in the summer and curling in the winter.  He was a life-long golfer, not stopping until he could no longer see the ball. He and Jane loved travel and visited many countries, as well as many trips within the U.S., including Texas, to see their son, John.

Walt believed deeply in community and public service.  He was always looking for ways to help people, especially children.  He helped form Little League Baseball in Grand Marais, served as the announcer at football games, served as a volunteer fire fighter, was a member of the Grand Marais City Council and served as mayor.  Walt also served as a county commissioner, was a founding board member of the Violence Prevention Center, was a member of the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission and the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Board, a member of the Board for the Council on Aging, the Park Board, and an active member of First Congregational Church.

Walt was a long-time leader in the Lions Club, holding many offices including President and District Governor, and was awarded a life membership.

He became a Mason, completing the final degree to become a Shriner.

Generations of children remember Walt as Duffer the Clown, and more kids than can be counted have played with smiley balloons given to them by Walt.  Over the years, Walt gave joy to young and old, leaving a legacy of laughter, kindness and friendship.

Walt was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Irene, and his beloved wife, Jane.

He is survived by his son, John Mianowski, Grand Marais, his sister Dorothy (Jack) Muller, Zelienope, PA, and special friend Geri Jensen, and a niece and nephew.

A memorial service will be held at the Congregational church on July 21, 2018, at 11:00 a.m.  The family requests that memorials be designated for the Shriners Hospitals for Children.

John Frederick Allen

John Frederick Allen was born on March 18, 1947 in London, Minnesota. His parents were the late Harold “Dick” and Ruth Marie (Nelson) Allen. John graduated from Austin Central High School with the class of 1965. He received a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota.

John was a “Jack of all Trades.” One of his first jobs was working for the U.S. Forest Service, building campgrounds in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota. This was when he fell in love with the North Shore.

He then moved on to various construction projects and finally became project manager for wood manufacturing industries that took him to China, Mexico and various places around the United States.

His love for the North Shore always brought him back to Minnesota. He became semi-retired and did odd jobs around the community and finally became a summer canoe guide for a local resort on the North Shore.

John resided in Schroeder, Minnesota. He could be seen walking, riding his bike or flying a kite around the area. He enjoyed attending Blues and Jazz festivals and was very talented at playing an array of instruments. John could often be found jamming with other musicians with his washtub bass fiddle. He also had a reputation as being the best dance partner on the North Shore.

On February 23, 2018 John passed away at Fair Oaks Lodge in Wadena, Minnesota at 70 years of age. He will be dearly missed by his family and friends. Preceding John in death were his parents.

John is survived by his sisters: Sharon Schmeling (Tim Anderson) of Austin, Minnesota and Bonnie Moen (Al) of Eau Claire, Wisconsin and their families. A special thank you goes to Cortney and her staff at Barross Manor in Two Harbors, Minnesota for the care and love they gave to John for the past two years.

A Celebration of Life for his North Shore friends will be held Saturday, June 30, at noon at the Schroeder Town Hall.

Those who wish to attend are asked to bring their memories of
John and a dish to pass. Brats and lemonade will be provided.
Musicians invited to bring instruments for any impromptu tributes.

Nelda Jean Westerlind

Nelda Jean Westerlind passed away on Monday June 4, 2018 at home surrounded by her loved ones.

Nelda was born in Mineral Center, Minnesota on April 1, 1930 to Martin and Teresa Bockovich. She graduated from high school in Cook County in 1947 and went on to business school in Duluth. After business school she worked briefly for Associated Loan Co., Duluth; Central Wholesale Coop, Superior; and Beck Furniture of Duluth before going to work as a civilian employee for the federal government.

She worked in Washington, D.C. for USMC Air, keeping track of where all members of the Marine Air Corp were stationed. She moved to North Carolina in February 1951 and started working at Camp Lejeune in the maintenance department. While working at Camp Lejeune, she met Palmer Westerlind and they were married on May 3, 1953 in North Dakota.

They lived in Garrison, North Dakota where their daughter Susan was born. After moving to a logging camp in Minnesota, they had three sons, Martin, Dennis and Eugene. They moved to Grand Marais in 1964.

After all her children were in school, Nelda worked at various different jobs including the veneer plant, Photo Art Shop (currently White Pine North), Sunday newspaper delivery, U.S. Postal Service and Cook County Soil and Water. She retired in 1992.

She was an active member of the First Baptist Church (currently Cornerstone Church) and held many offices and worked on numerous committees and boards over the years. Her church and church family were important parts of her life over the years.

She volunteered for numerous organizations, including the March of Dimes National Foundation, the PTA, local cancer clinics and the Cook County Historical Society. She was a leader for the Rose Harbor 4-H Club and was the “Daffodil Lady” for the American Cancer Society.  She was the 2001 Senior Citizen of the Year.

Nelda most enjoyed spending time with family at large holiday gatherings, at family game nights, card parties with her sisters and sister-in-law and at Labor Day gatherings at the family farm.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Palmer; brothers, Halbert, Gilbert, Robert and Bruce and sister, Joan.

She is survived by her sisters Nona Smith and Florence Bloomquist and her brother Richard Bockovich; her daughter Susan; sons Martin, Dennis and Eugene; grandson Roger (Andrea); granddaughter Rebecca (Henry); great granddaughters RosaBella and Nevaeh; and dozens of nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers Nelda requested memorials be given to Cornerstone Church or the Cancer Society.

Nelda was cremated and her memorial service will be at Cornerstone Church on Tuesday, June 19 at 1:00 p.m. There will be time for visiting with the family beginning at noon and also following the service.



Joanne Therese Hart

Joanne Therese Hart, poet and long-time resident of Morris, Minnesota and Grand Portage, Minnesota, died peacefully at Sannes Skogdalen Heim in Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin on Saturday, April 28, 2018. Born September 25, 1927, she was 90 years old. Joanne’s devotion to inscribing in poetry the meditative quality of life centered in the non-human world is her legacy to the many who admire her life and work.

Joanne was born in Weehawken, New Jersey to Clarence and Harriet Velz and grew up in Hastings on Hudson, New York. From an early age, she showed an affinity for the literary arts. She graduated with high honors from the College of St Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota.

She married Dean J. Converse in 1949 and bore two sons. She was widowed in 1953. In 1957, she married Nathaniel Hart, with whom she had six more children.

They moved to Morris, where Nathaniel was employed at the University of Minnesota, Morris. Joanne became immersed in the community, where she served in the League of Women Voters, was a voice for progressive policy issues, and raised funds to build a new public library. Joanne’s continued advocacy for improved library services in Minnesota led to her appointment as a delegate to the first White House Conference on Library and Information Services.

In 1974, the family moved to 47 acres on the Pigeon River in the Grand Portage Indian Reservation where, in Joanne’s words: “We lead a simplified life with few conveniences, no TV or plumbing, lots of fresh air and natural beauty.”

Many members of the Grand Portage Band became dear friends with Joanne during the decades she lived on their reservation. Their shared knowledge, respect, and good humor were central to Joanne’s well-being and inspiration.

By the Pigeon River, she wrote poetry, which was published in Dacotah Territory, Sing Heavenly Muse!, Women’s Times, Touchstone, and Great River Review, among others. She was a Fellow at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, where William Stafford was her mentor. She has three chapbooks of poetry: In These Hills, I Walk on the River at Dawn, and The Village Schoolmaster.

In 1992, she joined with visual artist Hazel Belvo to create Witch Tree: A Collaboration. This conjunction of wood cuts and poems about an ancient “spirit place” on Lake Superior’s north shore may be Joanne’s best-known work.

Joanne is preceded in death by her parents; her siblings John and Martha; her first and second husbands, Dean and Nathaniel; and an infant grandson, Elijah.

She is survived by her sister Mary Catherine Jarvis; several nieces and nephews; her children, John, Thomas, Marya, Naomi, Agnes, Natalie, David, and Joseph, and dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, for whom she knitted countless sweaters, mittens, hats, scarves, socks, and dolls.

Friends of Joanne Hart and her family are invited to two public celebrations of her life on the North Shore.

The first is on Friday, August 10, 5-7 pm, Johnson Heritage Post, downtown Grand Marais. Everyone is welcome to an informal Poetry Reading and reminiscing time in honor of Joanne. Family members and friends will be reading from Joanne’s work at 6:00 pm, with time for stories, mingling, and refreshments, and enjoying the artwork by Hazel Belvo and Marcia Casey Cushmore.

Another gathering will be Monday, August 13, 6 p.m., at the Old Log Cabin Community Building in Grand Portage. Gather to share stories and poems. The Stonebridge Singers will perform.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests checks made out to Grand Portage Reservation Tribal Council for an educational scholarship fund in Joanne’s name.

Suzonne Denise Thomas

It is with enduring love and devotion that the family of Suzonne Denise Thomas announces her passing after a months-long battle with cancer on Monday, April 23, 2018 at the age of 55 years.

Denise was born on May 11, 1962.  A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Denise spent her childhood and teen years heavily involved in her church and Baptist youth group where she was a beloved member, devout supporter and mentor for others.

She graduated from Western Hills High School and went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Sam Houston State University with a focus in juvenile justice.  Denise became keenly interested in pursuing work to help troubled youth while still in high school after learning about the profession from a friend and mentor “JJ” who was a loss prevention officer with the Fort Worth Police Department.

After graduation from SHSU, Denise went to work for Edna Gladney Home in Fort Worth, working with foster youth. She later moved to Victoria, Texas and worked for six years with drug-addicted youth in need of mental health services at Devereux Behavioral Services. Subsequently, she moved back to Fort Worth to work for The Bridge, Fort Worth’s Emergency Youth Shelter for homeless youth.  Denise also worked for the Buckner Children’s Home in Dallas where she worked with youth who had become involved with the juvenile crime system, or whose parents were incarcerated.

Denise later developed an interest in and began visiting the far northern states of Minnesota and Wisconsin and fell in love with the scenic landscapes and people of that area.  She moved to Minnesota and spent the next 16 years of her life happily living in the beautiful surrounds of Grand Marais, Minnesota, working in this resort community, developing and enjoying many warm and lasting friendships, and becoming an integral part of the local community.

She loved to bake and often surprised her friends and co-workers with cookies, cakes, and other baked delights.

Throughout her life, Denise was a devoted Aunt to her many nieces and nephews.  She is remembered with deep love and affection by them all.

Denise is preceded in death by her father, James Ray Thomas.

Denise is survived by her mother, Jeni Lott Thomas; sister Debbie Thomas Beyea; brother Steven Thomas; sister-in-law Melinda Wagner Thomas; niece Jennifer Thomas Pope and husband Andrew; niece Stephanie Thomas Houlihan and husband Patrick; nephew Phillip Beyea and wife Jody; nephew Zach Thomas, nephew Galen Beyea, and nine grandnieces and grandnephews.

A celebration of Denise’s life will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 27, 2018, at Western Hills Community Church at 8500 Chapin Road, Fort Worth, Texas 76117.

Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Community Hospice of Texas, 6100 Western Place, Suite 105, Fort Worth, TX 76107, or online at https://www.chot.org/about/donate-to-us/.