Camilla Ann Alton

Camilla Ann Alton, age 90, of Wayzata, Minn., Palm Beach, Fla., Madeline Island, Wisc. and Grand Marais passed away peacefully on January 5, 2019, of Parkinson’s disease, surrounded by her loving family.

Camilla was born in 1928 in Slayton, Minn. and later moved to Pipestone, Minn., where she graduated from high school in 1946. Camilla married her high school sweetheart and started a family.

She devoted her life to her husband and five children, and was a loving, attentive wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Camilla was the steadfast matriarch of the family. She was always interested in your life story. She was a very good listener and remembered what you told her.

She was a voracious reader of the newspapers from all of the communities to which she was connected. She was interested in many topics including medicine, history, geography, people, plants and animals, especially Minnesota loons and birds. She had a superior knowledge of vocabulary and spelling.

She was an excellent candidate for college but never found time to attend, although she supported her husband and all of her children in pursuing a college education and graduate study.

Camilla enjoyed spending time with her husband at their lake homes in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin.

She also really enjoyed traveling abroad with her daughters on guided tours of many European countries, Israel, China, Australia and New Zealand, and an African safari.

Camilla had many good friends in Florida, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her, especially her five children.

She is preceded in death by her husband of 72 years, Howard R. (Bob) Alton, Jr.; her parents, Roland and Bertha DeMong; sisters, Norene Harty and Darlene Jacobsen.

She is survived by her children, Judge Ann L. Alton (Retired), Jeanine Alton-Ryan (Shawn Ryan), Howard R. (Robin) Alton, III, Patricia Alton Baker (Jeffrey), and Michelle Alton Bonomo (Sammy); 13 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were held on January 10, 2019 at Wayzata Community Church in Wayzata. Burial at Lakewood Cemetery.

Memorials preferred to the Alton Fund at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Helene Bernice Smith

Helene Bernice Smith, 97, Grand Marais, died Sunday January 13, 2019 at North Shore Health.

She was born on September 15, 1921 to Leno and Margaret (Smith) Mosher in Rockford, Illinois, and moved to Cook County at age seven.

Over the years she worked at many different jobs, the last being 16 years a prep cook at Harbor Inn.  Helene was married to Jewel Smith and was a member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Grand Marais.

She is preceded in death by her parents, husband, Jewel and a son, Larry.

Helene is survived by grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and nieces and nephews.

Per Helene’s wishes no services will be held.

To sign the online register book please visit

Clarice Krotz

Clarice Krotz, 69, Grand Maris, died Friday, January 11, 2019 at North Shore Health in Grand Marais.

Clarice was born December 17, 1949 to Clarence and Dorothy (Rindahl) Krotz in Grand Marais, where she was a life-long resident.

In 1965 at 16 years old, Clarice soloed our father’s J3 Piper Cub airplane on floats.

After high school graduation in 1967, she enrolled in the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, majoring in history.  She returned to Grand Marais and worked for many years at the family resort, Skyport Lodge.

Clarice enjoyed doing artwork, visiting with family and friends and reading the Bible, which she did cover to cover many times over!

Clarice was preceded in death by her parents.

She is survived by her sisters, Ginger Berglund and Kathy (Doug) Finn; and nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, January 17, 2019 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Grand Marais.

To sign the online register book please visit


Rolf Osmund Skrien

Rolf Osmund Skrien, 97, Grand Marais, died peacefully on Wednesday, January 2, 2019 at North Shore Care Center, with his family at his side.

He was born on February 18, 1921 to Albert and Charlotte (Skalet) Skrien in Ulen, Minnesota.  Rolf graduated from high school in Morris, then attended West Central School of Agriculture and San Diego Vocation School.   Rolf worked at Solar Aircraft in San Diego from 1942-1943 and then served in the US Coast Guard (Navy) from 1943 to 1946 during World War II.

In 1929, Rolf’s father brought him and his brothers on a life changing adventure by driving a Model T from Morris up the North Shore of Lake Superior to Grand Marais and camping along the way.  This trip made a great impression on Rolf, so after the war, he convinced his buddies to join him at the end of the Gunflint Trail for an early spring canoe trip.  When they returned, their outfitter, Al Hedstrom, owner of End of the Trail Lodge, asked Rolf to stay on and work as a fishing guide.

From 1946 to 1954 Rolf guided fishing and canoe trips on Seagull, Saganaga and other lakes in the US and Canada. He purchased a log cabin on Seagull after WWII and lived there for many years reinforcing his love of the wilderness. He eventually sold the cabin to the US Forest Service when the area was designated as the BWCA in 1964. While working as a guide at End of the Trail Lodge, Rolf and his future bride who also worked there, were introduced and went fishing on their first date.

He married Gail Hunter on February 13, 1954 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hovland, MN.  They lived and worked at Taconite Harbor for a few years then moved to the end of the Gunflint Trail where they leased and purchased Way of the Wilderness from Cal Rutstrum.  They owned and operated the canoe outfitters together from 1957 until 1976. Rolf also worked as a carpenter for Isaak Hansen and Sons from 1968 until his retirement in 1989. His carpenter work remains in many places across Cook County including Gunflint Trail cabins, resorts, and homes and villas along the North Shore.

Rolf was a member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church and served two terms on the Church Council.  He was also a member of the Gunflint Trail Association, Cook County Civic Council, REA Board of Directors for 6 years, and Taconite Fire Department for 2 years.

At age 75, Rolf took a canoe trip to the BWCAW and Quetico Provincial Park with friends. Rolf passed along his passion for the outdoors to family and friends that will live on for many generations to come.

During retirement years, Rolf and Gail spent many winters traveling across the US in a motor home.  Eventually they settled down as snowbirds in Apache Junction, AZ with a beautiful view of the Superstition Mountains.  They enjoyed exploring the lakes and wild areas around the desert.

Rolf was proudly independent and entered the care center at age 95 where he quickly made new friends, enjoyed sharing stories and playing bingo.

Rolf was preceded in death by his wife, Gail; a son Stan; great-granddaughter, Harmony St. John; and 6 siblings.

Rolf is survived by his children, Sandy (Wayne St. John) Skrien, Stuart (Cindy) Skrien, Susan  Skrien, and Sally (Doug) Derginer; grandchildren, Danny St. John, Tyler Derginer, Jensen Derginer, Monroe Chumklang, Ella, Ruby, Juel, and Ole Skrien; sister-in-law, Dee Skrien; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be from 1 PM until the 2 PM memorial service on Sunday, January 20, 2019 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Grand Marais. To sign the online register book please visit

In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to Bethlehem Lutheran Church or Gunflint Trail Historical Society for the Chik Wauk Museum.


Don Dittus

Don Dittus, 84, husband, father, brother, friend; died Monday, December 17, 2018 following a lengthy illness and a short stay in the hospital.

Don was born in Maywood, Illinois to James and Virginia Dittus.  He graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Farm Operations and a teaching credential. In the ensuing years, he continued his education and earned additional credentials and degrees.

It was while at Iowa State that he met and married, Sue Holte, his wife of 62 years.

Don had several jobs throughout his career, including raising grapes in New York state, teaching agriculture in Eastern Iowa and counseling high school students in Minnesota. When he started working for the Ukiah Unified School District in Ukiah, California, he began as the junior high counselor, became vice-principal, then coordinator of voc-ed and work experience at the high school, before going to the county office of education as assistant superintendent.

Don was a bit of a Renaissance man; he enjoyed a variety of interests and activities, and into each he poured his heart and soul. He was intelligent, meticulous and hard working. These qualities were apparent when he built both a two-story home in Potter Valley, California, as well as an experimental air craft with a friend, which he subsequently flew back and forth to Minnesota several times.

Don liked games and puzzles; playing Old Maid and 52 Card Pick-up with his daughters when they were young, weekly bridge games at Homestead Co-op and marathon bridge weekends with Sue, his brother Bob, and sister-in-law Lois. He also enjoyed completing the crossword puzzles and Sudokus in the newspaper.

Don enjoyed traveling. When he was 20, he and his cousin, John, drove to Alaska in a Jeep, pulling a trailer they had built to travel the newly-opened Alaskan Highway.

In retirement, Don and Sue traveled throughout Canada and the United States in their RV, before finally settling down in Grand Marais.

Don was preceded in death by his father, Jim; mother, Virginia; and older brother Jay.

He is survived by his wife, Sue; three daughters, Pam Dittus, Cheryl Woodward and Pat Cuneo; brother, Robert Dittus; sister, Gini Emigh; six grandchildren, and two great-grandsons.

There will be a gathering of family and friends the weekend of August 10-11, 2019 in Grand Marais.

Irene Karla Baumann

Irene Karla Baumann, 82, longtime resident on the Gunflint Trail, passed away peacefully on Friday, December 14 at the Grand Marais Hospital.

She was born January 30, 1936 to Charles Edward Wilson and Lucille Marie Eckstrand-Wilson in Richfield, Minnesota, where she grew up.

Irene married her love, John Baumann on June 23, 1956. They made their home in St. Paul and then Duluth. She was a full-time homemaker and for years a head school cook.

Irene was simply called “Mom” by most youth of the neighborhood as she welcomed and fed anyone who would come and visit. Her homemade donuts are legendary, and her chocolate chip cookies are the best.

Irene served in many facets of  Scouting with her four boys. She was very proud of her four Eagle Scouts. Irene served in the Lake Superior Boy Scout council and was honored as one of the first three women in scouting to earn the Silver Fawn award, now called the Silver Beaver.

Irene loved camping and spending time with her husband and sons.

In 1976, Irene and John Baumann purchased Golden Eagle Lodge, a small, then seasonal resort on the Gunflint Trail. Moving there, full time in 1980, she saw the expansion of the resort to year-round. Irene is known for keeping a fun filled journal of living in the wilderness.

She retired in 1994, dedicated her time to feeding birds, red squirrels and different wildlife, watching the lake and enjoying her grandchildren. Irene had a steady stream of friends who would call or stop in and visit.

Irene was preceded in death by her beloved husband, John Baumann, in November of 2016.

She is survived and missed by her family: Michael (Patty) Baumann of St. Cloud, Patrick (Sandra) Baumann of Virginia, MN, Daniel (Teresa) Baumann of Grand Marais, and Kelly (Becky) Baumann of Sauk Rapids; 12 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on January 12th, 2019 at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Grand Marais.  There will be a visitation with family from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM.

Ruth Lorna Beckman

Ruth Lorna Beckman passed away on December 16, 2018. She was born in Two Harbors, Minn., on September 27, 1925, the only child of two hardworking Norwegian parents

Ruth led a long, fulfilling life. She graduated from Two Harbors High School in 1944. She married her first love, Donald Beckman, from Brimson, Minn., on September 16, 1944. They raised four children during their marriage and lived in Grand Marais from 1958 to 1967. They eventually moved to Kansas City, Miss.

Don died of cancer on October 3, 1982.

As her children grew up and left the nest, Ruth pursued a nursing career, earning her RN degree and working as a nurse in the Kansas City area. She then moved on to teaching, earning a master’s degree in reading education. She retired as an instructor in a college Certified Nursing Assistants program in the early ‘80s.

In her free time, she traveled the world, visiting several European countries, South America, the Middle East, New Zealand, China, Japan, and Egypt.

One of her lifelong favorite things to do was dancing. She married her new love, dance partner, and band leader, Roland Blackmarr, on May 1, 2015. Her final years were some of the happiest of her life. Roland was her rock as her health began to fail.

She was preceded in death by her parents and by her first husband, Donald Beckman.

She is survived by her husband, Roland Blackmarr; four children, Ginger (Paul) Downing, Don (Helen) Beckman, Scott (Terri) Beckman, and Ross (Sherry) Beckman; a stepdaughter, Victoria Vernau; a brother-in-law, Glenn Beckman; nine grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.

A celebration of her life was held on December 23, 2018.

Correspondence can be directed to Park Lawn Funeral Homes, 8251 Hillcrest Rd, Kansas City, MO 64138, or to, or to

Yvonne Marie (Tofte) Sabyan

Yvonne Marie (Tofte) Sabyan, 83 of Hermantown, died Saturday December 15, 2018 at St. Luke’s Hospice.

Yvonne was born June 15, 1935 in Duluth to Clarence and Thelma Tofte. She was raised in Tofte (which was named after her grandfather), and she graduated from Grand Marais High School. After high school she received nurse’s training at St. Luke’s and became an LPN.

Yvonne met Tom Sabyan and they were married on Aug. 18, 1956 in Tofte. They moved to Hermantown in 1958.

Yvonne worked as an LPN for the Duluth Clinic and then in bookkeeping at Northern States, Mac Trucks, Shopper City and retired from Elvin Safety.

Yvonne was a very active member of St. Raphael’s church in Pike Lake. She served as a Eucharistic Minister, served on its finance council, St. Teresa’s Circle, was a trustee and headed the funeral lunch committee.

She volunteered at St. Luke’s for many years and served on its Guild Board.

Yvonne loved to fish, having landed a 6 pound 1 ounce brook trout; quilting, making baby blankets, canning, sewing, ghost story teller, baking and snowmobiling.

She was preceded in death by her parents.

Yvonne is survived by her loving husband, Tom; sisters, Ellen Hedenberg, Patricia (Roger) Malner and Dorothy Kay (Larry) Brooks; inlaws Gloria Perpich, Donald and Archie Sabyan; many nieces and nephews; dear friends, Nicole and Jason Lenz and her golden retriever, Sophie. She will be greatly missed.

Visitation was Thursday, Dec, 20 at St. Raphael’s Church in Pike Lake with 11 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial on Friday, Dec. 21.

Memorials are preferred and may be directed to St. Raphael Catholic Church, 5779 Seville Rd. Duluth, MN 55811 or to the Tofte Historical society c/o the Duluth Superior Community Foundation, 222 E Superior St. #302, Duluth, MN 55802.

Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home.

Lyle D. Gerard

Lyle D. Gerard, born December 16, 1924 in Duluth, Minn., died there 94 years later on December 16, 2018.

Lyle was a kind and generous man who had a powerful positive impact on many lives.

He was known as “Grandpa Lyle” in Lutsen, Minn., where he lived for 33 years. Lyle’s life was characterized by a love of books and reading that began almost as soon as he learned to read. In elementary school, he told the librarian that he wanted to read “all the books in the world.”

He served in combat in France and Belgium in WWII. After he returned, he obtained an undergraduate degree from Macalester College and a Master’s degree from the University of Minnesota. He served as an English teacher at St. Louis Park High School for many years, and subsequently as an English as a Second Language teacher.

After retiring, he continued his vocation reading to children in schools along the North Shore from Tofte to Grand Portage. He had a strong interest in internationalism and loved to travel. He spent a year teaching in The Netherlands and another teaching in Japan, and was an avid promoter of foreign language learning, particularly through immersion.

Lyle’s love of running was second only to his love of reading; he was a star runner of the mile in college. He downhill skied until he could no longer do that and switched to cross-country. When he could no longer run, he walked. He exercised every single day until the final heart attack that felled him while walking in Hartley Park.

Lyle enjoyed a 57-year marriage to Joan (nee Bisbee Woolsey) and cared for her after she was stricken with Alzheimer’s until her death in 2007.

His sister Roberta Jarvinen died just a few weeks before Lyle.

Survivors include brother Mike (Rose) and three daughters and five grandchildren: Poldi (Thor Olson; sons Attiss, Shal and Hoan Ngo); April (Gary Larson; children Nick and Heather Gerard-Larson); Megheen Jahren (Craig; son Matthew) and special friend Dorothy Bergman.

Celebrations of Lyle’s life will be held in Duluth and in Lutsen in spring/summer 2019.

Memorial contributions are welcome to the Frank DiMaio Educational Innovation Fund c/o Cook County Kids Plus, PO Box 63, Grand Marais, Minn. 55604 or to the Grand Marais Public Library.

Dorothy Whipkey

A memorial service will be held for Dorothy Whipkey at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 1226 West Second Street in Grand Marais on Wednesday, December 19 at 2 p.m.

The public is invited.

There will be refreshments after the memorial at the Kingdom Hall.