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Obituaries


Greg Buchite
June 10, 1956 - September 13, 2022

Greg Buchite passed away peacefully at his home after a hard battle with pancreatic cancer. He was born in Milwaukee, WI, On June 10, 1956, to Morris and Janice Buchite. He spent his early years growing up in the Twin Cities, then moved in his early teens to the family farm in Fifty Lakes.

Greg married Toni Potz in 1974 just after joining the army. They spent the next 3 years in Colorado Springs at Fort Carson. After his honorable discharge they moved back home to Minnesota.

Greg joined his dad, Morris, in construction and eventually had his own construction and roofing business. During the oil rush in the Dakotas and Wyoming he built houses for the workers.

Greg played softball for many years and enjoyed the outdoors with hunting, fishing and  camping. Canoe trips to the boundary waters and pheasant hunts to South Dakota were  among his favorites. Trapping was also in his blood, and he spent many years outside and in  his fur shop.

Greg loved his family very much and spending time with them was very important. He  attended school events, sporting events and many horse shows, cheering on his children and  grandchildren. Greg also cared about his city and community. He was a founding  member of the Fifty Lakes First Responders and served on the city council for 25 years.

Greg will be greatly missed by his mother, Janice; his wife of 48 years, Toni; son, Cory (Heather); daughter, Diana; grandchildren: Taylor (Ross), Trevor, Tierney; and great-grandchildren, Maddy and Rylee.

A gathering of family and friends will be held from 1 to 5 PM on Saturday, October 15, at the Fifty Lakes Community Center, with military honors at 2 PM. Arrangements are with Kline Funeral Home, Pine River.
Marlys Lee
September 17, 2022

Marlys Lee went home to be with Jesus on September 17, 2022, one month short of her 98th birthday, in her daughter’s home in Merrifield, MN. She was born in Murdo, SD, to Frank and Maude Coleman, the first of five children. The family moved to the farm near Ruthven, IA, where Marlys attended country school and later Ruthven High School. Here she met Lawrence “Larry” Lee and during his service in the Naval Air Corp during WWII they were married in the Methodist Church in Ruthven. After Larry’s discharge they moved to Crosby, MN, and then on to other cities/states through the years. Over those years they had five children. Marlys was a devoted homemaker, gardener and baker, caring for her home and family like few others.

Marlys and Larry eventually retired to a home in Pequot Lakes, MN, and lived there until his passing in 1999. They were both active in the Crosslake Evangelical Free Church and Marlys continued her service there for many more years being active in the YAHS (Young at Hearts) and Happy Halves (widowed friends). Marlys left her home in Pequot Lakes to live at the Ruthven Community Care Center in assisted living for 8 years, renewing her relationship with local family, church and friends until moving home with her daughter and son-in-law in Merrifield. Marlys loved the Lord her entire life and was a mighty prayer warrior, as so many can testify to.

Marlys was preceded in death by her siblings, her husband of 54 years, Larry and one son, David. She is survived by her daughter, Dianne (Tom) Rogers of Merrifield, MN; sons: Gary (Jackie) Lee of Bulverde, TX, Jeff (Cheryl) Lee of Billings, MT, Tim (Deb) Lee of  Jackson, MN; as well as 15 grandchildren, many great and great-great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Remembrance Services will be held at the Log Church in Crosslake on Saturday, October 1,  at 2 PM, and also at Ruthven United Methodist Church in Ruthven, IA, on Saturday,  October 22, at 11 AM. Interment will be in Crown Hill Cemetery, Ruthven.

Kline Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. You can visit their website to share condolences with the family. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to Crosslake Evangelical Free Church or CRMC Hospice in Crosby.
Thomas Starr Pierce
September 15, 2022

Tom is rejoicing in heaven with his mother and his son, Jimmie. On September 15th, at age 78, he died peacefully in his sleep from liver failure in his Lake Roosevelt home of his  dreams that he built himself in Outing, MN.

He had a wonderful life; friends commented that he was “bigger than life” with his  magnetic personality. He was a sales rep for Bluewater houseboats and yachts, Castrol Motor Oil, then a realtor for 47 years. He was a 32nd Degree Mason clowning in parades and President of Fur, Fin and Feather in the Zuhrah Shrine. In his last 18 years he was a dearly loved Santa.

He is survived by his wife Carol of 27 years, his brother Dr. Charles (Barbara), and sisters  Priscilla and Bonnie Mae, nephews Steven, David, Starr, Harmon, and nieces Anna and  Elizabeth.

He wanted no services -he will be at rest in a rusty old tackle box at Bay Lake Cemetery  because he spent summers as a boy at the family compound on Bay Lake.

Memorials in lieu of flowers can be made to Outing Volunteer Library which he helped Carol start 20 years ago or the Masonic Hospital at the U of MN.

May God bless all of his caregivers at CRMC, St. Croix Hospice, and is many friends and relatives, and rest his soul in peace and love.
Thomas A. Montgomery
September 30, 1940 - September 9, 2022

Beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend passed away peacefully on September 9, 2022, at his home in Pequot Lakes, at the age of 81, after fighting a long battle with idiopathic lung disease. He was in the loving care of his wife and high school sweetheart of 61 years.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia; daughters, Karen (Paul LaGrange), Nancy (John Slater); five grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and siblings, Paul (Nancy) Montgomery and Mary Lueck.

Tom was born and raised in Minneapolis and graduated from Patrick Henry High School and the U. of M. During his career as assistant superintendent of Operations for the Minneapolis Park System, he was an integral part of promoting beauty in the parks for all to enjoy. Because of his love of nature and the outdoors, he spent many vacations camping, hiking, and skiing the mountains. Tom loved living at the lake where he enjoyed walks in the woods, planting trees for the future generation, pontoon rides with the grandkids, and campfires with family and friends. He will be missed by so many.

Services are pending. Memorials are preferred to Good Samaritan Hospice. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Brenny Family. Funeral Chapel, Crosslake.
Margaret (Becker) Swertel,
February 1, 1936 - September 1, 2022

Margaret “Margie” (Becker) Swertel, at the young age of 86, formerly from Pine River, MN, peacefully passed away September 1, 2022 at the Bethany Good Samaritan-Brainerd, MN. Born February 1,1936 to John and Margaret (Holdner) Becker in Chicago IL, she was proud to be a “winter baby”.

On September 10, 1955 she married the love of her life, John “Jack” Swertel.

A very talented soprano singer, she loved singing in the church choir. She was a skillful  gardener, hard worker, and loved canoe fishing, snowmobiling, watercolor art, and woodworking. Margie proudly knew every tree, bird and flower. She loved rainy days, being in nature, camping and hiking. She also loved working alongside Jack and they loved to laugh and tease with everyone they knew.

Margie is survived by her brother, John and Karen Becker; sister, Corinne and Wally Byk; son, Jim and Nancy Swertel; daughter, Peggy and Kent Vahlsing; grandchildren: Derick and Megan Swertel, Jimmy and Jacob Swertel, Jake and Sarah Ward, Kassie and Keaton Nostdahl, Lindsey Ward and Riley Vahlsing; great-grandchildren: Chloe, Grayson and Oliver Swertel, Bridger and Harper Ward; and many nieces and nephews.

Her welcoming committee in Heaven include her husband of 62 years, Jack; her oldest son,  John; grandparents, parents, sisters, many dear family, friends and pets.

We will celebrate her life at a later date at the Kline Funeral Home in Pequot Lakes, MN.
Douglas Arnold Johnson
December 25, 1960 - August 28, 2022

Douglas Arnold Johnson, 61, of Emily, MN died unexpectedly on Sunday, August 28, 2022, when the Amphibious Light Sport plane he was piloting faltered on takeoff. As his family and friends, we are devastated at the loss of his life even as we are determined to celebrate and be grateful that God shared him with us.

Doug was born in Rush City on December 25, 1960 to Lucille (Saumer) and Walt Johnson of Pine City. He was raised in Rock Creek and Pine City, attended Pine City Schools, and graduated from PCHS with the legendary Class of 1979. He was especially beloved in school and participated and excelled in athletics, music, art, and cartoons -- PCHS alum of a certain age will surely remember Phil and Danny! Post high school, Doug pursued education and training at St. Cloud State and later at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, but it was his first love -- flying -- that governed his passions throughout his life.

On June 6, 1979, Doug enlisted in the United States Air Force and was stationed at Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field as a weapons mechanic. In 1980, Doug was selected for the Top Secret (now declassified) mission to Egypt known as Operation Eagle Claw, the Iran Hostage Rescue Attempt. The experience left an indelible impact on Doug, and he often revisited his memories of the voices of USAF brotherhood rising in song when the mission was over.

Throughout his USAF career, which included Active Duty, Reserve Duty, and several overseas deployments, Doug distinguished himself and received numerous Commendation Medals and the Meritorious Service Medal. As a Senior Master Sergeant, Doug was recognized by his superiors and peers for his service at the 934th Airlift Wing, Mpls-St. Paul as manager of the Wing Emergency Management program. His oversight of base chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives training helped the 934th maintain "a constant mission-ready status." Furthermore, as a member of the Base Honor Guard, Doug played TAPS on the coronet and provided honors at over 60 military funerals and numerous Color Guard events. Doug retired from the Air Force in 2012, rounding out his working career at the VA in the maintenance department until his retreat to life in Emily.

During his primary working years up until 2015, Doug also owned and operated Doug Johnson Painting, providing value-added, precision-quality interior and exterior residential and commercial pressure washing, staining, and painting. Ever visionary and curious, Doug held patents on a couple of solutions-oriented products that he invented. He was  exceptionally gifted at construction and remodeling, and he accomplished an impressive body of work for the benefit of his family's home in Farmington, his residence in Emily, and at the homes of many, many relatives and friends.

As a father to three children, Doug is remembered for his humor, spirituality, wisdom, and storytelling. He was dedicated to helping to develop his children's interests and passions; he served in coaching roles for his sons, and he provided advice, guidance, and steadfast encouragement as his daughter and sons grew. He loved his children with devotion and was frequently capable of hours-long telephone conversations as they became adults themselves.

There was so much packed into Doug's life, we want to make sure we capture the  highlights: as a woodcraftsman, Doug built cedar strip canoes along with other practical and artful creations too numerous to count. A self-taught musician, Doug played the guitar, sang, and performed with musicians from the 934th Airlift Wing and many other friends. He also wrote poetry and music, read voraciously as a life-long learner. Throughout his life, Doug enjoyed many hunting and fishing trips with family and friends, including trips to the Fishing Camp in Canada with Uncle Ray.

But it was his love of flying that rounded out all the chapters of Doug's life. He received his Pilot's License in 1981, purchased an Ultralight in the early 2000's, and an Amphibious weight-shift "Cygnet" light sports plane in 2018. He achieved his Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) in 2020, pandemic be damned! During his nearly 4 years with the Cygnet, Doug provided introductory flights in and around the greater Brainerd Lakes area, and we are  blessed with an abundance of videos and photos that represent Doug's happiest hours.

Douglas MacArthur Arnold Schwarzenegger Johnson ("dug" for short) is survived by wife Rosemary Sundin of Emily; his children Jewell Johnson, Jesse Johnson, John Johnson (Brianna Whipkey) of Farmington; Rosemary's children Jenelle (Nancy) Nurthen of Washington, DC, Michael (Kimberly) Stahlke of Seattle, WA, and Vanessa Mullenix (Tim  Nguyen) of Minneapolis; grandchildren Aiyana, Romany, Charles, Miriam, Abigail, Henry, Michael; brother Jerry (Char) Johnson of Canyon, sister Julie Billstein of Lake Elmo,  brother David Johnson of Pine City; and many beloved aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.

Doug was preceded in death by his father Walt Johnson; mother Lucy Johnson; and cherished brother-in-law Mike Billstein.

A Celebration of Life and Remembrance with military honors was held in Pine City on Thursday, September 8, 2022, at the Pine County Fairgrounds. In lieu of flowers memorials in Doug’s memory may be directed to: Make-A-Wish Foundation, 1919 University Avenue  West, Suite 415, St. Paul, MN 55104 National Loon Center, P.O. Box 642, Crosslake, MN  56442

Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the: Funeral and Cremation Service of Pine City, Swanson Chapel
P.O. Box 145, Outing, MN 56662 • Phone 218-792-5842 • Fax 218-792-5844 • Email news@northlandpress.com