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Obituaries


Mercer Gustav Everson
January 9, 2015 - January 17, 2015

Mercer Gustav Everson peacefully passed away in the tender, loving, arms of his momma on January 17, 2015 at St. Cloud Hospital NICU. Mercer was born eight days earlier on January 9, 2015 at St. Cloud Hospital to Natalie Everson of Brainerd, MN and William “Bill” Philstrom of Emily, MN.

In the short time we were blessed with the tiny, miracle baby, Mercer Gustav, he showed incredible strength, courage and bravery. He entered this world breathing on his own at 1 pound. The doctors that cared for him were surprised by his healthy lungs and heart for such a little boy. Mercer shared his little personality by letting us know if he didn’t like the way he was laying, or if his diaper was soiled with his tiny cry. When his momma would talk to him, Mercer responded by turning his head toward her and opening his eyes to look at her. We could always tell when he heard her voice as his heart rate responded. His brave, strong, momma was hospitalized for 2 weeks before Mercer arrived, and spent every moment with Mercer after he was born. She fought so hard to keep him with her; he was her dream come true for eight miraculous days. The precious moments with Mercer Gustav are engrained on our souls; He is forever in our hearts and memories.

Mercer is survived by his parents; brothers Russell, Zachary, Tyler, Ryan and Nicholas Philstrom, Grandparents Russell and Virginia “Ginny” Philstrom, Emily, MN; Ronald and Stephanee Everson, Brainerd, MN; Great-grandparents Patricia and John Skomars, Cape Blanco, OR and Gary and Polly Nelson, Grand Marais, MN; Godparents, as well as uncle and auntie, Alex and Breanna Everson, and Mercer’s protective first cousin, Aiden Robert Everson; and many more aunties, uncles and cousins.

The family of Mercer would like to extend their gratitude to the staff at St. Cloud Hospital Perinatology Clinic, the  Family Birthing Center andthe Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; Doctors Stocker, Vedder and Martin; Susan  Corbett, PA; and many other nurses and staff; particularly Deidra and Mel of the NICU, who so compassionately and tenderly took care of Mercer the last night and morning he was with us; they tried valiantly to save him and when they couldn’t, gave him peaceful, gentle, care. We will forever remember holding our beautiful son, grandson and nephew, sending him off to heaven with heavy hearts but with the greatest of unselfish love to let him go. May he rest in peace with those beloved family members that have gone before him. We now truly believe in miracles because of you, Miracle Mercer.

Funeral service was held Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at Koop Funeral Home, Crosby, MN. Memorial service and burial was held Saturday, January 24, 2015 at Maple Hill Church & Cemetery, Grand Marais, MN.

The family is served by Koop Funeral Home, Crosby, MN 56441.

Melissa Ann “Missy” Francis
August 23, 1965 – January 20, 2015

Melissa Ann “Missy” Francis, a longtime resident of the Pine River Group Home, passed away unexpectedly on January 20, 2015. She was born in Coon Rapids, MN, on August 23, 1965. Missy worked at the Pine River Area DAC cleaning at Deep Portage, the Jenkins VFW and several churches in the community. She was an asset to every team she worked on.

Missy was a very pleasant person. She will be remembered for her smile and good nature. Missy loved country music. Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette were her favorites. She enjoyed collecting keychains, bowling, horseback riding, fishing, movies, camping and going on trips. She especially looked forward to going to visit her family for holidays and vacations, yet she loved getting back to Pine River to see her friend, Shawn. Missy’s smile, jokes and laugh will be greatly missed.

Missy is survived by her sister, Kris Francis Jensen; brother, Dan Francis; many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents, Kenneth Francis and Karen Pickar; and brother, Shane.

A memorial service will be held at 4 PM on Friday, January 30, at Riverview Church, Pine River.

Lyle Desmond Austin
April 27, 1922 – January 11, 2015

Lyle Desmond Austin, everybody's "Grandpa Lyle", age 92, resident of Merrifield, died Sunday, January 11, 2015. Lyle was born in Brainerd April 27, 1922 to Hosea and Mary (Wicks) Austin. He married LorRayne Doepke on December 7, 1942.

Lyle served in the US Army during World War II. Returning to Brainerd, he was employed as a carman/welder for Northern Pacific Railroad until his retirement in 1983.

He loved his pet deer, wild animals, gardening and flower gardening - especially his beloved dahlias. Lyle always had a positive attitude and was able to figure out how to fix anything.

Surviving are his son, Jeffrey (Mary Jane) Austin of Merrifield; daughter, Laura (Donald) Baumgartner of Bemidji; 4-grandchildren, Michelle (Tony) Schaffer, Nathan (Aim´ee) Jordan, Jennifer (Jonathan) Anderson, Gregory (Sarah) Austin; 11-great grandchildren, Zachary, Andrew, Madalyn, Lila, Elizabeth, Ethan, Grace, Elijah, Ellianna, Cecilla, and Dylan; his siblings, Beatrice Peterson, Betty McComas, Wayne Austin and Patricia Kleinschmidt.

He was preceeded in death by his parents and brothers Kenny and Eugene Austin.

Services were held January 15, 2015 at All Saints Catholic Church, 16898 Carlson Lake Road, Brainerd. Officiant was Rev. Mr. Mike Knuth. Military honors by Brainerd American Legion and VFW Color Guard, with burial in Evergreen Cemetery.

Melonie Marie Burgess
July 11, 1962 - January 14, 2015

Melonie Marie Burgess, age 52, resident of Merrifield, passed away on Wednesday, January 14, 2015..

Susan Marie Ahlgrim Donnelly
December 13, 1946 - January 12, 2015

Susan Marie Ahlgrim Donnelly age 68 of Emily died on January 12, 2015 after a short bout with cancer at the Good Samaritan Village in Pine River. Susan was born on December 13, 1946 in Minneapolis.

Susan is survived by her son, Douglas; one sister, Carol Gutow and 2 brothers, Randy and Daniel Ahlgrim, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Preceding her in death are her husband, Charles; her mother, Betty and son, James Brian Donnelly.

Funeral services were held on Saturday, January 17, 2015 at the Koop Funeral Home in Crosby. Burial was at the Pine Ridge Cemetery in Emily.

Eleanor L. Johnson
February 19, 1917 – January 12, 2015

Eleanor L. Johnson, age 97, resident of Pine River died Monday, January 12, 2015 at the Good Samaritan Society - Pine River. Eleanor was born February 19, 1917 in Hingham Hill, Montana to Vance and Gale (Dwinnell) Stumvoll. Eleanor retired from Potlach Paper Mill at age 70.

Survivors include; son Gary (Charlotte) Johnson, grandchildren; Garrett Johnson, Dan (Rhonda) Neal, Stacy (Dan) Rooney, great grandchildren; Megan Neal, Brooke Neal, Ben Neal, Brendan Rooney and Mackenzie Rooney.

Preceded in death by her parents, husband Arthur, sisters; Lorraine Stumvoll, Audrey Stumvoll and Dorothy Weiss.

Funeral Services were held January 14, 2015 at the Nelson-Doran Funeral Home in Brainerd with Reverend Brenda King officiating, Burial in the Evergreen Cemetery.

Sherry Lee Toso-Wagner
September 2, 1943 - January 12, 2015

Sherry Lee Toso-Wagner, age 71, of Breezy Point, MN, passed away peacefully on January 12th, surrounded by family and friends. She was preceded in death by parents, Arnold A. Toso and Bonita M. Woodford- Sheldon;  brother, Wallace E. Toso; and son, Kenneth R. Sorenson. Sherry is survived by husband, Ruben A. Wagner; son, Daniel L. Sorenson; brothers: Dana L Sheldon, Raymond A. Toso, Bernard E. Toso; sister, Mary Arnett Toso-Olson; stepsons, Scott R. Wagner and Jeffrey A. Wagner; grandchildren: Jayme N. Sorenson, Konner K. R. Sorenson, Korryn E. L. Sorenson; and a large extended family and many friends.

Services were held January 17, at the Log Church, 37218 County Rd. 66, Crosslake.

Pauline Irene Kack
February 05, 1931 - January 01, 2015

Pauline Irene Kack, 83, of Crosslake, passed away at her home January 1, 2015.

Pauline was born February 5, 1931, in Appleton, MN, the daughter of Andrew and Augusta (Rudnick) Zinda. She was raised in Correll where she went to school and worked as a waitress when she was young. She raised 3 children and worked on the farm near Correll for many years. In 1977 she married Harvey Kack in Benson. The couple moved to a variety of places in Minnesota before settling in Crosslake in 1998 and building a home. Pauline held a variety of jobs during her life, including seamstress, bank teller, and other retail positions.

Pauline was a hard worker – she liked to garden, sew, do yard work and was a wonderful cook. She also enjoyed spending time fishing, hunting, and playing cards – especially solitaire. She loved all sports Minnesota, her grandkids and her beloved dog, Max.

She will be missed by her husband, Harvey; children, Craig (Brenda) Semler, of Appleton, Paulette (Dave) Rorem, of Little Fork, and Debra (Tim) Lyon, of Baudette; step-children, Jeff (Louise) Kack, of Appleton, Denise (Wayne) Stromme, of Fargo, ND, and Pam (Dan) Schlueter, of Glendale, AZ; 12 grandchildren, Josh, Matt, Taylor, Ty, Seth, Samantha, Alex, Thomas, Shane, Jennifer, Nikki, and Lacy; three great-grandchildren, Gracen, Abby, and Braden; sister, Eleanor; and brother, Paul.

Pauline was preceded in death by her sister, Edna; and brother Eddie. Arrangements have been entrusted to Brenny Funeral Chapel in Baxter, MN.

Services were held Thursday, January 8, 2015 at the Brenny Funeral Chapel in Crosslake.

Gilbert J. Bittner
August 7, 1932 – December 28, 2014

Gilbert J. Bittner, 82, of Merrifield, passed away Sunday, December 28, 2014 at his home. Mass of Christian Burial was held January 2, 2015 at Immaculate Heart Catholic Church in Crosslake. Interment was held Mission Cemetery.

Gilbert was born August 7, 1932, in Minneapolis, MN, the son of Ernest and Marie (Pischke) Bittner. He was raised in Brooklyn Center and graduated from Patrick Henry High School. He enlisted in the US Marine Corps and served for two years in combat during the Korean Conflict. Following his honorable discharge he married Janet Saari in Golden Valley on June 6, 1953. The couple made their home in Plymouth where Gilbert furthered  his education and worked for Honeywell before beginning a career in real estate and construction.. They moved to Mission Township in 1973 where Gilbert worked with his son Brian in the home construction business.

Gilbert enjoyed gardening and woodworking. He also liked to ice fish and play cards. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.

He is survived by his wife, Janet; children, Brian (Ann) Bittner, of Naples, FL, Laurie (John) Majka, of Nisswa,  and Kathy (Erik) Lee, of Breezy Point; former daughter-in-law, Dawn Bittner, of Breezy Point, brother, Frances Bittner; sister, Ida Mae Schmaucher; grandchildren, Jason, Matthew, Lyndsay, Katie, Allen, Megan, Patrick, Kameron, and Karter; 14 great-grandchildren; and his two beloved dogs, Snookey and Bailey. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Richard.

Please visit www.brenny.com to leave a message of comfort and support for Gilbert’s family. Brenny Funeral Chapel and Cremation Services.

Robert Allen Coulter
July 5, 1919 – December 27, 2014

Robert Allen Coulter, age 95, of Pine River, died peacefully December 27, 2014 at the Senior Class Care Center at Pequot Lakes. He suffered a stroke on Christmas Eve just a few days before his death. He was born in South Dakota on July 5, 1919, to Clarence and Anna Eliza (Lent) Coulter. Times were tough in South Dakota during the depression for farming, so the family moved to Pine River in 1934, leaving everything behind and moved in a horse driven wagon. Robert was 15 years of age.

Even under difficult circumstances, Robert graduated from Pine River High School in 1938 with high honors as  Valedictorian. To further his education he attended Northwestern Bible College in St. Paul in 1939. Robert met the love of his life, Dorris L. Arvig, in 1940, and they were married December 20, 1941 in Pequot Lakes.

He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942 and spent over three years away from home fighting in World War II. Robert traveled over 100,000 miles on his ship traveling around the world and spending much of his time in the Philippine area fighting the enemy, dodging the torpedoes and typhoons in the Philippine Sea area.

After the war, Robert started his career with Arvig Telephone Company while farming on the side. After many years of hard work setting and climbing poles, he became the manager of the north end of the Arvig Exchanges. He spent almost 50 years of his life dedicated to helping improve the telephone industry. He retired from the Arvig telephone company at the age of 70. He was preceded in death by his parents, Clarence and Anna; daughter, Rosella Johnson; two sisters and three brothers.

Robert is survived by his wife of 73 years, Dorris; three children: Marlene (Bub) Moser of Pequot Lakes, Larry Coulter of Pequot Lakes and Donovan (JoAnn) Coulter of Pine River; eight grandchildren: Blake Anderson, Carlene (Dave) Anderson, Kevin (Lee) Coulter, Angela (Kevin) Kruchten, Misty (Todd) Ringler, Mindy (Joseph) Glazier, Vonda (Dale) Yngsdal, Marsha (John) Meed; thirteen great grandchildren: Brendin Anderson, Gracie Kruchten, Hailey and Dawson Ringler, Landon and Brekkin Glazier, Cody and Ashley Yngsdal, Mitchell and Natasha and Trevor and Alyssa and Karina Meed.

Robert was a very dedicated Christian man and focused on his Christian life, while working hard to raise and support his family. So much so, that he read the Bible in its entirety three times.

Robert and Dorris spent almost their entire life in Pine River. Robert was very active in his church (The Riverview Tabernacle) and served on the board of directors. Robert and Dorris kept very busy raising their four children. They sold their residence in 2009 and moved to the Villas in Pine River and lived there for five years before moving to the Senior Class Care Center in Pequot Lakes where Dorris still resides today.

Services were held December 29, 2014 at Riverview Church, Pine River with a graveside service at Pine Ridge Cemetery, Pine River. Military honors were accorded by the Pine River Legion Color Guard.

Clement Theodore Sauer
March 2, 1940 – December 28, 2014

Clement Theodore Sauer, 74, died Sunday December 28, 2014 peacefully in his sleep at home. He was born in Rolla, ND on March 2, 1940 to Theodore and Olivia (Weltin) Sauer.

They moved to Minnesota in 1942. He graduated Brainerd High School in 1958. He was employed at Potlatch from 1959 until he retired in 2000. He started working with wood at the age of 12 and it became his lifelong passionate hobby. He fondly referred to himself as “The Lefthanded Woodworker”. He was very active in the community and was a very dear friend of Bill W. for almost 21 years.

Survived by Elaine (Zilka), wife of 18 years. Children: Bruce of Blaine, Jeff (Robin) of Brainerd, Barb (Chris) Gosch of Brainerd, Mark Torkelson of Acton, CA, Darla (Joe) Long of Lauden,TN, Sue (Mike) Sherwood of Pine River, Rita (Dennis) Hazelton of Pipestone, Wanda (Ron) Schrupp of Pequot and 14 grandchildren. Brother: Pat  (Katie) of Golden Valley, and Sister: Jeannie (Harmon) Foster of New Oxford, PA.

Preceded in death by his parents.

Mass of Christian Burial was held January 2, 2015 at All Saints Catholic Church, 16898 Carlson Lake Road, Brainerd, MN.

Randal James Mickelson
February 18, 1956 – December 16, 2014

Randal James Mickelson passed away at his home on December 16, 2014 at the age of 58.

Randy was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 18, 1956. In 1974, he graduated from Henderson High School.

Randy was a proud father to two sons, Jim and Jon. He made them his priority and spent countless hours of their youth with them at the hockey rink. For many years he would flood their backyard to make them their own personal ice rink.

Randy had the gift to gab and he had the best stories that could make anyone laugh. He was a prankster and the life of the party.

He was a skilled tile layer and carpenter by trade. He took great pride in his work and exceeding expectations for a job well done. Most recently, he worked at ACE Hardware and excelled in their outdoor department. In 2013, the store won the “Coolest ACE Hardware Store” to which he contributed.

Randy loved the outdoors, he appreciated the tranquility of walking through the woods. He had a knack for gardening. One of his specialties was growing heirloom tomatoes. He was a true sports fan and participated in many throughout his life including basketball, football, hockey, and golf.

Randy is preceded in death by his father, Glenn Mickelson; and brother, Bob Bisher. He is survived by his mother, Patricia Bisher; his sons, James and Jon Mickelson; sister, Kelly (Tony) Eshleman; and many friends. We will miss his humor, his stories and most of all his caring heart.

Memorial Service was held December 22, 2014 at Morris Nilsen Funeral Chapel, 6527 Portland Ave. in Richfield, MN. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to The Randy Mickelson Memorial Fund through Black Ridge Bank in Crosslake.

Ruby E. Mikelson
July 27, 1925 – December 17, 2014

Ruby E. Mikelson, loving mother and grandmother, age 89, of Willmar and formerly of the Brainerd area, died Wednesday, December 17, 2014, at Sterling House in Willmar. A memorial service will be held at 1:00 PM on Saturday, January 10, 2015, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Pequot Lakes. Burial will be in Our Savior’s Lutheran Cemetery.

Ruby was born July 27, 1925, near Maynard, Minnesota, the youngest of Fred and Nellie (Stanfield) Ashburn’s ten children. She spoke proudly of her childhood on the family farm and the strong work ethic it developed in her.

Ruby married her high school sweetheart and best friend, Dean Mikelson, June 17, 1944, before he was deployed to the South Pacific during WWII. She too, supported the war effort by working as a “Rosie the Riveter,” assembling military planes in Detroit, Michigan while also finding time to play on a championship softball team.

During their 54 years of marriage, Ruby and Dean raised five children and ran their own business, first in Sacred Heart and then Granite Falls, Minnesota. She was a dedicated wife and mother who always put her family first. She was an excellent seamstress and cook, who also enjoyed quilting, crocheting, and using her green thumb. Our family is truly grateful for the loving home she created, the support she provided for our many activities and the memorable family times she orchestrated at the cabin in Glenwood. Ruby and Dean shared an adventuresome, well-deserved retirement near Pequot Lakes, Minnesota on Clamshell Lake. Together they met many dear friends, learned to play tennis, joined a snowmobile club, were active members of the Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and explored beautiful northern Minnesota. They loved living in the woods! Memories of fun family gatherings at their lake home will be with us forever. Following Dean’s death in 1998, Ruby moved to nearby Brainerd where she lived until 2012. During her years up north, she volunteered for several organizations through the RSVP Volunteer Services and participated in the annual lefse making at Our Savior’s Lutheran. Spending time with her grandchildren and great grandchildren brought her great joy. Recently she lived at Sterling House in Willmar, Minnesota near son Tom, his wife, Linda, and daughter, Christine, who took exceptional care of Ruby’s every need with true love and kindness.

Ruby is survived by her children: Pam (Mike) Minelli of Richland, Washington, Tom (Linda) Mikelson of Willmar, Minnesota, Peggy (John) Killeen of North Branch, Minnesota; seven grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her loving husband, Dean; two sons: Terry and Tim; and grandson, Adam Mikelson, in 2006.

Clyde William Christian Wetrosky
April 23, 1917 – December 19, 2014

Clyde William Christian Wetrosky passed away Friday, December 19, 2014, at the Good Samaritan Society, Pine River, at the age of 97. He was born on a small homestead farm in Lincoln Township in Plymouth County, Iowa, on April 23, 1917. Clyde served in the Army Air Corp during World War II. He married the love of his life, Millie, on January 17, 1946. Clyde and Millie operated Hawkeye Resort on Pelican Lake for over 40 years.

Clyde is survived by his wife of 68 years, Millie; children: John Wetrosky (Jackie), Betty Bass (Bill), Tom Wetrosky, Marilyn Baker (Mark), Janice Reely (Bill), Steve Wetrosky (Debra); 16 grandchildren; many great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Ida (Dahlman) Wetrosky; sisters: Viola, Agnes, Ada; brother, Louis; grandson, Mike Keltgen; and daughter-in-law, Einette Wetrosky.

Services were held December 23, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Pequot Lakes. Burial took place in Pine Ridge Cemetery, Pine River.

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