James K. Kerkela


KINGSFORD — James K. Kerkela, 76, of Kingsford, passed away Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, at the Oscar G. Johnson Veterans Administration Medical Center in Iron Mountain.

James was born on Sept. 22, 1941, in Republic, son of the late Arne and Aili (Carlson) Kerkela. He was raised in Republic and was a 1959 graduate of Republic High School.

James joined the United States Army in 1962 and served in Korea until his honorable discharge in 1965.

Jim worked as a diesel mechanic at Cummins Diesel for more than 36 years, retiring in 2001. He married Roberta Larson on Oct. 23, 1981, in Iron Mountain.

He was a member of the U.P. Whitetails organization and enjoyed attending their fundraising banquets.

Jim loved to hunt and fish. He spent lots of time with family and friends at hunting camp in Republic. He also enjoyed times with family at the cottage at Cosgrove Lake.

Jim was an expert mechanic and all-around handyman who could fix everything.

He took great pride in his flower gardens.

Jim especially loved spending time with his children and grandchildren.

Jim is survived by his loving wife of 36 years, Roberta; his children, Leah Kerkela of Kingsford, Kevin Kerkela of Phoenix, and Ricky Hixon of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; brother, Robert (Nancy) Kerkela of Republic; sisters, Dorothy Heinonen of Republic, Shirley Martin of Washington State, Bernice (Kenny) Hannula of Hurley, Wis., Darlene Kerkela of Ishpeming and Donna Mattila of Republic; grandchildren, Mary Lee (John) Greer and Lisa (Matt) Flynn; six great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law, Lauren (Bob) Demko of Aurora, Wis., and Judy (Guy) Doda of Spread Eagle, Wis., also by many nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, James was preceded in death by his sister, Diane Kerkela; and brothers-in-law, Elmer Heinonen, Dale Martin and Jay Mattila.

The family will receive friends from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19 at the Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home of Iron Mountain.

Condolences to the family of James Kerkela may be expressed online at www.ernashfuneralhomes.com.

The family has entrusted the Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home with the funeral arrangements.