CRYSTAL FALLS - Benjamin C. Norkoli, 79, of Crystal Falls, passed away on Tuesday, April 30, 2013, at his home surrounded by his loving family, after a courageous battle with cancer.
He was born April 11, 1934, in Bates Township, son of the late Herman and Harriet (Clements) Norkoli. Ben was a 1953 graduate of Stambaugh High School and after graduation went on to serve four years with the United States Air Force.
Following his honorable discharge from the Air Force, he married Sharon Kassa on June 21, 1958, in Gaastra. They spent the next six years in Manitowoc, Wis., where they started their family. Ben worked several jobs throughout his life and retired from Cleveland Cliffs Mining in 1997 as a drill operator.
He was active and well known in the community and was a member of Guardian Angels Catholic Church, The Crystal Falls Kiwanis Club and the Eastside Veterans Council. Ben loved all Forest Park Trojan sports and was one of its biggest fans. He was an avid Green Bay Packer football fan, enjoyed bowling with his bowling team and attending the mud drags.
He is survived by his wife, Sharon; children, William Norkoli of Appleton, Wis., Lisa (Allan) Doxtator of Green Bay, Wis., and Kelly Norkoli of Crystal Falls; sisters, Elaine Clemo of Oceola, Wis., Betty Jean King of Monroe, Wash., and Lilas Pukula of Green Bay; grandchildren, Riki Norkoli and Sydni Norkoli, Benjamin and Alec Norkoli; special great-granddaughters, Anna and Brynn. He is also survived by many other friends and relatives.
Visitation will be Friday from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Nash Funeral Home of Crystal Falls. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Guardian Angels Catholic Church. Fr. Jeffrey Kurtz will offer the Mass of Christian burial.
Burial will be in Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in Crystal Falls. The Eastside Veterans Council will conduct full military graveside honors.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in his memory to the Benjamin Norkoli Cancer Fund at First National Bank of Crystal Falls.
Condolences may be expressed online to the family of Benjamin Norkoli at www.nashfuneralhome.net.
The family has entrusted the Nash Funeral Home of Crystal Falls with the funeral arrangements.