As received from the Erickson Crowley Peterson Funeral Home:
Daniel William (Dudza) Junttila, 69, of Calumet passed away unexpectedly at home on Sunday January 9, 2022.
Dudza was born on September 9, 1952 in Laurium, MI, the son of the late Wilbert H. Junttila and Virginia S. (Peterson) Junttila. Dudza grew up in Calumet and Wakefield. He was a graduate and class president of Wakefield High School, Class of “70.” He was an all-sports athlete in high school and lettered in football, basketball, tennis and track. He then went on to attend Michigan Tech University where he lettered in football. He also attended Northern Michigan University, earning his Master’s Degree in social work, counseling and secondary education. He spent the majority of his career at Houghton High School where he taught English and Local History. He coached track and football in Houghton for decades, and continued to do so after his retirement from teaching in 2012.
For his children and countless Copper Country kids he also served as a Little League Coach, hockey manager and mentor to many. He was recognized by the MHSAA for 40 years of refereeing elementary, middle school and high school basketball.
As a member of the First Apostolic Lutheran Church, Dudza was well known for organizing the annual Schlatter’s Lake camping and fishing trip for its youth members. He proudly did so for the past 48 years.
His heart belonged in Big Traverse with all of his family and friends enjoying sauna, swimming, puttering around the camp, blueberry picking, wood hauling, and finishing the night with endless stories and laughs around the bonfire. He was an avid fisherman who loved nothing more than a good brookie stream. He left his passion for fishing with his children and grandchildren
On August 6, 1977 he was united in marriage to Claudia King at the First Apostolic Lutheran Church in Calumet, MI. For 44 years they resided in Calumet, MI where they raised 7 children.
He is survived by his loving wife, Claudia, their 7 children, and 10 grandchildren. Son Jacob Junttila, Rockford, MN, daughter Anna (Alan) Pennala – Levi, Ruby, Lillian, and Claire Brighton, MI, son Nicholas Junttila – Bryce, Luke and Noah Bloomfield Hills, MI, son Joseph (Amy Cloutier) Junttila – Allison Brighton, MI, son Tyler (Becca Tikkanen) Junttila – Jackson and Miles Buffalo, NY, daughter Abigail (Brandon) Tikkanen, Marquette, MI, and son Jesse Junttila, York Town, PA, siblings, James Junttila of Calumet, (Sharon) Junttila of Calumet, Karen (Jim) Johnson of Big Traverse Bay, MI, Kristine (Roger) Riutta, Oskar Bay, MI, and Mary Junttila, Seattle, WA. Also, his Aunt Angie Junttila of Big Traverse, MI numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents Wilbert H and Virginia Junttila and his brother John Junttila.
All services will be held at the First Apostolic Lutheran Church in Calumet. The visitation is scheduled on Tuesday January 11 from 4-8pm with the funeral service on Wednesday January 12 at 11am, with pastor Mark Halonen to officiate.
Dudza will be dearly missed by many, especially around the bonfire at Big Traverse. One of his favorite quotes was the definition of a friend, “A friend is someone who reaches for your hand and touches your heart.”
Condolences can be left at Ericksoncrowleypeterson.com.
A graveside service will be held in the spring at the Lake View Cemetery.