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Obituary: John A. Makela

As received from the O’Neill-Dennis Funeral Home:

83 years is a lot of time for one to spend here on Earth. I am very lucky to have 48 years with you being my dad. Only, I wish I had another 48. I thought I was OK with saying our goodbyes, I thought I was ready to sit down and write your letter. Now that I am here typing this out, and I am not as OK as I thought I would be. I don’t think I will ever be OK saying goodbye to the best father a daughter can ask for.

December 3rd, your three daughters sat at your bedside in disbelief. Cancer had finally left your body, something we are thankful for. It was far from a peaceful ending. A thought that will be with me always. But knowing you are finally at your party, I will forever be grateful.

You came into this world on June 1,1939, welcomed by Grandpa John and Grandma Edna (Luoma) Makela and older siblings, being born in Beacon Hill, Michigan.

Growing up we didn’t hear much about your schooling or the 6 years you spent in the Army. I do know that you were in active duty for 3 of those years and in the reserves for the other 3, being honorably discharged in 1960. Something I’m very proud of. But we heard the stories of growing up with the Aho’s, the Isaacson’s, and Keteri’s in the little town you called home.

Somewhere along the way you found Carol Virtanen ,married her, and had 5 children. Then you both decided to part ways.

On December 5th,1970 you married Delores J. Pelland, our beautiful mom. Taking her two children and combining them with your 5 children, later adding my 2 sisters and me.

Having such a big family didn’t stop you both from making a living doing what ever jobs there were. There were no such things as handouts. You and mom worked and then worked some more, teaching us kids that nothing is ever impossible. As long as you get off you duff and go work for it. Nobody is going to be there handing it to you. You made men out of your girls, which made you so proud! Not only can we clean a house spotless, we can pile a mean load of wood!

You did what ever it took to provide for us and whoever else we decided to sneak in there. Sometimes it took driving cab for Neil’s Taxi, taking trash for people to the dump, working on the Porkka’s potato farm, or getting wood made for those who needed it. On top of working your normal job at The White Pine Copper Mine.

After retiring in 2001,you filled your days with tinkering in your garage on Liminga Road, fixing whatever it was that someone brought you or working in your garden. Raising your two grandsons, Troy and John, because raising all of us kids and friends wasn’t enough!!

You always took care of “your people”. Something that you have instilled in the rest of us. “No matter what,you take care of your people” . You have given each of us the shirt off your back many times over. Whatever it was we needed help with, you stood by our sides. Even the not so proud moments, you were there to help us up. And I know others have experienced your kindness and wore that same shirt of yours. And that right there is why I will always be proud to have been your daughter.

Liminga Road was our home since 1988 and I will forever be grateful for the time I spent there with you. That road will never be the same… No more horns to be heard as they zoomed past our little yellow house. The garage doors will never be opened to see you sitting on your stool with Uncle Wes, an Ol Milwaukee in your hand. I thought I’d be happy to never have to hear Steve Harvey yelling “Survey Says!” But how I miss that now! Now the halls of your home are all too quiet without your whistling shuffles. When all is said and done I will be forever grateful, you are finally at your party with all those who went before you. You’re with your boys now and Mom,Pops.

You are deeply missed by all those friends and families lives you have touched in some way. So many nieces, nephews, and cousins. You are deeply missed by all of us kids:

Tamara Bruneau of Houghton

Tonya Mihelich (Joe Dubois) of Alpha,MI

Tarri Funke (Joe) of Baraga

Laurie Richards (Richard) of Alma,MI

John Makela (Debbie) and family of Midland,MI

Karen LaCross and family of Alma,MI

Kelly Manly and family of Mount Pleasant,MI and

Kim Makela and family of Mount Pleasant MI;

Special grandchildren:

Amanda (Breanna)Makela

Michelle (Justin) Wanhala with Greyson

Ethan Wanhala

Christine (Tyler) Hill with Gyneva

Kayleigh Bruneau

Daymen (Sara) Mihelich with Nivayah, Oliver and Landon

Coleton (Eboney) Mihelich

Nikiah (Camren) Mihelich

Michael (Emily)Funke with Miles

Devan (Izzy) Funke

Brandan Funke

Tyler (Tabitha) Yowell

Chelsey Yowell with Arika

Christopher Yowell

Kaylyn (Jeremy) Richard’s with Vinnie, Auntum, and Grace and

Richard Richards; and

your brothers Wesley and Ernie (Gloria) Luttinen.

You are preceded in death by your father John, mother Edna, brother Wilhart, sisters Eleanor,Helen and Maila, wife Delores, grandsons John and Troy, sons Alan and Michael, and two son-in-laws, Albert and Kyle.

We will celebrate your life on December 17th 2022 at the Stanton Firehall (where you were a volunteer fireman for many years) from 1until 4 P.M. with all those friends and families that you found along the way.

The Makela family would like to thank those who have help us through our trying times. Also, the O’Neill-Dennis Funeral Home for the help and comfort…the pens throughout the years… your kindness will not be forgotten.

To leave online condolences, please go to www.oneilldennisfh.com

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