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Obituary: Ross M. Wolfe


Ross Maxwell Wolfe, 86, former resident of Hancock resident, passed away on August 26, 2018, at the Good Samaritan Memory Care Center in Palm, Coast, FL, where he had been a resident for three years due to Alzheimer’s disease, of which he suffered for 12 years.

He was born in North Star, Michigan, on July 31, 1932, to Gerald and Genevieve Wolfe. He is a graduate of Alma High School, Alma, Michigan. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Forestry from Michigan Technological University.

Ross married Fayth (Mickelsen) Wolfe in 1954, and they had two sons, Kent Ross in 1955 and Kris Michael in 1960. Both sons are deceased.

He was employed by the state of Michigan in 1954 with the Department of Conservation (now DNR) until 1960, when he transferred to the Department of Transportation as District 7 Forester, in Jackson. He was elevated to Forestry Executive Supervisor of the entire state of Michigan with MDOT headquartered in Lansing. In this capacity, he was in charge of vegetation of all medians of the thousands of miles of highways and roadways throughout the state; of 265 state parks, rest areas, and roadside parks, as well as forestry consultant to Consumer Power, Detroit Edison, and conservation and environmental organizations throughout the United States. It was also his responsibility to develop and maintain many of the programs for the state’s roadside and tourist facilities as well as coordinating the summer youth programs throughout the state. Being a strong environmentalist, one of his favorite endeavors to clean up unsightly waste cluttering our lakes, rivers and streams, was to initiate legislation for the “Return Plastic Bottle Act” which passed in Michigan in 1976. In fact, many of the programs still in existence are the result of his foresight and dedicated effort.

Upon his retirement in 1990, the State of Michigan honored him with naming the Deer Lake Park on M-28 between Marquette and Munising, his favorite “resting spot” when traveling countless trips to his beloved Copper County. He also received numerous plaques and accolades from numerous conservation and environmental organizations throughout the United States.

In 1968, his love of forestry led him to purchasing a large portion of the farm his grandparents homesteaded in the 1800’s at North Star where he planted hundreds of pine, spruce and ornamental trees as a hobby tree farm. He also used the timber from his hunting camp in Cadillac area, harvesting over 100 pine trees, had them kiln, dried and moved to North Star where he built a large storage garage to house his equipment, felled another 200 pine trees and built a home on the property where they enjoyed years of secluded, comfortable living when in the Lansing area. In 1996, he built a home on the Portage waterway in Hancock and retired in his favorite Upper Peninsula area, across from his beloved MTU. They also purchased a home in Flagler Beach, Florida, where they spent winter months, nearer to their grand-daughters in Orlando.

Ross was a dedicated Christian and member of Zion Lutheran Church of Hancock. During his years of service in lower Michigan, he was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Jackson; Hope Lutheran Church, DeWitt where he served as Congregational President, Sunday School teacher, Youth Counselor. He also served as a Boy Scout leader during his years in Jackson and Lansing.

Ross loved nature and relished his years of sportsmanship in fishing, hunting, sailing, snowmobiling, downhill snow skiing, golfing and hiking with family and friends at hunting camps in Ewen, Mieuataka and North Star.

Ross was preceded in death by his sons, Kent R. Wolfe in 2000, and Kris M. Wolfe in 2016; his parents, Gerald and Genevieve Wolfe of Alma; sister, Janette Wolfe; grandparents, Willard and Marietta Maxwell of North Star, and Roy and Rosa Wolfe of North Star, and his sister-in-law, M. Naomi (Mickelsen) Johnson of Hancock.

He is survived by his wife, Fayth Mickelsen Wolfe of Flagler Beach, Florida; granddaughters, Jenna Wolfe (Scott) Johnsen, and their infant daughter, Isla Rose Johnsen of Orlando, Florida, and Chelsea (Todd) Girdley of Copenhagen, Denmark; former daughter- in-law, Cynthia (Marc) Bedsole of Orlando, Florida; brother, Aaron (Janice) Wolfe of Davison, Michigan; sisters, Karen Keller of Holt, Michigan and Madelyn Harris of Akron, Ohio; brothers-in-law, James Mickelsen of Chassell, and David (Marilyn) Mickelsen of Hancock; sisters-in-law, Joyce Mickelsen Tibbs (Stewart Lee) of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Norma Mickelsen (Dr. Robert) Nominelli of Hancock; numerous nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, September 15, 2018, at Zion Lutheran Church, 400 Ingot Street, Hancock, Michigan, with Pastor Jesse Aho officiating. Visitation will be held from 1:00 pm until the service at 2:00 pm. Burial will be held at Lakeside Cemetery in Hancock. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to Zion Lutheran Church, Lahti Retreat Center, or Inter-Lutheran Seminary, Hancock. Arrangements are being handled by the Jukuri-Antila Funeral Home of Hancock, Antila Funeral Service, Inc. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at antilafuneral.com

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