REPUBLIC, MI - Ernest "Tushon" Leroy Kerkela, age 73 of Republic passed away on Sunday, May 12, 2013 at his home while in the loving care of his family and UP Home Health and Hospice. Ernie was born on January 23, 1940 in Iron Mountain, Michigan to Ernest Matias and Sylvia Sophia (Warlin) Kerkela.
Ernie graduated from Republic High School Class of 1958. While in high school he was employed at Memo's Shell. In 1963 he started at CCI as a maintenance mechanic and retired in 1998 after 35 years of employment. After his retirement from CCI he groomed trails for the Moose Country Snowmobile club. He was a proud and active member of the Republic Fire Department where he served the community for 40 plus years.
In his spare time, Ernie loved hunting, spending time at camp, snowmobiling, tinkering in the garage, winters in Lake Havasu, walking to the London Bridge and spending time with his family and friends. He was proud of his two oldest grandsons, Aaron who graduated from The University of North Dakota and Tyler who graduated from Northern Michigan University this past week. His three youngest grandkids Andrew, Ryan and Nicole enjoyed spending time in the paddleboat on the river, fishing on the dock or sitting in the hot tub with Pa on their summer vacations.
Ernest “Tushon” Leroy Kerkela
His family will always remember him for his loving and caring heart.
He will be deeply missed by his wife Kathleen (Haugen) of 49 years, their children Kristi (John) Anderson of Buffalo, MN, Tom (Dit) Kerkela of Republic, Michael (Kristy) Kerkela of Negaunee; his five grandchildren Aaron and Andrew Anderson, Tyler Kerkela, and Ryan and Nicole Kerkela; sisters Laverne (Jim) Noasconi of Stephenson, MI, Alice Korpi of Ishpeming, Faye Ann (Charles) Mattila of Republic and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, an infant daughter Kelly and a sister Gladys Dawson.
The family will greet relatives and friends on Wednesday, May 15th from 11:00am until 12:00 noon at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Republic with a Memorial Service following the visitation. A luncheon will be held following the service.
Inurnment will take place in the Republic Twp Cemetery.
Honorary pallbearers will be members of the Republic Twp Volunteer Fire Department.
Ernie's obituary may be viewed at bjorkandzhulkie.com where relatives and friends may leave a note of remembrance.