LAURIUM - Arthur Oscar Wickstrom, 101, of Laurium, Mich., passed into the loving arms of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ on July 9, 2012.
Art was born May 16, 1911, in Centennial Heights, Mich., to the late August and Matilda (Niemela) Wickstrom. He graduated from Calumet High School, where he played left end on the football team in 1930.
He married Elsie Johnson on Aug. 8, 1934, in Chicago, Ill., at the parsonage of the Moody Memorial Church.
He returned to Calumet where he worked in the family business, Wickstrom's Super Market on Pine Street, delivering groceries to customers during the winter months on snowshoes, and was a first-class butcher. He worked at the store until 1967 when the store was closed. He then sailed on the Great Lakes as a second cook for seven years.
He is survived by a son, Gail (Linda) Wickstrom; His five "dumplings," Judith Christie, Mary Penzien, Fay (Ron) Jones, Phyllis (Robert) Gorski, and Joy (Jim) Ziemnick; 12 grandchildren, Jeff (Marion) Wickstrom, Julie (Brock) Smith, Roger Wickstrom, Jon (Pepper) Christie, Jani Christie, Stephen (Anne) Chick, Caroline (Martin) Jarrold, Curtis (Amy) Jones, Bradley (Marissa) Jones, Kevin (Annie) Jones, Robert Gorski and David (Julie) Gorski; 24 great-grandchildren; Kayla and Colton Wickstrom, Tiara, Josiah and Zechariah Smith, Eric and Andrew Christie, Katherine Espin, Aurelien and Celeste Chick, Gordon, Edward and Gwendolyn Jarrold, Makenzie, Andrew and Makayla Jones, Jackson, William, Virginia and Caroline Jones, Gaven and Juliet Paige, Naomi Jones, and Annabelle Gorski. Numerous nieces and nephews also survive him.
The family would like to thank a special niece, Mary Ellen Eggeling for her love and care through the years, and also special friend, Peter Pietila who visited our Dad every week, bringing treats for coffee and good conversation.
Art was preceded in death by his faithful, loving wife, Elsie, his son Gary (Marjorie), his sons-in-law Gene Penzien and Joe Christie, siblings, Neil, Alfred, Wesley, Wilfred, Paul, Daniel, Ella, Ellen, Eric, Elma, Thelma and Martha.
Art and Elsie visited Finland in 1985 in celebration of the 50th wedding anniversary. In 2003, Art also attended a Wickstrom family reunion in Pudasjarvi, Finland. In 2008, he was recognized as the oldest Anders Wickstrom descendant at the Fourth Wickstrom Finnish/American reunion held in Calumet.
Art was a member of Living Word Assembly of God (formerly Northwoods Christian Assembly, and earlier, the Laurium Gospel Tabernacle) and served as an elder for many years. He had also served as the Sunday School superintendent, a Sunday School teacher, bus driver and general maintenance man in years past. He was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ and was a faithful witness to all whose lives he touched. His greatest desire was to serve the Lord, to spend eternity with Him and to have his family be there with him.
He loved having fun with his family, singing around the piano, telling stories, fishing, looking for rocks along Lake Superior and in old mine pilings, picking berries, planning his next meal, having a sauna, riding the bush road of Keweenaw looking for sugar plums, swimming in Lake Superior and lifting weights as a younger man. Many a young man in Laurium came to his "gym" on South Iroquois street (where he lived for 63 years) for body building an fellowship.
We will miss you, Daddy, Grandpa and Great-Grandpa! Thank you for the gift of love and care that you gave to our family these many years. Thank you for your tenderness, kindness, encouragement and forgiving spirit. We treasure our legacy. "...'tis Grace that brought us safe thus far ... and Grace will lead us home."
A memorial service for Art will be held on Thursday, July 12, 2012, at 11 a.m. in the Living Word Assembly of God Church (formerly Northwoods Christian Assembly) on U.S. 41 in Calumet with Pastor Tom Rouse to officiate. Friends may call on Wednesday, July 11, 2012, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Erickson Crowley Funeral Home in Calumet and one hour prior to the funeral at the church.
Memorial donations in Art's name may be directed to the Living Word Assembly of God, U.S. 41 in Calumet.
The Erickson Crowley Funeral Home in Calumet is assisting the family with arrangements.
Friends may leave condolences for the family at ericksoncrowley.com.