TRAPROCK VALLEY - Elmer Johannes Haltunen, 98, of Traprock Valley, passed away on October 28, 2012, at the home in which he was born, surrounded by his loving family.
He was born on May 11, 1914, to Vieno Haltunen Harjala. He attended school in Copper City and graduated from Gay School.
Elmer had a long and varied career starting as a commercial fisherman. For a brief period of time he and his family moved to Detroit where he was employed by the Excello Corporation. Returning to the Copper Country he was employed by C & H Mining Co. as a miner. He later became a law enforcement officer and worked for the Villages of Copper City, Laurium, Calumet, Lake Linden and the City of Hancock. He was deputized by both Houghton and Keweenaw County Sherriff Departments. Elmer owned and operated Haltunen Sand & Gravel Inc., retiring at the age of 77.
He loved the great outdoors and enjoyed hunting, fishing and trapping. He claimed to have walked the entire Keweenaw north of Portage Canal. He said he wore out three pairs of snowshoes and a pair of knees in his lifetime.
Elmer married the love of his life, Gwendolyn Pirkola and they celebrated 78 years of marriage on June 17, 2012. Together they had six children, 15 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.
Elmer was a former member of the Copper Country Law Enforcement Association, CLK Sportsman Club and board member of the Keweenaw Co-op.
Preceding him in death were his parents; daughter, Loretta Winquist; sons-in-law, Laurence Bausano, Ordon Winquist and John Schmid; grandchildren, Brock Kipina and Laura Bausano; brothers, Arthur and Leonard Harjala; sister, Leona Wolverton; special aunt, Holi Deinzer; and other aunts, uncles and cousins.
He is survived by his wife of 78 years, Gwen; son, Lee (Judy) Haltunen; daughters, Joan Schmid, Beverly (Reid) Rastello, Bonnie (Daniel) Kipina and Cheryl (Ronald) Laurie; 14 grandchildren, Michael, Shelley, Carole, Cathy, Rodd, Leanne, Lori, Reid, Jay, Justin, Kerry, Holli, Teddy and Amanda; 25 great-grandchildren; brothers, Edward (Dorothy) Harjala, Albert (Lillian) Harjala and Wesley (Shirley) Harjala; sister: Laila Makie; sisters-in-law, Marie Harjala and Martha Harjala; numerous nieces and nephews.
At Elmer's request there will be no public visitation. A private family funeral service will be held in the Erickson Crowley Funeral Home in Calumet with Rev. Ken Toth to officiate.
Burial will be in the Calvary Cemetery in Ahmeek.
In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, memorials may be given to Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly 527 Hancock Street Hancock, MI 49930 or Keweenaw Home Health & Hospice, 311 6th Street, Calumet, MI 49913.
Online condolences and remembrances may be left for the family at ericksoncrowley.com.