TAPIOLA - Leon Herman Kallungi, 86, died Thursday morning, Dec. 13, 2012, at PortagePointe Nursing Center in Hancock.
Leon, of 17920 Kallungi Road in Tapiola, was born June 6, 1926. He was a 1944 graduate of the John A. Doelle High School in Tapiola.
Leon worked for a short time in Detroit after high school graduation. He was also employed with Stella Cheese Co. in Baltic and later, he would drive bus for the Portage Township Schools.
Leon married Edith Maki on Sept. 8, 1951, and was an active partner with his wife in farming for 50 years. In 1984, he, along with his wife, received the "Master Farmers of the Year" award presented by the Houghton County Agricultural Society.
He was also on the board of the American Dairy Association of Michigan and the Michigan Dairy Council. He was president of the Copper Country Dairy Board for many years.
Leon loved the Upper Peninsula and was a popular and lively member of the Tapiola community. He was a founding father of the Portage Lake Little League Baseball program as well as instrumental in organizing several 4-H cattle and horse clubs.
Leon was a member of Mission United Lutheran Church in Pelkie.
In later years, he and his wife were fixtures at Houghton High School girls' and Michigan Tech womens' basketball games. He was a life-long Detroit Tiger baseball, Detroit Red Wings hockey and Detroit Lions football fan.
Leon was a devoted husband and father. He loved his family, always smiling in the presence of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He is survived by a son, Steve (Jan) of Tapiola; two daughters, Diana Herington of Beaumont, Calif and Luanne (Thomas) Skrenes of Ishpeming; nine grandsons, Gregory (Kelly) Kallungi, Anders (Laurie) Kallungi, Gabriel Kallungi, Brent (Amanda, fiancee) Herington, Blake (Alicia, fiancee) Herington, Jeremy (Kristen) Skrenes, Jeffrey Skrenes, David Skrenes and Aaron Skrenes; two great-granddaughters, Allison Kallungi and Hannah Kallungi; and two great-grandsons, Luke Skrenes and Paul Skrenes. He is also survived by two sisters-in-law, Elaine (James) Weiland and Jean (Arvi) Jukkala; an aunt, Ruth Peltoma; many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Edith; his parents, Herman Isaac and Annie Marie Kallungi; a grandson, Bradley Kallungi; a son-in-law, Dennis Sibilsky; a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Edward and Bernice Maki; and a sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Ruth and Fred Kinnunen.
A Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Leon Kallungi will be held at Mission United Lutheran Church in Pelkie at 11 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 17, 2012. Friends are invited to visit the family at Mountain View Mortuary in South Range on Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. and on Monday in the church from 10 a.m. until time of the service. Interment will be in the Elo Cemetery.
Memorials may be made in his memory to Mission United Lutheran Church in Pelkie.
Thanks be to God for the life of Leon Kallungi.
Arrangements are being handled by the Mountain View Mortuary in South Range, Antila Funeral Service, Inc.
Online condolences may be expressed to the family at antilafuneral.com.