HANCOCK - Milton Samuel Kilpela, of Hancock, passed away on May 11, 2014.
Milton was born in Trimountain, on January 8, 1930, to Wilfred S. Kilpela and Tyyne Irene (Leinonen) Kilpela. Milton attended Jeffers High School until his 17th birthday, when he proudly enlisted in the US Army in 1947. After 18 months in the army, at the insistence of his best girl, June, he returned to the Copper Country and earned his high school diploma from Houghton High School.
Milton married the love of his life, Strawberry Festival Queen Carol "June" Sorvala on September 29, 1951, at the Jacobsville Chapel. The first night of their honeymoon was spent at the Scott Hotel, where Milton would spend the last several months of his life.
Their first son, Glenn, was born in 1952. Soon after followed Susan, Steven, and then (surprise!) Gary.
Milton spent most of his career taking care of the customers on his laundry routes 20 years at Copper Range Laundry and 20 years at Columbia Laundry. His customers recall him as considerate and attentive, the one who always tucked an extra apron or towel in the stack "just in case."
Milton was passionate about so many things. First and foremost, he was a Christian. He had a strong faith, and trusted in God to guide him through life and into death, then on to resurrection. He was a consummate gardener, growing beautiful vegetables and passing out plums to family, friends, and neighbors. He was an animated entertainer - a joke and story teller. He was musical, playing several instruments and singing. His favorites were old hymns and hillbilly country - whether you asked him to or not, he'd sing to you!
Milton was preceded in death by his loving wife, June, on October 13, 2010, after a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease. During her illness, he was faithful and true, caring for her and spending every evening with her at Portage Pointe. Also preceding Milton in death were his parents, Wilfred and Tyyne Kilpela; his brothers, Robert and George Kilpela; and sister, Mildred (Kilpela) Maki.
He is survived by his sister, Elaine (Bets, Betty Mae) Kilpela of Marquette; children, Glenn (Gala) Kilpela of Tipton, Michigan, Susan (Dean) Birden of Littleton, Colorado, Steve Kilpela of Menominee, Michigan, and Gary (Dolores) Kilpela of Hancock; grandchildren, Michael Bellmore of Houghton, Jared Bellmore of Santa Rosa, California, Katie (Kurt) Bakkila of Phoenix, Arizona, Jenna Kilpela (Bo Landess) of Savannah, Georgia, Jared (Rebecca) Dorvinen of Blacksburg, West Virginia, Scott Colombe (Gina Suvanto) of Hancock, Corey Colombe of Greeley, Colorado, and Jack and Carter Kilpela of Hancock; great-grandchildren, Dustin Colombe of Ahmeek, Kyla and Damien Colombe of Hancock, and Blake and Alexander Bakkila of Phoenix, Arizona. In addition, he is survived by special friends, Sandy Maki and Chris Krause; and of course, his special little dog, Rosie.
Milton loved his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren and his dearest wish was that they would know the Lord as he did.
Visitation for Milton will be on Friday, May 16, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the O'Neill Dennis Funeral Home in Hancock. Also, there will be visitation time on Saturday, May 17, prior to the funeral service from 10:30 to 11 a.m. The funeral service will take place on Saturday in the O'Neill Dennis Funeral Home at 11 with Rev. John Kangas of Hope Fellowship in Houghton to officiate. Burial services will be at 2 p.m. on Saturday, in the Jacobsville Cemetery.
To leave online condolences, please go to oneilldennisfh.com.