June D. Waisanen

DALLAS, Texas – Former Atlantic Mine and Kingsford resident June D. Waisanen, 87, died on November, 27 at Presbyterian Village North in Dallas, Texas.

June was born in Atlantic Mine, on June 4, 1927, the daughter of the late Elmer and Sigrid Tapani. She graduated from Jeffers High School in Painesdale, and attended Northern Michigan University.

On August 3, 1946 she married the late John J. Waisanen. Following their marriage, the couple moved to Iron Mountain.

June was employed as an accountant for Fleury, Singler & Co. and for Thomas Theatre Co. In 1966 she opened her own business, June’s Sewing Basket, which she operated until 1978.

After her children started school, June became involved with the Westwood PTA and PTA Council in Kingsford and the Girl Scouts, where she served as a troop leader and as president of the Girl Scout Council. This began a lifetime of community service and volunteerism. In 1959 she became the first woman elected to the Breitung Township Board of Education. Over the course of 28 years she served at various times as the president, vice president, secretary and treasurer of the Board. Upon her retirement from the board in 1988 she cited the involvement of the school district in launching the Community School program, construction of the new Kingsford High School, passage of millage for an expanded vocational program that resulted in the construction of the Dickinson-Iron Vocational Center in Kingsford, the acquisition of Camp Sanford, the establishment of the Northern Michigan University Residence Center and passage of a bond program to provide the district with a new K-6 elementary school as the highlights of her tenure on the board.

She served the Dickinson County United Way in various capacities over four decades, including serving as chair of the annual United Way Campaign in 1990. Other organizations that benefited from her time and talents include the Iron Mountain-Kingsford Women’s Club, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs-Michigan and U.P. District, Dickinson County Community Chest, NMU Vocational Education Advisory Council, NMU-Bay de Noc Advisory Board, Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District, Community Schools Advisory Board, Mission Council of the Mackinaw Presbytery, Dickinson County Council of the Arts, Kingsford City Council Advisory Committee, Dickinson County Chamber of Commerce, Dickinson County Republican Party, Dickinson County Committee for the Michigan Sesquicentennial which she chaired, Dickinson County Centennial Committee, Pinecrest Medical Care Facility and the First Presbyterian Church where she served as a deacon and an elder and as treasurer for more than 20 years. June also made time in her busy life to visit friends and neighbors in area nursing homes several times a week and participated in the Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program, taking patients to Menominee and Marquette for treatment. On cool Friday nights in the fall, June could be found at Flivver Field selling tickets to football games. Many of those who worked with or served on committees with June will also remember her for her famous Finnish prune tarts!

In recognition of her years of service to the community, June was named Beta Sigma Nu’s Dickinson County First Lady in 1986. In 1987 she was named one of Bresnan Communications’ Super Seniors and in 1989 she was selected to receive Northern Michigan University’s Distinguished Citizenship Award. In 1990 she was the first recipient of the Athena Award, which was created to honor local businesswomen, and in 1994 she received the General Federation of Women’s Clubs-Michigan Outstanding Clubwoman Award.

June is survived by a daughter, Susan (Michael) Hill of Ashburn, Virginia; a son, Larry (Marilyn) of Dallas, Texas; brothers, Ralph (Betty) Tapani of South Range and Ray (Sandy) Tapani of Crossville, Tennessee; special niece, Linda (James) Strolberg; grandchildren, Jeff Hill of Hermosa Beach, California, Justin Hill of Boston, Massachusetts, Stacy Tackett and Melissa Naffziger of Dallas, Texas; seven great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life ceremony will be held at the First Presbyterian Church in Kingsford on Friday, January 9, 2015 at 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the June D. Waisanen Scholarship Fund at Kingsford High School, 431 Hamilton Ave., Kingsford, MI 49802.

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