Robert J. ‘Bob’ Raffaelli

SOUTH RANGE — Robert J. “Bob” Raffaelli, 86, a well-known resident of South Range, passed away Friday, August 28, 2020, at UP Health System-Portage.

He was born December 7, 1933, in South Range, a son of the late Mario and Lillian (Lewis) Raffaelli, and was a 1951 graduate of the Jeffers High School.

Bob was a veteran of the United States Army, serving in Korea.

After being honorably discharged from the military, Bob went to work at the Hancock Police Department. He then took a position as Chief of Police for the South Range Police Department, and in 1966, went to work for the Houghton County Sheriff’s Department. He retired from the Sheriff’s Dept. in 1975 to take a position as a Business Union Representative for AFSCME Council 25, retiring from there.

On March 3, 1990, he married the former Pauline Pikka, in Wakefield.

Bob was a member of Saints Peter & Paul Lutheran Church of Houghton, Alfred Erickson Post 186 American Legion of Hancock, and was an avid member of South Range Eagles Aerie 1122, where he served as past president, secretary and treasurer. Both Bob and Pauline were very active in planning events as well as doing projects and repairs at the Eagles hall. If something needed to be done, Bob never hesitated to get the job done.

Bob was well known in the area as an accomplished accordion player. Bob formed two local polka bands, the Ripley Ramblers and later the Polka Kings. He was inducted into the Michigan Music Hall of Fame in the polka music category. He frequently played at local nursing homes in Houghton and Baraga Counties.

Bob also played Fastpitch softball for UPPCO. In his spare time, he enjoyed woodworking and watching sports. Bob looked forward to his daily afternoon coffee clutches at the Katalina with family and friends.

Bob is survived by his wife, Pauline; two daughters, JoAnn (David) Pikka and Diane (Doug) Davis; a son, Keith (Darlene) Raffaelli; five step-daughters, Julie Salonen, Barbara (Doug) Burhans, Dawn (Paul) Preuss, Katie Davidson and Becky (James) Jilek; 19 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; a brother, James (Laurie) Raffaelli; and many dear friends.

Besides his parents, Bob was preceded in death by two daughters, Mary Ann Raffaelli and Roxanne Collins; two grandchildren, Robert Raffaelli and Emily Davis; and two brothers, Edward Raffaelli and Ralph Raffaelli.

Bob will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved him.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, at Saints Peter & Paul Lutheran Church in Houghton, with Pastor Kevin Bender to officiate.

Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until the time of service on Tuesday at the church. In keeping with COVID-19 restriction guidelines, social distancing and masks are required.

Burial will follow in the Lakeside Cemetery in Hancock, with military rites conducted by the American Legion and the Copper Country Veteran’s Association.

Arrangements are being handled by the Mountain View Mortuary of South Range, Antila Funeral Service, Inc. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at antilafuneral.com.