KEARSARGE - Gordon Alfred Usitalo of Kearsarge, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Portage Health.
Gordy was born in Kearsarge on November 10, 1932, the son of the late Isaac and Anna Usitalo. He attended local schools and graduated from Calumet High School with the Class of 1951.
His entire working life was spent in the grocery business, beginning at age fourteen as a delivery boy for a Kearsarge market. Eventually, Gordy bought the Hancock and Laurium Super Valu stores, which he operated until his retirement in 1996.
Gordy was a proud member of the Michigan National Guard for twenty-five years, a member of the Centennial School Board, a Calumet Township Treasurer, and a member of the Faith Lutheran Church in Calumet where he also served on the council.
Gordy was united in marriage to Carol Kauppila on February 9, 1952, and they've spent their married life in their beloved Copper Country.
An avid sports fan, Gordy played hockey for the Wolverine Athletic Club in addition to coaching junior hockey. He was also a long-time member of the Calumet Golf Course. He was a staunch Red Wings, Packers and Tigers fan. Gordy and Carol also shared a love for camping.
Though it was little known, Gordy had a passion for reading, politics, history, and current events, which led him to be a resource for his family.
More than anything, Gordy loved God, his church, his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was a devoted husband and a loving and caring father and grandfather. Nothing gave him greater joy than being in the presence of his family.
Besides his wife, Carol, Gordy is survived by his children, Michael (Judy) Usitalo of Hancock, Christine Chapman of Calumet, Gary (Dennese) Usitalo of Hancock; seven grandchildren: Aaron LeRoy of Hollister, Calif., Jilaine LeRoy of Mohawk, Kirsti Arko of Houghton, Holly Hodges of Calumet, Briana Paul of Neenah, Wis., Taylor Usitalo of Ann Arbor and Lindsey Usitalo of Lake Linden; six great- grandchildren: Brynn, Connor, Mats, Ryder, Cali and Brighton. Additionally, Gordy is survived by his sister, Thelma Mistele of Southfield; numerous brothers and sisters-in law, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Preceding Gordy in death, were his parents; brothers, William, Roy, Arnold, Robert and Richard; sisters Theresa, Betty and Gladys.
While his family grieves Gordy's passing, we know that he would say, "When I am gone, just release me, let me go - so I can move into my afterglow. You mustn't tie me down with your tears; let's be happy that we had so many years. I gave you my love, you can only guess how much you gave me in happiness. I thank you for the love you each have shown, but now it's time I traveled on alone. So grieve for me awhile, if grieve you must, then let your grief be comforted with trust. It's only for a while that we must part, so bless the memories within your heart. And then, when you must come this way alone, I'll greet you with a smile and say, 'welcome home.'"
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, April 15th at the Faith Lutheran Church in Calumet with Pastor Peter Vorhes to officiate. Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m. on Sunday at the Erickson Crowley Funeral Home in Calumet and one hour prior to the service in the church on Monday.
Online condolences can be left for the family at www.ericksoncrowley.com.