Clem was the 11th child born in Ironwood to John and Mary (Dravecky) Kolesar on Sept. 15, 1919. Coming from a family of 17 children, he entered the work force at an early age with the death of his father on June 24, 1935. He was given a special permit to start working in a mine in order to help support the family. He began his mining career at the Penokee Mine.
Clem graduated from Luther L. Wright High School in 1937 and attended classes at Gogebic Community College. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on April 7, 1944, proudly serving his country stateside during World War II, and was honorably discharged on Jan. 18, 1945.
Following his discharge, he continued his mining career at the Newport Mine and then at the Peterson Mine, where he worked his way from underground to the position of assistant mine clerk.
Clem, George Anderson and John Wangaard were the last three employees responsible for watching the final iron ore cars roll out of the Peterson Mine. Clem’s mining career then moved to the White Pine Copper Company, and he later returned to the Peterson Mine as an employee of Zimco U & N Machinery, retiring as office manager in 1984. Zimco was responsible for liquidating all mining equipment from all Pickands-Mather properties. His motto was, “Work will never hurt you” — a work ethic he passed on to his family.
Clem was a former member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Ironwood and a current member of Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church, where he served as an usher and greeter. He was also a member of Ironwood American Legion Post 5 and Northland Chapter No. 66, Disabled American Veterans.
Clem enjoyed coaching Little League, bowling, fishing, cutting firewood with his boys, family picnics at Little Girl’s Point and spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren.
Clem was a devoted family man and will be dearly missed by all who loved him.
He was united in marriage to the former Rose Marie Mesich of Ironwood at Holy Trinity Church by the late Rev. Schulik. Rose preceded Clem in death on April 28, 2008.
Surviving are four sons, Clem (Cindy), Troy, Mich., and Richard (Barbara), Jim (Sharon) and Tim (Megan), all of Ironwood; six grandchildren, Pamela (David) Dahl, Lakeville, Minn., Jennifer (Joseph) Springhetti, Oconomowoc, Wis., Kristin Kolesar, Hurley, Wis., Tim Kolesar Jr., Atlanta, and Maighlin Kolesar and Lisa Kolesar, both of Ironwood; two great-granddaughters, Emma Grace and Elle Faith Dahl, Lakeville; three brothers, Michael, Sacramento, Calif., John, San Diego, and Bernard “Bobo,” Ironwood; a sister-in-law, Betty Kolesar, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.; brother-in-law, James Soraruf, Ypsilanti; brother- and sister-in-law, Mike and Ann Mesich, Ironwood; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Besides his parents, wife and in-laws, John and Anna Mesich, Clem was preceded in death by a granddaughter, Carrie Ann Kolesar, in 1970; brothers, John and Steven in infancy, Frank, Tony and Paul; sisters, twins Maria and Eva in infancy, Mary in infancy, Julia Schaffer, Regina Kostelnik, Sister Michaelene Kolesar, Veronica Niksich and Celia Soraruf; sisters-in-law, Regina, Lynn, Zellamae, Betty and Charlotte Kolesar; brothers-in-law, George Schaffer, John Niksich and Steve Kostelnik; and brothers- and sisters-in-law, Milo and Mary Rajkovich, John and Ann Shea and John and Lois Mesich.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday, June 14, at 11 a.m., preceded by visitation in the St. Joseph Family Room at 9:30 a.m., at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Ironwood, with the Rev. Robb Jurkovich, celebrant.
Luncheon will be served in the parish hall immediately upon return from the cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Clem, Richard, Jim, Tim and Tim Kolesar Jr., David Dahl and Joseph Springhetti.
Clem’s obituary can be viewed online and condolences given to his family at mckevittpatrickfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements have been entrusted to McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home Inc., Ironwood.