DULUTH, Minn. - Erland William "Ollie" Ollikainen, 63, of Ramsay, Mich ., passed away peacefully on Monday, March 10, 2014, surrounded by his loving family at St. Mary Medical Center, Duluth.
He was born on Dec. 24, 1950, in Bessemer, Mich ., son of the late William and Astrid (Branstrom) Ollikainen. He attended A.D. Johnston (Bessemer) High School graduating in 1969. He attended Gogebic Community College at two separate times, obtaining a degree in automotives and building trades, and he was on the dean's list both times.
He was united in marriage to his high school sweetheart, JoAnn Carlson, on July 18, 1970, at Sharon Lutheran Church in Bessemer. He followed in his father's footsteps and was employed at White Pine Copper Company for 38 years until retirement due to illness.
He made many special memories with his family at their hunting camp in Kenton, Mich. He enjoyed partridge hunting and deer hunting.
He was the kind of man who would give the shirt off his back if there was someone in need. He was able to fix things that most people thought were unfixable. He enjoyed doing automotive and body work on cars with his close friends, Carl Anderson and Dean Pearson, whom he had been friends with since childhood.
He instilled a good work ethic in his daughters and taught them the value of the dollar. He also made sure they were able to change the own oil in their cars and change a flat tire. He was strict with his daughters, but when it came to his grandchildren, he was an old softy who would do anything with them, including letting his granddaughter put his hair in all kinds of pretty hair clips. They will remember him for the famous pancakes he would make for them whenever they stayed the night at his house.
Surviving are his wife of 43 years, JoAnn; two daughters, Linda (Shawn) Kitto, of Bessemer, and Brenda (Mark Switzer) Ollikainen, of Copper City, Mich .; four grandchildren, Bradley and Kelsey Kitto, of Bessemer, and Peyton Wiitanen and Natalie Switzer, of Copper City; two sisters, Charolette (Paul) Johnson, of Bessemer, and Carole (Eddie) Glover, of Columbus, N.M .; a brother, Jeff (Mary) Ollikainen, of Montreal, Wis .; a special aunt, Margaret Venturini, of Beloit, Wis .; and numerous nieces and nephews, and close, special friends.
Out of respect for Erland's wishes, cremation has taken place at the Range Crematory in Hurley.
A memorial service will be celebrated at Sharon Lutheran Church on Saturday, March 15, 2014, at 11 a.m ., preceded by visitation at 10 a.m ., with the Rev. Francis J. Strong officiating.
A luncheon will follow in the parish hall.
Inurnment will take place at the Hillcrest Cemetery in Bessemer in the spring.
Arrangements are by Range Funeral Service and Crematory, Frick-Zielinski Funeral Home of Bessemer.