IRONWOOD, Mich. - David R. Mukavitz, 83, of Jessieville Location, Ironwood, died Monday, June 2, 2014, at his home.
Dave was born in Ironwood on Dec. 11, 1930, son of the late Rudolph and Annabelle (Bonovetz) Mukavitz, and attended local schools, including Newport School and Luther L. Wright High School. During high school, his love of skiing and ski jumping along with flying were developed.
After high school, he worked for a short time and then joined the Navy, spending time stationed in Newfoundland, which he truly loved. After discharge from the Navy, he attended Michigan Technological University, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in metallurgical engineering. He sometimes flew back and forth from Ironwood (with the plane he had purchased with his brother Rudy) to school rather than making the three hour drive.
Dave was a member of the ski team at Tech, competing in the jumping and Nordic combined events, traveling as far as Winter Park, Colo., with the ski team for competition.
During college he met his future wife of 55 years, Connie Colosimo, and they were married shortly after his graduation from Tech in August 1958. Dave took a job working for Anaconda Copper Company in Great Falls, Mont., where he and Connie made their first home. A son was born in 1959, but soon after, they followed their desire to be closer to home and moved to White Pine where Dave worked in the mill and smelter. A second son soon followed, and then a quite a few years later, a daughter, who Dave helped deliver at their White Pine home. Dave and Connie made their home in White Pine for many years, raising three children and involving themselves in the community.
Dave loved hunting and developed a passion for Lake Superior fishing, often taking Connie with him on long trips trolling offshore. Dave and Connie also purchased land on the east shore of Lake Gogebic shortly after moving to White Pine, where he, his father and brothers along with help from many friends, built "The Cottage." It was the location of many wonderful times with family and friends.
Dave ultimately rose to the position of Smelter Superintendent at White Pine Copper Company before retiring in 1985. After caring for both his mother Ann and Father Rudy at the Mukavitz "House on the Hill" in Jessieville, Dave and Connie and daughter Mary Kathryn moved to Ironwood to live in the home where Dave grew up after the passing of Dave's father Rudolph in 1991.
Dave came out of retirement for a spell and worked for his brother Bobo at Mukavitz Heating in Ironwood while he and Connie raised their daughter and started entertaining grandchildren.
After retiring a second time, Dave developed a passion for golf. For many years one could find him on the back nine of the Gogebic Country Club early in the morning, enjoying the game and conversing with Brian.
Dave spent his later years golfing, fishing, traveling to visit kids and grandkids, and enjoying food, friends and fellowship with those around.
When Connie developed early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease in 2001, Dave became a dedicated caregiver, and along with help from family, friends and dedicated caregivers Vicki and Donna, kept Connie safe and comfortable in a loving environment at their home in Jessieville.
Even after being diagnosed with prostate cancer and losing partial use of his right arm to the cancer, his devotion to caring for Connie never wavered, and he still continued to be active and travel to visit children and grandchildren.
After a courageous battle with cancer including multiple different treatments and trips to hospitals, Dave was forced to give up his passion for golf and fishing but still spent many lovely days "splitting a bean" with family and friends and enjoying life.
Dave will always be remembered as a dedicated and loving husband, father, brother and friend. He truly had the patience of Job, and continued his love of golf and fishing even while battling cancer. There wasn't a thing Dave couldn't fix or figure out, and he never shied from a challenge, whether it was breaking records ski jumping, piloting a plane, remodeling an old house, taking care of his wife or battling cancer. He was very much admired by his family and will be truly missed.
Dave is survived by two sons, Steve (Colleen), Houston, Texas, and Scott (Maria), Dearborn Heights; a daughter, Mary Kathryn (Tom) Britenfeld, Benton Harbor; seven grandchildren, Allie, Andrew, Emily and Rachel Mukavitz, and David, Megan and Jacob Britenfeld; two brothers, William "Bobo," Ironwood Township, and Rudy (Margie), Henderson, N.C.; two sisters, Betty Corolewski, Wausau, Wis., and Mary Ann (Jack) White, Hayward, Wis.; a brother-in-law, Jim Colosimo, Kenosha, Wis.; two sisters-in-law, Marie Colosimo, Hurley, Wis., and Gloria (Steve) Uremovich, Two Harbors, Minn.; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by sisters-in-law, Barbara Mukavitz, Ruth Colosimo and Joanne Risko; and brothers-in-law, Bill Risko and Eugene "Curly" Corolewski.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, June 7, at 11 a.m., preceded by visitation in the St. Joseph Family Room at 10 a.m., at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Ironwood, with the Rev. Robb Jurkovich, celebrant.
Luncheon will follow in the parish hall.
Rite of Committal and private interment will be in Sunset Acres Cemetery, Ironwood Township.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the American Cancer Society.
Arrangements have been entrusted to McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Ironwood, where condolences may be expressed online at mckevittpatrickfuneralhome.com.