The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

ENC William B. Sikonia, USN, Retired

 

February 5, 2018

IRONWOOD, Mich. - ENC William B. Sikonia, USN, Retired, 88, a long-time resident of Erwin Township, passed away Friday morning, Feb. 2, 2018.

Bill was born on Aug. 5, 1929, at Grand View Hospital in Bessemer Township, a son of Karl and Mary (Kozens) Sikonia. He attended Norrie School from kindergarten through the third grade. In 1937, his family bought a forty-acre dairy farm and moved to Erwin Township. Bill then attended Erwin Central School and graduated from Luther L. Wright High School in 1947.

In January 1948, Bill entered boot camp at Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill. After completing basic training, he moved to Norfolk Va., for nine years, instructor duty at Millington Tenn., for two years, followed by a tour in Guantanamo Bay Cuba for more than four years. Bill was active duty from 1948 to 1968 during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. For 13 years, he was on sea duty that included tours on four different ships and even some submarine duty. During his last sea duty tour in 1964, Bill participated in Operation Sea Orbit, an around-the-world cruise of the United States Navy's Task Force One, consisting of USS Enterprise (CVAN-65), USS Long Beach (CGN-9) and USS Bainbridge (DLGN-25). This all-nuclear-powered unit steamed 30,565 miles unrefueled around the world for sixty-five days. He then transferred to Fleet Reserve from 1968 to 1978. Bill retired from the U.S. Navy attaining the rank of Chief Petty Officer and returned home to Ironwood to his family. During his Naval service, he received five Good Conduct Awards and several campaign medals including the Navy Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal and Vietnam Service Medal.

In a previous marriage Bill had three sons; William, Carl and Steven.

On March 14, 1974, Bill was united in marriage to the love of his life, Susanne Marie Sederholm, in Las Vegas, Nev. They shared more than 43 wonderful years together and were blessed with two sons, Robert and Gregory.

Always aspiring to learn more, he enrolled at Gogebic Community College and received an automotive mechanic certificate. He worked at Lahti Chevrolet Cadillac Inc. for two years and then at Gotta Motors Inc. for an additional 13 years, both in Ironwood. For the next nine years, he owned and operated his own business, Bill's Pioneer Road Automotive, as a master mechanic before retiring ... but not from tinkering with classic cars.

Bill was a devout Catholic. He was baptized at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Ironwood and was a faithful member of Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Ironwood.

Bill was a supporting member of the Fleet Reserves Association, U.S. Navy Memorial, National Rifle Association, Gogebic County Veterans Council, Heritage Foundation and Hillsdale College. He was an honorary lifetime member of the Klassic Kruisers Car Club.

He was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandpa, great-grandpa and friend and will be dearly missed by all who knew him.

Bill is survived by his beloved wife, Susanne; four sons, William J., Weston, Wis., Steven E. (Sharon), Oxnard, Calif., Robert J. (Dawn), Ironwood, and Gregory P., Chanhassen, Minn .; daughter-in-law, Valerie Sikonia, Chesapeake, Va .; seven grandchildren, Theresea (Isais) Cruz, Elizabeth, Kristen, Scott, Steven Michael, Connor and Evan; numerous great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Marilyn Sikonia, St. Paul, Minn .; and several dear cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents; son, Carl L. (Feb. 2, 2010); grandson, Kevin P. (April 21, 2011); brother, Charles D. (Aug. 23, 2016); and his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Lester and Amelia Sederholm.

The family is honoring Bill's life in a private Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Ironwood, with the Rev. Robb Jurkovich, celebrant. Pallbearers will be from Bill's family and friends.

Military rites will be accorded at the church under the auspices of the Bessemer Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3673 and Bessemer American Legion Post 27 Honor Guard, assisted by the U.S. Navy Honors Team.

Rite of Committal and interment will take place at Riverside Cemetery, Ironwood, in the spring.

Expressions of affection in a charitable contribution in Bill's memory are suggested in lieu of flowers to Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church, 108 S. Marquette St., Ironwood, MI 49938.

The family wishes to thank Aspirus Ironwood Hospital and Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth, Minn., for their excellent and compassionate care given to Bill.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Jerald Rocco, owner and manager of Lakeside Memorial Chapel Inc., in Wakefield. Condolences may be expressed online lakesidememorialchapel.com.

 
 

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