Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Roland Richard Niemi Jr.

WAKEFIELD, Mich. - Roland Richard Niemi Jr., 76, a longtime resident of Wakefield, passed away Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

Roland was born on July 5, 1943, in Bessemer Township, the son of Jean Margaret (St. Louis) and Roland Richard Niemi Sr.

He proudly served his country in the U.S. Army from 1960 to 1963 in Korea.

Following his honorable discharge, Roland met and married the love of his life, Sandra Marie Wakkinen. Their early married life started in Milwaukee where one of the highlights was working at Harley-Davidson. Wanting a quieter life to raise their family, they moved to Michigan where Roland worked as an independent logging contractor.

Together they raised their children and grandchildren on a 120-acre playground. His legacy is the memories they will have playing on Bunker Hill, the infamous rock fight, planting trees and the love that filled the walls of his home and the echoes of his grandchildren's and great-grandchildren's tiny footsteps.

Roland is survived by four daughters, Lori (Rick) Lanctoe, Billie (Mike) Manicki, Peggy Charles and Bobbi (Ed) Ferguson; 11 cherished grandchildren, Tara (Shawn) Phillips, Tamara (Andrew) Knaack, Justin Ceplina, Caitlan Niemi, Jennifer (Travis) Davis, Thomas (TJ) Charles, Rachel and Ryan Manicki and Kiersten, Hannah and Meghan Ferguson; seven dear great grandchildren, Tanner and Ellen Leuzzo, Aubrey and Evan Knaack, Lincoln and Archie Davis and Holden Mertz; four sisters, Gloria (Ray) Simmons, Carol Niemi, Bonnie Niemi and Mary Niemi; many beloved nieces and nephews; two sisters-in-law, Mary Lee Alexander and Helen (Joseph) Smallwood; two brothers-in-law, George (Judy) Wakkinen and Melvin Wakkinen Jr .; and his beloved pals, Hannu Venetjoki and Sonny Wainio. He will be deeply missed by his companion and friend, June Strasser.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his loving wife, Sandra (Sandi); two granddaughters, Brianna and Stephanie Charles; and his son-in-law, Thomas Michael "Bam Bam" Charles.

When asked what his greatest accomplishment in life was, Roland simply answered "my family." He will be greatly missed by many.

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