Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Olive G. Niemi

IRONWOOD, Mich. - Olive G. Niemi, 86, of Ironwood, passed away peacefully on March 25, 2021. She was preceded in death by her loving husband, Raymond R. Niemi; and brothers, Charlie and Billy; and sister, Nancy Jo.

She is survived by her two sons, Raymond A. Niemi (Paulette) and Patrick J. Niemi; her grandsons, Andrew, Nicholas, Michael and Anthony Niemi; and her sister, Lillian Sullivan. She is also survived by many relatives and friends.

Olive married her husband, Ray, in 1955 and they shared a life together raising their two sons on the family homestead in North Ironwood. She loved her husband, her boys, and her entire family (which is rather extensive).

Olive lived a life of education. She received her bachelor's degree in elementary education with an emphasis in art from Northland College, and then went on to earn a master's degree in reading at Northern Michigan University. She taught at the Wakefield School District for 30 years. Her favorite grade to teach was first grade, as she loved little children and teaching them to read. She was famous for her chocolate chip pancakes, which she made as a special treat for the students. Olive and her husband, Ray, coached the Wakefield Cardinals girls' basketball team for many years, which she enjoyed immensely.

Olive was well known in the community. She participated as a board member of the Iron County Community Credit Union for years and was one of the founding members. Olive was also very involved with local 4-H programming and youth, and entered her students' arts and crafts projects in the fair yearly providing many displays. Upon retirement, she volunteered to teach art at Wakefield School and at Our Lady of Peace Catholic School. Olive loved art and loved sharing her creative spirit with anyone. She was also a member of the Range Carving Club, Range Artists, and was a Master Gardener.

Family was most important to Olive. Her grandsons were the apple of her eye and she enjoyed spending many hours with them, teaching them to read when they were little and attending all their sports and school events as they grew up. She was proud of them all. Her extended family includes foreign exchange students, Arcadio, Martha, Gabby and Ellie, all from Monterrey, Mexico, whom she loved dearly.

Anyone who knew Olive, knew she loved to cook. There was always something homemade when you stopped by for visit. Some of the grandchildren's favorites included her homemade ravioli and pies. She was also a great canner, making another favorite, crabapple jelly.

Ray and Olive enjoyed family and traveling, making trips to Mexico to visit their foreign exchange students and special trips to Finland and the West Coast to visit family.

A graveside service to celebrate Olive's life will be held in the spring for close family and friends. In honor of Olive's love of children and her kind and giving nature, all remembrances in her name will be given to the Wakefield-Marenisco School District to help support a youth ski program.

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