Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Ralph John Jurmu

WAKEFIELD, Mich. - Ralph John Jurmu, 88, of Wakefield, went to his eternal rest on Thursday evening, Oct. 28, 2021.

Ralph was born to J. Oscar and Eva (Pekkola) Jurmu on Nov. 2, 1932, in Wakefield, 15 minutes before his identical twin, Russell. Ralph graduated from Wakefield High School in 1950.

After working on ore ships on the Great Lakes, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1953, and served as a radar operator in Seattle until his honorable discharge in 1955. He continued in the Army Reserves for another eight years.

Ralph returned to Wakefield and married his sweetheart, Lorraine Backman, on June 17, 1955. Ralph and Lorraine were blessed with four children whom they raised in Wakefield.

He worked as a power plant operator for the White Pine Copper Company and served as a union steward.

Ralph was a child of God and a faithful member of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. He served as treasurer for 30 years, helped with the Altar Guild and taught Sunday school briefly.

Ralph was an outdoorsman who loved the northwoods, its trees and its wildlife. He has been described by many as being one of the toughest men they ever knew.

Ralph is survived by his loving wife of 66 years, Lorraine; three sons, John A. (Cheryl), Bozeman, Montana, Dennis, Hurley, Wisconsin, and Joe, Wakefield; a daughter, Debra, Madison, Wisconsin; a granddaughter, Sabrina (Matt) Spets, Weston, Wisconsin; a grandson, John O., Bozeman; three great-grandchildren, Danika, Sawyer and Grady Spets, all of Weston; two sisters, Eva Urso, Carolina Beach, North Carolina, and June Rado, Northfield, Minnesota; two brothers, Russell (Audrey), Millersville, Maryland, and David (Rae), Rock Island, Illinois; as well as numerous nieces and nephews and their children.

He was preceded in death by his parents; an infant sister, Joyce; a brother, Bernard "Bernie;" his mother-in-law, Helia Backman; and a nephew, Mark.

The family will greet relatives and friends on Wednesday, Nov. 3, from 10 to 10:45 a.m., at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, E8223 Sanders Road, in Bessemer, with the honor guard beginning at 10:15 a.m.

A funeral service will follow the visitation at 11 a.m., with the Rev. Timothy J. Steckling officiating. While masks are not mandated, the family encourages everyone attending to mask up and stay safe.

Honored to serve as pallbearers for Ralph are his sons, Dennis and Joe; his nephews, Daniel and Duane Hongisto; and his friends, Glen Mattson and Thane Peterson.

A committal service and interment will take place at Lakeside Cemetery in Wakefield, with a military graveside service under the auspices of Wakefield American Legion Geroux Post 11 and Wakefield Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9084 Honor Guard.

Special thanks to staff at Avanti Home Health and at the Gogebic Medical Care Facility for their compassion and care.

Jerald Rocco, owner and manager of Lakeside Memorial Chapel Inc., in Wakefield, is assisting the family with their arrangements. Condolences may be expressed online at

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