Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Nancy Ann Vaara

HURLEY, Wis. — Nancy Ann Vaara, 83, of Bessemer, Michigan, passed away on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, at Villa Maria Health and Rehabilitation Center in Hurley.

Nancy was born on April 13, 1939, in Ironwood, Michigan, to the late Raniero “Spun” and Edith (St. John) Matrella.

She grew up in Bessemer and graduated from A.D. Johnston High School with the class of 1957. She married Robert “Bob” Vaara in Las Vegas in April 1983. She began working in 1966 as a clerk with Lake Superior District Power Company and continued her career with them as they became Northern State Power Company and then retired from Xcel Energy in 1996. She was a “Go Blue” Michigan fan and loved watching the games. She and Bob enjoyed going on many trips to Las Vegas.

She is survived by her brothers, Thomas (Donna) Matrella, and James “Midge” (Patricia) Matrella; nieces, Juliane (John) Giackino, Mariane (Dave) Zielinski, Sue (Mark) Samardich, and their children; and her dear friends, Dave and Nancy Carpenedo.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband of 29 years, Robert “Bob” Vaara in 2012.

A private burial will take place in the spring.

Friends may leave condolences and tributes to Nancy’s family online at

The family has chosen Frick-Zielinski Funeral Home of Bessemer to honor Nancy’s legacy of life.