Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Ladd E. Honkala

IRONWOOD, Mich. - Ladd E. Honkala, 76, of Ironwood, died peacefully at home on Thursday, May 18, 2023.

He was preceded in death by his parents, George and Marion Honkala; his sister, Georgia Taylor; his niece, Sherri Taylor; and his son, Ladd George Honkala II. Also gone before him are Sam, Milo, Kitty Cat, Toivo and Shade.

He is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Susan Honkala; his daughter, Toni (Todd) Aanonsen of New York; his son, Brent (Becky Randall) Honkala of Bessemer; granddaughters, Shelby Schultz of New York, Abby Schultz of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and Macey Schultz of Portland, Oregon, and grandson, Ladd (Paris Curnow) Honkala III of Ironwood; and great-granddaughter, Brynlee Honkala. Gunner and Maggie are his pets that brought him unconditional love and companionship.

Ladd was raised in Bessemer in Yale Location. He graduated from A.D. Johnston High School and attended Michigan Tech. He worked for United Parcel Service and was promoted and relocated to Butte, Montana. Ladd had a love of the mountains and camping was a favorite activity for him and his young family. A spinal injury that occurred at work and several failed back surgeries lead him to early retirement and a life of chronic pain. It also brought Ladd and Sue back to the U.P. where they had support of their extended families. Ladd was on the board of the Gogebic County Federal Credit Union until his death. That work always gave him a good excuse to come to town and have breakfast and coffee in Wakefield!

He loved attending all of his boys' football games and had many memories from that exciting time in Ladd and Brent's life. As all good Yoopers, he enjoyed fishing on Lake Gogebic and hunting. As he got older, he did less hunting as he got more enjoyment from just being in the woods and watching the deer and other animals throughout the year. While he claimed he didn't see anything or couldn't get a good shot off - we all knew it was because he had named all the deer and couldn't bear the thought of killing them. However, he would always be happy to take the offered meat from other hunters. He loved to cut wood and that task became part of his being. A few months ago, we asked what his goals were as he was entering hospice care - and he responded "to get outside and chop wood." He was a night owl and would always stay up late watching news shows and snacking, with his beloved pets around him. A bag of chocolate chips or Lay's potato chips would not last long in the house.

Ladd was a quiet, reflective and humble man. He refunded, collected cans to raise money for the first computer lab at St. Sebastian School. He would bring treats for the pets of his friends when visiting, snow plow for neighbors without being asked, "loan" money to family members without the expectation that it would be repaid, and was the best listener and problem solver. He could always find humor in life events and had a subtle wit, which is a characteristic he passed on to his children. We know that if we asked him what he was most proud of, he would have said it was when he and Sue raised their grandson after their son's death. To see him happy and with his family, Paris and Brynlee, was such a joy to him over this past year and a testament to their second wind of parenting.

"You can always tell a Finlander but you can't tell him much" - was a phrase he lived up to in numerous ways.

Special thank you to Dr. Rocco and his nurse Joanne, Range Hospice, Paula RN and Koko Ladd for your patience, understanding, care and support.

To my mom and Brent - you were able to give Dad the death he wanted - what a loving, blessing to him.

Ladd left his home after death, dressed in his "good" camo with his Trump 2024 hat. God Bless America!

Per his wishes, he has been cremated. No public service will be held.

Jerald Rocco, owner and manager of Lakeside Memorial Chapel Inc., in Wakefield, is assisting the family with arrangements. To send online condolences or to share a memory, please go to