Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

John Richard Kahila

WAKEFIELD, Mich. - John Richard Kahila, 77, of Wakefield, Michigan, passed away on Monday, May 20, 2024, at Aspirus Ironwood Hospital in Ironwood.

John was born on April 3, 1947, in Bessemer Township, the son of Kauno and Evelyn June (Grenfell) Kahila. He attended A.D. Johnston High School in Bessemer and graduated in 1965. John completed a 32-week manpower development and training course at Michigan Technological University in Houghton and earned a certificate as a head sawyer.

John enlisted in the U.S. Army on March 28, 1966, and was honorably discharged on March 27, 1969. For one year, he was in the Vietnam War, assigned to Pleiku Air Base. John was an E-5 sergeant and was first assigned to Fort Lewis, Washington, 63rd Ordnance (Ord), Company (CO) Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) 55B20/ammunition specialist/ammunition storage supply. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal (NDSM), M-14 Marksmanship Badge, Vietnam Service Medal and Vietnam Campaign Medal.

On Sept. 2, 1978, John was united in marriage to Judy Ann (Boetto) DeMarte in Wakefield, by the Rev. Lillian G. Richards.

John was an avid fisherman, hunter and outdoorsman. He loved his family, especially his grandchildren. His hobbies included decorating birthday cakes and playing card games, and he was an amazing freehand drawer.

John supported the Wounded Warrior Programs and the Disabled American Veterans. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and the Wakefield United Methodist Church.

For 25 years, John was employed at the White Pine Copper Mine. For more than 10 years, he worked as an environmental inspector for the pipeline.

John is survived by his wife of nearly 47 years, Judy; two sons, Dino (Heather) DeMarte, and their three children, Hailey, Myles and Chase, and Aaron DeMarte (Lisa Fuith), and his daughter, Zoey; a sister, Diane (Robert) Chipperi and family; two sisters-in-law, Janice Hamilton and family and Jo (Paul) Schultz and family; his brother-in-law, Louie (Mary) Boetto and family; and several uncles, aunts and cousins.

He was predeceased by his parents and many uncles and aunts.

A private family graveside service will be held at the upper commons of the World War II memorial at the Lakeside Cemetery in Wakefield. The Rev. Pamela Starr, pastor of the Wakefield United Methodist Church, will officiate.

Military rites will be accorded by the Wakefield American Legion Geroux Post 11 and Wakefield VFW Post 9084 Honor Guard, assisted by the U.S. Army Funeral Honors Team.

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

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