Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

William A. 'Bill' Luoma

WAKEFIELD, Mich. - William A."Bill" Luoma, age 77, passed away peacefully on Sunday, June 23, 2024, at his home, surrounded by his loving family. Bill was a lifelong resident of Wakefield. He was born on Dec. 30, 1946, at Grand View Hospital in Bessemer Township, a son of William V. and Anne (Ribich) Luoma. He attended Wakefield High School and graduated with the class of 1965.

After graduating from high school, Bill attended Northern Michigan University, earning a bachelor's degree in vocational education. He began his teaching career in 1969 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but dedicated the majority of his career to the students at Luther L. Wright High School in Ironwood. Bill was a beloved teacher who impacted the lives of hundreds of students. He was particularly proud that his youngest daughter, Alison Stehlik, is continuing his legacy by teaching vocational education in the same classrooms where he taught for decades.

Bill had a distinguished military career spanning 30 years. He began as a private in the 107th Engineer Battalion of the Michigan National Guard in 1965 and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel, commanding the Upper Peninsula Battalion upon his retirement. In addition to the National Guard, Bill served in the U.S. Army Infantry division and in the 82nd Airborne Division. Throughout his military service, Bill was known for his integrity, kindness, authenticity and ability to connect deeply with those he served.

Bill married his best friend and life partner, Susan K. Toms, on Aug. 7, 1970, at St. Alphonsus Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Together, they shared almost 54 years of marriage and raised their family in the same home where Bill grew up in Wakefield.

Bill is survived by his wife, Susan Luoma, of Wakefield; his four children, 11 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren: son, William "Bill" R. Luoma, Jr. (Lisa Knott Luoma), and their children, Ella and Claire Luoma, of Franklin, Wisconsin; daughter, Emily (Craig) Melstrand, and their five children: Grace and Gavin Melstrand, of West Bend, Wisconsin, Nicole (Brian) Kikkert, and their children, Avery, Aaron and Dominic, Steven (Abby) Melstrand, and their children, Romen, Montagne, Cosette and Edyth and Gunnar (Katie) Melstrand, and their sons, Jedidiah and Cliff. Bill is further survived by his son, Aaron (Jill Cisewski) Luoma, and their daughters, Sadie and Molly Luoma, of Lindstrom, Minnesota; and daughter, Alison (Anthony) Stehlik, and their children, Lucy and Isla Stehlik, of Wakefield. Bill was an amazing dad and papa who loved playing and laughing with his grandchildren, who captured his heart. They will fondly remember their trips to Randall's Bakery with papa on the four-wheeler, nighttime rides in search of deer, playing "Man on the Mountain," and hearing him affectionately call them his "little rats." His family will forever cherish his unwavering love and infectious smile.

Bill is also survived by a brother, Ray (Deb) Luoma, of Virginia, Minnesota; and his four nephews, Eric (Hailey) Luoma, Dan (Alisha) Luoma, Matthew (Sara Jo) Luoma and Michael (Hylem) Luoma.

Bill lived in Wakefield, for the majority of his life. He deeply loved his community and continued to demonstrate leadership through his service until his passing. Bill served on the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Council and devoted countless hours to serving the church community. He was a selfless neighbor and friend who consistently lent a helping hand to others. When asked how he wished to be remembered, Bill emphasized the importance of being remembered as a good friend. Undoubtedly, those who loved Bill will remember him as the absolute best friend anyone could ever have.

The family will greet relatives and friends on Monday, July 1, from 9:30 to 11 a.m., at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 407 Ascherman St., in Wakefield, with the honor guard beginning at 10:15 a.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow the visitation at 11 a.m., with the Rev. Dominic Agyapong, celebrant.

Rite of Committal and interment will take place at the Lakeside Cemetery in Wakefield, with a military graveside service under the auspices of the Wakefield American Legion Geroux Post 11 and Wakefield Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9084 Honor Guard, assisted by the U.P. Funeral Honors Team.

A luncheon will be served at the Wakefield VFW Post 9084, 107 E. US 2, in Wakefield, upon return from the cemetery.

The family would like to thank the Aspirus Hospice team, Michelle, Leah and Pastor Bill for their supportive care during this time.

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

 
 
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