We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Kerntz Funeral Home
Paul F. Ivancich, 59, passed away on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at his home on Burntside Lake, after a courageous, hard-fought, two-year battle with cancer.
Paul, known to many as Paulie or PI, was born in Ely on April 25, 1963, to Paul and Virgie Ivancich. He graduated from Ely High School and developed a great love and passion for sports while growing up, and played both basketball and baseball in high school. At an early age, he also began working at the family business, the Ely Dairy Queen, and shared many wonderful moments and memories while growing up with his brothers Frank and Joey, who passed away at age 15 from Cystic Fibrosis.
After graduating from Ely High School and Vermilion Community College, Paulie took over management and eventually ownership of the Dairy Queen, which in the mid-2000s became the DQ Grill and Chill. Under Paulie’s direction and management, the business grew substantially through the years. The building expanded on numerous occasions and both Paulie and the Ivancich family were recognized by International Dairy Queen for their efforts in turning the Ely store into one of the most popular and successful small-town Dairy Queen franchises in the upper Midwest. Paulie “worked” his business and did everything from take orders and make burgers and Dilly Bars to overseeing staff, handling freight and plowing snow from the parking lot. The business was successful because of Paulie’s passion, hands-on management, devotion to customer service and attention to detail.
Paulie was known both for his generosity and his community spirit. He gave of himself and his time to make Ely a better place to live. For many years, Paulie coached Little League baseball and was an assistant coach in both the boys and girls basketball programs at Ely High School. After coaching, he spent many years officiating basketball and football and was a longtime umpire for the Ely Little League. Paulie also helped broadcast football, basketball and baseball games on WELY Radio and for more than a decade led the Ely Baseball Association as its commissioner, overseeing and helping to coordinate numerous state Legion tournaments that brought thousands of people to Ely through the years.
Name a community group or organization and both Paulie and the DQ supported it, from community concerts to school programs and youth organizations. Through the years, Paulie was active in the Ely Chamber of Commerce, the Ely Jaycees, Incredible Ely, the school district financial advisory council and the Vermilion Community College Foundation. Paulie gave and gave of himself, his money, and his time to help Ely and the surrounding area.
On February 18, 2017, Paulie was surrounded by family and friends when he married Kelly Klun in Cabo San Lucas. Over the span of the last five years, Paulie and Kelly traveled twice around the world, visiting tourist destinations and exotic locales in several continents, while also criss-crossing the United States. Paulie and Kelly were true partners, sharing a love and passion for family, travel, business and Ely. Together, Paulie and Kelly established Vacation Uniquely, introducing the area to vacationers who came to their properties to experience the Northwoods. Paulie shared his love with both Kelly and the Klun family, as well as his family members in Ely and beyond.
Even as his health began to fail, Paulie never lost his passion for life, his zest for adventure or his aptitude for business. His personality and enthusiasm were infectious and never seemed to fade.
Paulie is survived by his wife Kelly; mother Virginia Ivancich; brother Frank Ivancich; mother-in-law Judy Klun, nephews Mychal (Kate), Steven, Aiden and Easton Ivancich, niece Kelsey (Miranda Ivancich-Osthoff) Ivancich-Osthoff; sisters-in-law Barb (Brad) Wilkins and Lauren Klun; brother-in-law Tom Klun, and numerous other relatives, friends and DQ coworkers. He was preceded in death by his father, Paul Ivancich; brother Joey Ivancich; and father-in-law Larry Klun, and his grandparents Frank and Helen Strukel, and Paul and Mary Ivancich.
A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Ely on Monday, August 8 at 11 a.m. with visitation from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, Ely Baseball Association or Incredible Ely.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home.