October 19, 1933 ~ February 2, 2022 (age 88)

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Richard H (Dick) Zahn, 88, of Ely, passed away on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 at St. Lukes Hospital in Duluth.

Dick was born October 19, 1933 in Lac Qui Parle County Minnesota to John and Vida (La Tourelle) Zahn. 

Dick attended Boyd, Madison, and country schools. He graduated from Vermilion Community College in 1976 with AA and AAS degrees.

Dick joined the Minnesota Nation Guard at Madison, MN in July 1950.  In January 1951 the Minnesota Guard was activated for the Korean War. His division, 47th Infantry, was sent to Camp Rucker, Alabama In July 1951 Dick was sent to Korea with the C Btry 31st FA Bat. 7th Infantry Division.  He returned to the states in July 1952 and was released from active duty.

Dick worked in Chicago for General Retail Corporation as an assistant manager of Hardy Shoe store on Chicago’s south side.

In July 1953 he joined the U.S. Navy and medically retired in April 1972 as a Chief Gunners Mate with over 21 years of service. Dick was a Tin Can Sailor, he served on five different destroyers, with deployments to England, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and the Persian Gulf with the sixth fleet.  His last three ships were in the Pacific 7th fleet with tours in the Straits of Formosa, Japan, Viet Nam, and off the coast of Korea when Pueblo was taken. 

He attended Navy schools for the weapon systems he worked on as a Gunners Mate also for his role in leadership. He had two tours of shore duty at the Naval Reserve Training Center as an Instructor Chief of the Center and Recruiter for the Naval Reserve.

After his retirement from the Navy, he worked for the U.S. EPA on the Shagawa Lake Restoration Project in Ely, MN as the operator supervisor.  He then worked for Inland Steel at the Minorca Mine for 10 years in Virginia, MN as a millwright.  Next he took a position with Layton International as a Maintenance Specialist and Instructor in maintenance and operations of various types of processes for water treatment. He held an Oklahoma B certification in both water and wastewater and a Texas A certification in wastewater.  He later worked for San Antonio College as the primary instructor for all phases of wastewater treatment and authored its curriculum.  Dick also co-authored the chapter on Biological Rotating Contractors for the Texas Wastewater Manual.  

Dick taught Driver’s Education for six years in Ely, Babbitt, and Tower for Range Drivers Training.  He had over 650 students and loved every minute of it.

He was a lifetime member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled Veterans, Fleet Reserve Association, Tin Can Sailors, 40 and Eight, and the NRA. Dick was the 8th District Commander, Department of Minnesota, for the VFW and the American Legion.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers, Valoris and Desmond, sister Yvonne, his wife Joanne and granddaughter Hannah Jo.

Dick is survived by his daughters Pamela (Grant) Netzer and Wendy Jo (Mike) Sibley, grandchildren, Silas (Heather) Simone, Athena (Alex) Thomsen, Chrissy (Aric) Schumacher, Nathan Baseman, and Chantal Netzer. Great grandchildren Hailey and Allison Bandelow, Margaret, Ruth, and Hattie Simone, and Hazel Jo and Michael Demel

Funeral services will be at LedgeRock Community Church, on Tuesday, February 8, 2022, with visitation at 11:00 and service at noon. 

Dick and Joanne’s ashes will be interned at the Ely Veteran’s Cemetery in Ely, MN at a later date.

Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of RICHARD "DICK" H ZAHN, please visit our floral store.


February 8, 2022

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
LedgeRock Community Church
1515 East Camp Street
Ely, Minnesota 55731

Funeral Service
February 8, 2022

12:00 PM
LedgeRock Community Church
1515 East Camp Street
Ely, Minnesota 55731

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