William "Bill" Palo passed away on Sunday, March 27 at Essentia Health - St Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth at the age of 83. He was born on November 19, 1938 in the Town of White, MN to Frank and Aili Palo.
Bill attended Tower-Soudan High School, graduating in 1956 and spent several years working in the woods, logging, hauling timber and developing skills he would later put to use as a mason and miner. Bill married his wife of 60 years, Genevieve Pirtz, on February 24, 1962. For the majority of his career, Bill worked as a Millright at Reserve Mining and LTV Steel, retiring in May 2002 after nearly 40 years in the mining industry.
A proud veteran, Bill served in the United States Army from 1961-1963, including a tour of duty in Germany. He was also a member of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church and the American Legion.
One of Bill’s greatest joys in life was serving in various capacities supporting youth sports in Ely. He was a long-time member of the Ely Blue Line Club and Ely Baseball Association. He served as a coach and referee and continued to spend countless evenings watching youth & High School hockey practices and games over the years, well after he’d retired from coaching. Baseball was Bill’s summer passion; where he served on various committees supporting the town of Ely as it hosted numerous State and National baseball tournaments. In addition to volunteering his time planning and working these tournaments, he enjoyed attending numerous Ely High School sporting events and listening on WELY when he couldn’t be there in person.
When he wasn’t working in the yard or building bird feeders, Bill enjoyed fishing the area lakes, both winter and summer. In his later years, he was known to tell his grandchildren that he’d caught enough walleyes, and it was time for others to have their chance! Bill made numerous trips into the BWCA with his sons and their friends, passing along the skills he’d honed through years exploring the wilderness.
Above all else, Bill was devoted to his family and a very hard working old-timer. He loved to explore the woods near the family home in Ely, and tinker endlessly on projects “in the garage”. Bill was gentle and reserved, and 100% Finlander through and through. He was a man of very few words, but was always very kind and welcoming to all.
Bill is survived by his wife of 60 years, Gen, sons Brian (Jennifer) Palo, Bill (Melanie) Palo, and daughter Suzanne (Mike) Becker. Grandchildren Matt, Katie, Michael and Luke Palo, Ben, Will and Lauren Becker, and Ava and Wyatt Palo. He is also survived by sisters Irene Wilson, Helen Huovinen, Melia (Tony) Shikonya, and Ann Sandys, and many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his good friend and fishing partner Bill Horvat.
Bill was preceeded in death by his parents, brothers Jim and Paul, and sisters Hazel, Dorothy and Ruth.
Mass of Christian burial will be held at 11:00am, June 11 at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church. Visitation 1 hour prior. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Ely Baseball Association.
Family arrangement have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.
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