The much loved Mrs. Merryellen Elizabeth Toivola, 86, passed away Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, peacefully with her son, David Bruce, by her side and her devoted nieces, Debbie (White) and Gigi (Haugen), en-route to her bedside.
Merryellen was born into this world nearly 87 years ago to Mr. and Mrs. Peter E. Bye Sr. in Chisholm. She was born at 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 23, 1931, and was 86 years old at the time of her passing. She was the fourth born of six Bye children.
Her family lived in the unique and very close knit Fraser Location, geographically situated outside of Chisholm and demarked by a State Historical Marker today on the Mesabi Trail. She and her siblings lived a simple, fun, loving and adventurous life with friends from Buhl, Chisholm and Hibbing that created strong, lifelong relationships. In fact, Merry and Bruce never missed each other's class reunions and stayed connected to these very special people their entire lives, often communicating with the Governor’s office or overseas. One never knew where the calls would be coming in from at the Toivola residence! Their small town classmates seemed to live and work across the globe and in every imaginable occupation.
The cabin life at Big Sturgeon held so many special memories for Merry, her husband, Bruce, and the entire Bye family. The one my mom and the family can all remember was grandpa Pete's (Merry's dad) breakfast of pan fish and fresh blueberry pancakes! Even if it was for supper! This was a place of refuge, simple times and Lake livin' for generations. My mom was so proud that it remains in the Bye family.
The proudest accomplishment of her life was that of being the wife and partner to her husband, Bruce. They were united in marriage on Dec. 27, 1952, in a Catholic ceremony at the St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Chisholm. Soon after, they were one of the first to build a home in the Outer/Inner Driver area of Hibbing's Greenhaven neighborhood (or "cow pasture" as Bruce referred to it in 1953). They loved their life there and all their dear neighbors. They enjoyed wonderful multi-ethnic parties with the neighborhood. The food was beyond exceptional. This generation knew how to enjoy life and they did through song, dance and laughter. Their love of travel, especially by car, possibly was the highlight of their nearly 55 years together. From St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Chicago to Black Hills rendezvous, or off to the Smoky Mountains at a moment's notice. They enjoyed the open road and made many friends along the way.
Their son, David, was born in October 1962, and Merryellen and Bruce gave all their time and energy to raising a high energy, multi-sport playing (NEVER missed a game), devilish, overly adventurous, often broken boned, rebellious by nature, ship with no sail kid and guided him (somehow) to a doctorate degree, careers, fatherhood (grandchildren) and into middle age. As Merry often said, "Miracles never cease." Amen.
After her husband, Bruce, passed away, Merryellen's ongoing health issues never stopped her will to live and enjoy the best life she could. She made her own decisions, was quick witted, very funny, and knew how to protect herself and her family until the end. She was a humble, yet very proud person. Her sense of humor and kindness were as constant as the sparkle in her eye.
She was most thankful for the care, love and friendship she received from her “rock" and special niece, Debbie (White); her Hospice care led by Dr. Bastianelli at the Fairview Range Hospital handled her passing with grace, compassion, dignity and love.
She is survived by son, David Toivola; granddaughter, Ashley Toivola; and grandson Austin Toivola.
Merryellen was preceded in death by her husband, Bruce; father, Peter Bye Sr.; mother, Doris Bye; grandson, Addison; brothers: Roger Sr., Peter Jr. and Frances Sr.; sisters, Margaret (Chubitz) and Lorraine (Scofield); nephew, Roger Bye Jr.; and Peggy Mae (Chubitz).
Funeral: At Merryellen's request there will be no funeral.
Burial: Arrangements are being handled by The Cremation Society of Minnesota. She will have a Catholic burial next to her husband, Bruce, in the Spring 2019. A family celebration of her life will be held after the burial at “the Lake."