William Roy Suhonen Sr.

William Suhonen, 87, longtime resident of Hibbing, died peacefully at home, held in the arms of his loving wife and surrounded by his devoted family. Bill was the son of William E. and Burniece (Van Mere) Suhonen.

Unlike his parents, Bill was granted length to his years and he made the most of the time given to him. He married his high school sweetheart, Mary Ellen Galatz, and for more than seventy years they formed an inseparable union. Their deep and abiding love for one another was boundless, and spilled over onto their six children. Together, hand in hand, side by side, through thick and thin, they raised a family that was securely embraced by unconditional love.

Early in their marriage, Bill found out that Galatz love was impossible to resist and he was gladly absorbed into and immediately ‘adopted’ by the many members of Mary Ellen’s family. Forever at the top of his all-time list of most favorite people were Grandma Marie and Grandpa Louie Galatz.

Bill was a voracious consumer of hard work and Mary Ellen’s homemade sweets. He was quick to arrive at a hearty laugh and even quicker to lend a helping hand. Those who were nearest and dearest to Bill knew him to be the spirited owner of a tender heart.

Affectionately nicknamed ‘Sulo’ by his co-workers at EvTac, he was a highly regarded craftsman. He was especially fond of his workmates Bob Thomas and Dave Durbahn Sr. and spoke of them frequently. Bill was a certified welder/plumber who took great pride in his work. “If you want the job done right, go get Sulo.”

Bill adored his younger sisters, Jini and Jeannie, always speaking of them in the highest of terms. When the proper time came, they, along with their mother, paved the way for their ‘Billy’ to assume ownership of the family cabin on Big Sturgeon Lake; an act of overwhelming generosity that allowed their brother and son to live out his dream on Pike Point. After the early death of his mother, Bill spent much of his youth at the cabin with his Grandpa Suhonen and his Dad, making the memories he lovingly shared with his family. Bill’s motto at the cabin was, “it’s Open House every day” and he loved having family spend time with him at his happy place.

Bill Suhonen spoke honestly, worked tirelessly, loved joyfully, gave generously, and best of all, he lived honorably. You could ask no more of any man.

Rest easy now, Dad. You’ve earned it.

Bill is survived by the love of his life, Mary Ellen Suhonen; and five children: Greg (Joan) Suhonen, Sandy (Mark) Walters, Bob (Christine) Suhonen, Sam (Crystal) Suhonen, Scott (Wendy) Suhonen; and daughter-in-law, Lana (Bill Jr.) Suhonen; his sisters, Virginia (Lt. General (ret.) Michael) Short and Jeannie (Larry) Stewart; 13 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by many beloved members of his extended Suhonen and Galatz families. There was never any “in-law” distinction to Bill — everyone was close family to him.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and infant sister, Burniece; his second mother, Mary Frances (Arko) Suhonen; and eldest son, William Roy Suhonen Jr.; as well as many dear members of the extended Suhonen and Galatz families.

Per his request, Bill wanted no visitation or funeral service. The family will hold a celebration of Bill’s life at a later date as well as honoring him every day of their lives.

Bill’s family would like to extend our warmest thanks to Dr. Bob Chalgren, Dr. Mark Wagner, and Jennifer Kober, Cardiology NP for their many years of vigilant care of Bill’s health and giving him all the time he needed at each and every visit. He thought the world of all of them. We also wish to thank the entire staff of the Senior Care Unit at Mille Lacs Health System in Onamia, Minn., who cared so lovingly for Dad during the past two months that we could not visit due to Covid rules. Thanks as well to SMDC East Range Hospice for their immediate response in arranging care in Hibbing so Dad could be in his own home on Dupont Road as he wished.

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