106 West Main Street
P.O. Box 146
Phone: 906-475-4631
Fax: 906-475-5561


Friday, November 2nd, 1945 - Wednesday, April 28th, 2021
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Ralph John “RJ” Maki, Sr., 75, of Palmer, entered eternal life Wednesday afternoon, April 28, 2021 at UP Health System Marquette surrounded by his loving family.

RJ was born November 5, 1945 in Ishpeming to Hugo John and Ilmi Helen (Kangas) Ammesmaki and graduated from Negaunee High School, Class of 1964. He was a proud veteran of the United States Army, having served as a helicopter door gunner during Vietnam from 1966-68. Following his service to his country, RJ was employed with Ford Motor Company and enjoyed his 1965 Plymouth Sport Fury. He then worked as a logger, getting paid by the stick, before working for over 30 years with Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company at the Empire and Tilden Mines.

RJ was a member of Eastwood Apostolic Lutheran Church, VA Romo Post #3165, Negaunee VFW and the Richmond Township Community Club. He was an avid steelhead fisherman with an annual spring camping trip to the Mosquito River, enjoyed deer hunting from camp, ice fishing, and camping at Bass Lake in the summertime. He also played the accordion and was an avid Packer fan. In his younger years, he ski jumped at Suicide Bowl along with other various hills. RJ was a unique and colorful character who had a great sense of humor, always said what was on his mind, and loved having beers with his friends.

Surviving are his sons: RJ Maki, Jr. of Negaunee, Shawn (Stephanie) Maki of Negaunee, Ryan (Janette) Maki of Grand Rapids, and their mother, Susan (Melka) Maki; son, Chris Ewald of Minnesota; step-daughter, Melissa Matheson of Negaunee; three grandchildren: Alyson Maki, and Josh and Kate Maki; brother, Kenneth (Kathy Symons) Maki of Negaunee; sister, Karen (Scott) Couture of Ishpeming; nieces and nephews: Duane Cotterman, Jodi Maki, Megan, Paige and Ethan Couture; and his beloved K9 companion, Murphy. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Alan “Goofus” Ammesmaki.

Funeral services will be held at 12:00 noon on Tuesday, May 4th at Eastwood Apostolic Lutheran Church in Negaunee with Rev. Dale Niskanen and Rev. D. Michael Carriere officiating. Burial will be in the Negaunee Cemetery. The family will greet relatives and friends from 10:00 am until the time of services at 12:00 noon at the church on Tuesday. Pallbearers will be RJ’s sons, brother, Kenneth Maki, brother-in-law, Scott Couture, and nephews, Duane Cotterman and Ethan Couture. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed in RJ’s memory to UPAWS or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. In accordance with COVID precautions, please wear a face covering and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

RJ’s memorial page may be viewed at koskeyfuneralhome.com.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Tuesday, May 4th, 2021 | 10:00am - 12:00pm
    Tuesday, May 4th, 2021 10:00am - 12:00pm
    Eastwood Apostolic Lutheran Church
    121 Sunset Dr.
    NEGAUNEE, MI 49866
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Tuesday, May 4th, 2021 | 12:00pm
    Tuesday, May 4th, 2021 12:00pm
    Eastwood Apostolic Lutheran Church
    Address Not Available
    Rev. Dale Niskanen
    Rev. D. Michael Carriere
  • Interment

    Negaunee Cemetery
    Address Not Available


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Rob and Martha and Michigan State Police Canine Unit sent flowers to the family of RALPH JOHN "RJ" MAKI.
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Butch and Donita

Posted at 09:22am
So sorry and sad to learn that the world has physically lost our friend RJ.
His laugh, voice and personality will live forever in our memories.
RJ was a welcomed visitor to our home.
Rst in peace our friend!
Butch and Donita

Bryan and Sandy Burkhalter

Posted at 05:25pm
We are very sad to learn of the passing of Ralph (RJ). I hope he is catching the biggest of fish from the rivers of heaven! Rest in peace Cousin. We will make a donation to St Jude, as was requested in his obituary.

Rob and Martha

Posted at 11:29am
Ryan and Nettie, so sorry to hear about your dad, you're in our thoughts and prayers.
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Bruce Koski

Posted at 07:35pm
Condolences to Ralph's family....
I will always remember his RUDY DRY growing up along with TK....go and join him for a beer he will be ready...RUDY.

Keith Holmgren

Posted at 04:11pm
My condolences to RJ's family. I had the privilege of working as RJ's partner when I was a summer student at Tilden. I will never forget his smile, his sense of humor, his love of life, and direct way of letting us know what he was thinking. I'm saddened to know that he has passed away. He left me with a lot of great stories and memories.

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