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.
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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.