Cover photo for Ralph Nikunen's Obituary
Ralph Nikunen Profile Photo
1932 Ralph 2016

Ralph Nikunen

March 29, 1932 — March 4, 2016

Funeral services for Ralph “Mustard” Arnold Nikunen, 83, of Sparta will be 1 PM Monday, March 7, 2016 at the United in Christ Lutheran Church in Eveleth with Pastor Steve Weston officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be 2 PM Tuesday, March 8, 2016 in the Gilbert Cemetery. Military honors will be accorded by the Gilbert Color Guard. Arrangements are by the Ziemer-Moeglein-Shatava Funeral Home in Gilbert. Mr. Nikunen died Friday, March 4, 2016 at St. Raphael’s Health and Rehabilitation Center in Eveleth. He was born on March 29, 1932 to Toivo “Hjalmer” and Mayme (Lakso) Nikunen in Sparta. Ralph was the middle child of 11. He graduated from the Gilbert High School, Class of 1950. Following school he enlisted in the US Army and served in the Korean Conflict from 1952-1954. Upon returning home, Ralph married Darlene Orehek on July 2, 1955 in Eveleth. The couple made their home in Sparta where they raised six children. Ralph was a hard worker. He had been employed as a Gilbert Police Officer, Gulbranson Excavating. He worked for Dupont and later retired as a diesel mechanic at Min/Ex. Ralph was a lifetime member of the VFW Post 4456 and the United in Christ Lutheran Church. Survivors include three daughters: Sharon (James) Bertucci of Eveleth, Michelle Bradach and Jaqueline Nikunen, both of Gilbert; two sons: Bernie (Melanie) Nikunen of Superior, WI, and Duane (Candie) Nikunen of Eveleth; thirteen grandchildren: Nicholas (Mandi) Skrbec, Sara (Donald) Malewitz, Tara (Sam) Stanisich, Ginny Burdue, James (Mandy) Bertucci, Mark (Cindy) Bradach, Nathan (Jordan) Nikunen, Alan (Danielle) Mattson, Nikki Nikunen, Brad (Laurissa) Nikunen, Brittany (Kyle) Nikunen, Kacee Nikunen, and Tanner Nikunen; ten great-grandchildren: Valerie and Jimmy Stanisich, Lucas and Josephine Malewitz, Audree Scheer, Bexley and Baby Boy Bertucci, Braxton Nikunen, Lawson Duffy, and Carter Nanti; Ralph’s partner: Austrid “Tootie” Koshar; two brothers: Richard and Ronald (Darlene) Nikunen; four sisters: Ruth Cobb, Muriel Salo, Marilyn Jones, and Patricia Hedman; numerous nieces and nephews; and his special dog, Buddy. He was preceded in death by his wife, Darlene; a son, LeRoy; grandson, Lucas Bertucci; siblings, Raymond, Art, and Roger Nikunen and Shirley Torma; Daughter-in-law: Merlene Nikunen; and his parents.
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Monday, March 7, 2016

Starts at 1:00 pm (Central time)

United in Christ Lutheran Church

201 Station 44 Rd, Eveleth, MN 55734

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Funeral Service

Monday, March 7, 2016

Starts at 1:00 pm (Central time)

United in Christ Lutheran Church

201 Station 44 Rd, Eveleth, MN 55734

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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