Cover photo for Leonard Pylka's Obituary
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1919 Leonard 2019

Leonard Pylka

July 19, 1919 — January 3, 2019

Leonard Raymond Pylka, 99, of Duluth, formerly of Aurora, passed away peacefully with his children by his side on Thursday, January 3, 2019 at Chris Jensen Health and Rehabilitation Center in Duluth.


He was born July 19, 1919 in Embarrass to John and Annalisa Pylka. He was the youngest of 16 children, born on the odd years, including a twin brother.  He graduated from Embarrass high School and worked for the DM&IR Railroad from 1941-1954.  Leonard enlisted with the US Army in 1942.  He was a proud WWII veteran stationed in California, the Aleutian Islands and Saipan.  When he returned home from the war, he married his sweetheart, Irene Maki.


In 1954 Leonard began working at Erie mining Company and retired in 1981 as an Area 1 Warehouse Foreman. In 2007 he and Irene moved to Duluth.  Leonard was a loyal “Iron Ranger”.  He continued to read the Mesabi Daily News to keep in touch with his community, its families and the Mining Industry. He never stopped being organized or being a number cruncher.


Leonard was a charter member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Aurora. He was a member of the Aurora American Legion where he served as historian and finance officer.  Leonard was honored as Grand Marshall of the Aurora 4th of July parade.  He received an award for being the “Last Man Standing” of the WWII veterans at Post 241 in Aurora.


Leonard enjoyed gardening, hunting, camping and fishing. He and Irene traveled numerous times to Texas, Florida, Hawaii and Finland.  He was an avid Twins baseball fan and he and Irene took many trips to watch them play. 


He is survived by his daughter, Peggy (Doug) MacDonald of Duluth; son, Bruce (Susie) Pylka of Sawyer; grandchildren: Shelly (Doug Koda) Crist, Jason (Mina Yee) MacDonald, Chad (Jessi) Pylka and Wade (Courtney Keyler) Pylka; six great grandchildren: Auston, Dylan, Finley, Mason, Emilia and Easton; sister-in-law, Anerva Pylka; numerus nieces and nephews.


He is preceded in death by his wife of 68 years, Irene in 2014; his parents and 15 brothers and sisters.


At Christmastime, Leonard said “I’ve lived a good life.” Sisu, Leonard!


The family wishes to extend a special thank you to the staff at Chris Jensen and to Hospice for the excellent care they provided to Leonard.


Leonard has requested no service be held at this time, but there will be a graveside service in the spring of 2019 at Forest Hill Cemetery in Aurora. Local arrangements by Ziemer-Moeglein-Shatava Funeral Home in Aurora.

To order memorial trees in memory of Leonard Pylka, please visit our tree store.


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