KINGSFORD - George D. Skaja, 96, formerly of Ironwood and Woodruff, Wis., passed away on June 22, 2013, at the home of his daughter and son-in-law, Georgene and Ned Aldridge in Kingsford.
He was born on May 12, 1917, in Rhinelander, Wis., son of the late Anna (Antes) and Edward Skaja. He attended school in McNaughton, Wis. until his family moved to Oma, Wis. where he completed his elementary education. He then attended Hurley High School in Hurley, Wis., graduating in 1936.
Following high school, George went to work for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad as a member of a section crew. He also operated their bulldozer doing jobs from Ironwood to Green Bay. This was his favorite of all of the jobs he held during his lifetime. After retiring from the railroad, he worked for Master Bread delivering from Wakefield to Ontonagon, Mass City, Bruce Crossing, Lake Gogebic, etc. He also worked part time for Ruppe Concrete Products doing mechanic work. Following that, he worked at the White Pine Copper mine as a diesel mechanic until his retirement in 1979.
He married Eva Marie Balduc at the St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Ironwood on June 26, 1937. She preceded him in death on April 6, 1973.
George married Nellie Short on May 12, 1979. They resided in Woodruff and enjoyed traveling, seeing almost all of the states, including Hawaii. They eventually split their time between Woodruff and Zephyrhills, Fla.
Nellie passed away on Dec. 11, 1989. He was also preceded in death by his later in life companion, Lillian Haff, in November 2010.
George is survived by eight children from his marriage with Eva: sons, Don (Nancy) of Greendale, Wis., Patrick (Mary Ann) of Novi, James (Bunny) of Avon Park, Fla., Thomas (Donna) of Maple Grove, Minn., and Mark (Linda) of Elida, Ohio, and daughters, Georgene (Ned) Aldridge of Kingsford, Mary Joyce (Kelly) Miskovich of Wakefield, and Jill (Dan) Baker of DePere, Wis.
He is further survived by 21 grandchildren, David, Joel, Renee, Katie, Amy, Noel, Susan, Kim, Wendy, Heidi, Michael, Chad, Adrienne, Lindsey, Crystal, Eric, Taylor, Phillip, Sarah, Hilary and Kevin, and 36 great-grandchildren, Mason, Alexandra, Rachel, Ryan, Noah, Dylan, Lauren, Emily, Nylah, Ben, Liam, Ernie, Dimetria, Lucas, Devan, Lauren, Isabelle, McKenzie, Will, Jay, Kaylee, Morgan, Nicholas, Enola, Eva, Ean, Addyson, Parker, Hannah, Nolan, Riece, Jaxson, Mason, Lily, Macy and Hadley.
Other survivors include his sisters, Frances Hannula of Hurley, and Marianne Balduc of Ironwood; and many nieces and nephews.
Besides his parents, George was preceded in death by an infant daughter, Joan Marie, and an infant grandson, Nick Patrick; a son-in-law, Dan Baker; a brother, Kenneth; and two brothers-in-law, Robert Balduc and Emil Hannula.
Cremation has taken place.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, July 13, at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Ironwood, with the Rev. Robb Jurkovich, celebrant.
Rite of Committal and internment will follow in Riverside Cemetery in Ironwood.
Lunch will be served in the parish hall upon return from the cemetery.
Friends may call in the St. Joseph Family Room at the church from 9:30 a.m. until Mass time on Saturday.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in George's name to the Ironwood Area Historical Society, P.O. Box 553, Ironwood, MI 49938, or Friends of the Miners Memorial Heritage Park, P.O. Box 52, Ironwood, MI 49938.
George's obituary can be viewed online and condolences given to his family at mckevittpatrickfuneralhome.com.
The Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home of Iron Mountain and McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home of Ironwood are in charge of arrangements.
We would like to thank Northern Michigan Home Health Care, Dickinson Home Health Care, Dr. Katie Picucci, Dr. Charlene Greene, Mary Carlson, Carol Lorenz, Gina Anderson and Brook Cory for their care of Dad.
We will be forever grateful for the wonderful, loving care given to Dad by Shirley Graves. Shirley has been at Dad's side from the very beginning of his stay in Kingsford and she helped make his life as comfortable as possible during the last stages of his life.