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Obituaries: Willard Rudolph Maki

Willard Rudolph Maki, 99, of Esko, Minnesota passed away Tuesday, July 23, 2019 at Augustana Health Care in Moose Lake.

He was born March 30, 1920 in Brevator Township, northwest of Cloquet, to Alexander and Ida (Nyroos) Maki. He had two older sisters, Mildred and Ethel.

The family farmed, and after Willard married Martha Isaacson on June 27, 1941, the couple bought their own farm and were Grade A milk producers. In 1948, the family moved to Esko.

Willard became a union carpenter, working mainly in Cloquet and Duluth. In 1960, he began development of the Wilmart Division, which had 32 home sites. Willard built and sold eight homes there. In 1963, he founded Willard’s Realty in Esko, retiring in 1979. Willard and Martha belonged to the Bethel Lutheran Church in Scanlon, members since 1960.

Willard was an avid bowler, and in 1984 he organized the Southgate Senior Bowling League, which he grew to fill the bowling alley with 80 bowlers every Tuesday afternoon. For his excellent work promoting bowling, Willard was inducted into the Duluth Area Bowling Association Hall of Fame in 1991. He ran the senior league for 21 years, stopping in 2006 when he had heart surgery.

Willard was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, and his wife of 72 ½ years, Martha.

He is survived by his sons Bruce Maki of Duluth and Roger (Peggy) Maki of Cloquet; grandchildren Aaron (Lynda) Maki of Bolingbrook, Illinois, April (Nick) Shultz of St. Michael, Minnesota, Alex Maki (Claudia Davidson) of Washington, D.C., Carter Maki of Denver, Colorado and Justin Maki of Brooklyn, New York; great-grandchildren Ella and Colin Shultz, and Viviana Maki; brother-in-law James Isaacson (age 100) of Grand Blanc, Michigan; and many nieces and nephews.

The family wishes to thank Augustana Health Care, Mercy Hospital and St. Croix Hospice for their excellent care.

Memorials are preferred to Essentia Health Foundation, 400 E. Third St., Duluth MN 55805, memo line: Heart and Vascular Care.

Visitation: 5-8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, 2019 and continuing at 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. memorial service Saturday, Aug. 24, all at Nelson Funeral Care in Cloquet. A luncheon will follow in the Fellowship Room. To leave an online condolence, visit the guest book at http://www.nelsonfuneralcare.net.