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Obituary: Catherine Ann (Shinn) Liptak

Catherine Ann (Shinn) Liptak, 90, passed away Aug. 7, 2021 with family at her side at the Sunnyside Health Care Center in Cloquet.

She was born Dec. 29, 1930, in Hart, Michigan to Eleanor (Osborn) and Hyman Hubert Shinn. She graduated as valedictorian from Hart High School in 1948 and with honors from the University of Michigan in 1952, with a degree in English and speech, followed by a master's in library science.

Catherine taught at a number of schools in Michigan and Minnesota until meeting her husband John in 1963, settling in a lake home that John built on Bass Lake on the Iron Range after their marriage in Hart on July 25, 1964. She worked at the Virginia Public Library until retiring in 1993.

One of the constants in Catherine's life was her love for her family. She was always quick to share stories about her parents and sisters, growing up on Griswold Street, working at the family drive-in restaurant, and having fun with her cousins on the Silver Lake Sand Dunes. Catherine always enjoyed the large gatherings, such as Fourth of July celebrations on Bass Lake and family reunions in Michigan. She spent many years researching her genealogy and made sure that family trips included stops at various churches and cemeteries in search of records. She also shared her love of opera with her family, playing music for her young nieces at her summer cottage on Lake Michigan and taking her children to live performances.

She was especially proud of her children, nieces, nephews and grandchildren. She always enjoyed visits from her great-grandchildren and was quick to provide them with some candy or a small trinket whenever she saw them. She continued her parents' habit of road trips around the United States, visiting 47 states.

Catherine was very active in her church and community. She and John were longtime members of the United Church of Christ in Biwabik, where she sang in the church choir, served on the church council, helped make pasties, and taught Sunday School. Catherine also served on the local school board and performed a variety of volunteer work over the years, including co-leader of Girl Scouts, serving in the Eastern Star, organizing annual fundraising for the American Cancer Society, performing Adopt-a- Highway cleanups and, until the age of 82, delivering Meals on Wheels. The church and volunteer work extended to her nine winters in Tucson, Arizona, where she and John were associate members of the Church of the Painted Hills and active in their seasonal community.

Catherine's passion for books helped define her life. Her love of books led to her career, including time as a reference librarian and director of the Virginia Public Library. It provided her with a lifetime of entertainment and learning, often steering her travel plans to see places she had read about, including a trip to Great Britain, which was the setting for many of her favorites. Her personal library was extensive and carefully recorded alphabetically by author. She enjoyed sorting through the books and providing specially selected books as gifts to those she thought would enjoy them.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her sisters, Ruth, Gladys and Mary; and her husband of 41 years, John. She is survived by her daughter, Eleanor "Elly" (Erik Boleman), of Cloquet, and son, John H. (Alison Barry); grandsons, Adam and Bradley; great-grandchildren, Maci, Jordan, and Bennett; and two cousins and several nieces and nephews.

The family would like to thank the caring, compassionate staff at Evergreen Knoll, Sunnyside, and St. Croix Hospice for the excellent care they provided to Catherine.

Catherine was a one-of-a-kind lady who will be missed greatly by her family.

Visitation: 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. memorial service Oct. 8 at the United Church of Christ in Biwabik, followed by a luncheon. An interment service will take place in Hart in the summer of 2022. See the online guestbook at http://www.nelsonfuneralcare.net.

Pine Knot News, Aug. 20, 2021