James C. Maki, 71, of Eveleth died Friday, Oct. 21, 2011, at Essentia Health (St. Mary's Medical Center) in Duluth.
He was born April 7, 1940, in Virginia to Urho and Helmi (Autio) Maki. Jim graduated from Cotton High School in 1959 and made Minnesota All State Football in 1958. He was united in marriage to Patricia A. Sammartano Aug. 3, 1963, in Aurora. He was a pioneer employee of Eveleth Mines and retired as a heavy equipment operator. Jim was a charter member of the Central Lakes Volunteer Fire Department and was a member of the Cotton 4-wheelers. He loved sports and enjoyed watching the Vikings and Twins and was an avid race fan. Jim also enjoyed the outdoors, animals and loved hunting, fishing and spending time at the hunting shack.
He is survived by his wife, Pat; son, Gary (Brigid) Maki of Woodbury, Minn.; daughter, Tina (Larry) Opelt of Neillsville, Wis.; grandchildren, Elizabeth, Amanda, Andrew, Erin, Katie and Morgan Maki; Teddy Silbernagel; stepgrandchildren, Ashley, Tana and Isaac Opelt; stepgreat-grandchildren, Hazyl and Izaya Opelt; brother, Roger Maki; sisters, Audrey (Steve) Mashuga, Susan (Lauri) Lehto and Linda (Chuck) Niskanen; numerous nephews and nieces; and his best feline buddy, Leo.
He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Richard.
A celebration of Jim's life will begin at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Makinen Community Center. In lieu of flowers, the family would like memorials to be given to the Mesabi Humane Society or Contented Critters. Arrangements have been entrusted to Cron-Sheehy Funeral Home, Eveleth. To sign the guest book online and to leave a memorial message, go to: www.cron-sheehy.com