Marvin Lamppa

Marvin Lamppa, 86 of Duluth, formerly of Babbitt, passed away on Wednesday, October 16, 2019 in the Solvay Hospice House in Duluth. He was born February 14, 1933 in Embarrass to William and Helen (Sipola) Lamppa. He married Carolyn Card on April 9, 1981 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Marvin received his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, graduate degree from the University of Minnesota and taught history in Iron Range schools and community colleges for many years. He also developed and taught a course in the history of Minnesota’s mining districts for Bemidji State University before becoming director of the Iron Range Interpretative Program in 1977. During his time as director, he served as a member of the State Historical Records Advisory Board and was instrumental in bringing about the Iron Range History Center, a state of the art archives and research facility in Chisholm, Minnesota, known as Minnesota Discovery Center today.

His master’s thesis, Ghost Towns and Locations of the Vermilion and East Mesabi Mining Districts, was the launching of a passion for Historical preservation of the Iron Range. He established the first Iron Range history course for the Aurora-Hoyt Lakes High School which is still in use today. Marvin’s unique way of storytelling captured his audience and inspired them to pursue their own passions. Marvin is known as the writer and host of an epic twelve-hour documentary series for PBS, WDSE-WRPT, Iron Country, which premiered in 2000. In 2004 he received the Northeast Minnesota Book Award for a companion book, Minnesota’s Iron Country, Rich Ores, Rich Lives.

Marvin was preceded in death by his sister, Carol Koska.

He is survived by his wife, Carolyn Lamppa; son, Robert (Anne) Lamppa of Ashland, MA; daughter, Pamela Lamppa of Webster, MA; step-daughter, Amanda Teague of Duluth; step-son, Allen Teague of Priest River, ID; brother, William Lamppa of Virginia; grandchildren, Christopher Serrilla, Justin Teague, John Lamppa, Thomas Lamppa, Sarah Serrilla; and four beautiful great-grandchildren Molly, James, Clark and Julianne.

Marvin Lamppa will be remembered as a legendary teacher, mentor, coach, author, public speaker and storyteller. He will be deeply missed by family, relatives and friends.


Memorial service: 2:00 p.m. Monday, October 28, 2019 in the Atkins-Northland Funeral Home, 801 14th Street. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service. Burial will be in Maple Grove Cemetery in Cloquet and a time of lunch and fellowship will follow in the Fireside Room of the funeral home. To sign the guest book and offer an online tribute, see

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