In Memory of




Obituary for Robert John Niemela

Robert John Niemela, age 82, passed away on Friday, March 17, 2023.
Bob was a resident of Bootjack and Calumet. Born May 27th, 1940, to John and Elsie Niemela in Calumet and raised on the family farm in Dover Location. He graduated from Dollar Bay High School with the class of 1958. Bob enrolled in the Army in 1958, Private E2. He later was employed at The Bruner Corporation in Milwaukee. On August 6th, 1960, he married Grace Evelyn Randell at the Apostolic Church in Calumet. Both returned to the Copper Country and Bob worked at the Calumet and Hecala Mining Company (C&H). Jobs included mining, working on the railroad, smelter, dredge, and stamp mill. C&H closed in 1968. Bob then attended school at IBM Computer School of Kansas City, MO. Bob and Grace later moved to Marquette to work at Northern Michigan University in 1969 as a computer operator and raised their three children. Rodney Niemela who was an Eagle Scout later enlisted in the United States Air Force. Valerie Niemela, enlisted in the United States Air force also. Dr. John Niemela completed his Residency in Portland, Oregon for foot and ankle surgery. Bob worked at NMU computer center for 33 years. Bob really enjoyed working with all of the students and created lasting relationships with many of them including student at the time Beans. Bob loved working at NMU and was well loved at his job. After retiring from NMU, Bob and Grace moved to Bootjack and Calumet. Bob and Grace spent their summers at their Bootjack cottage where Bob pursued his love of woodworking. He built the sauna and the three-car garage on the property. Bob also built the three houses that the family lived in while residing in Marquette. He built many pieces of furniture for friends and family. Bob loved gardening and flowers and loved sharing the fruits of his labor with family and friends, especially his tomatoes and cucumbers. Bob and Grace celebrated a surprise 50th wedding anniversary party in 2010 at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge. Bob and Grace loved hosting their annual Bootjack Chicken BBQ for friends and many family members at the Bootjack cottage. Bob and Grace wintered in South Padre Island, Texas for 19 years, where they were blessed to have an extended family in South Padre Island and still having lasting relationships with them. They enjoyed many cruises while wintering in the south. They made many trips to visit their children in Idaho and Oklahoma. Bob was a wonderful father who loved his wife and children dearly. He was a hard worker who provided for his wife and kids generously and un selflessly. He was loved by many people. He had a wonderful sense of humor and made quick friends wherever he traveled. His door was always open and loved speaking to all of us in his Finnish quick wit. Bob was giving and offered a helping hand to all who encountered him. He was strong in his faith and put that first in everything he did. He was a wonderful Christian man. He will be missed by all who crossed paths with him.
He is preceded in death by his infant daughter Lynn Marie. Grandson Ray of Oklahoma. His parents John and Elsie Niemela. Sisters Ruth Hall and Betty Pangrazzi. Father and Mother in-law Oscar and Elma Randell. Brother-in-law David Randell and sister-in-law Karen Hannula Randell.
He is survived by his wife Grace of 62 years. Children Rodney (Nur) Niemela of Meridanian, Idaho. Valerie Ann Niemela of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Dr. John Niemela of Marquette, Michigan, grandchildren Robert, Linda, Elizabeth, Katherine, Hanna and Two great grand children Ray and Alex. Brother-in-law Robert and Delores Slivensky and son Steve of Marquette. Brother-in-law Clyde Randell of Marquette. Brother and sister-in-law Stanley and Betty Randell of Mohawk. Brother-in-laws James and Karen Randell of Atlantic Mine, and several nieces, nephews and aunts and uncles. Grace and her family are very appreciating of all the care given at UPHS Portage and Marquette.
A visitation will be held on Thursday, March 23, 2023, from 9:00 am- 11: 00 am at the First Apostolic Church of Calumet. A funeral service for Robert Niemela will be held on Thursday, March 23, 2023, at 11:00 am at the First Apostolic Church of Calumet. A luncheon will follow the service at the church. Burial will take place in the Lake View Cemetery in the Spring.
Online condolences for the family may be left at
The Erickson Crowley Peterson Funeral Home will be assisting the family with arrangements.