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Martha D. Kesti


Martha D. Kesti, 91, died unexpectedly at her home on Chub Lake near Carlton on July 9, 2014.

Martha lived every moment of her life to the fullest and was ready to go home to meet her precious Savior.

Martha was born Jan. 25, 1923, in her parents' warm sauna. She was the last of Fred and Kaisa Koski's eight children. Martha attended college in Duluth and taught in several small rural schools before settling in Esko. While there, she met Benhard Wm. Kesti, son of Hans and Ida Kesti, who she married March 1, 1952. The Kestis purchased a farm in Halden Township where they remained for 13 years. While living there, Martha continued to teach school and bore two children, Joyce and Marvin.

In 1965, Ben and Martha moved their family to Cloquet where Martha taught at Leach and Washington Elementary Schools. She retired from teaching in 1979, they then built their home on Chub Lake. During her 34 years of retirement, Martha savored time with family and dear friends -- from senior bowling, quilting group, Bible study, and her other many activities. She also continued to be an avid learner and tried new pursuits: painting, playing the organ, learning to use the computer, traveling (international and domestic), cross-country skiing and more.

Martha was a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Alpha Delta Kappa and Senior Bowling league.

She was preceded in death by her dear husband of 39 years, Benhard Wm. Kesti, in November of 1991; brothers Sanfred, August and Swandi Koski; and sisters Jennie Williams and Bertha Presthang.

Martha is survived by her children, Marvin (June) Kesti of Red Wing, Minn., and Joyce (Al) Iwasko of Waynesville, Ohio; grandchildren Michael (Amy) Kesti of Edina, Minn., Ryan Kesti and Katie Kesti, both of Red Wing, Kristin (Don) Raack of Oak Park, Ill., Jessica (Terence) Hunt of Springboro, Ohio, and AJ Iwasko of Raleigh, N.C.; great-grandchildren Elise Raack, 5, Carsten Raack, 2, and Evan Hunt, 1; sisters Helmi Swanson-Savage of Milaca, Minn., and Esther Fisk of Gig Harbor, Wash.; her cherished sister-in-law, Martha Kesti, of Carlton; and numerous beloved nieces and nephews around the country.

VISITATION: 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, July 15, in Atkins-Northland Funeral Home, 801 14th St., Cloquet, and 10 until the 11 a.m. funeral service Wednesday, July 16, in St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 1705 Wilson Ave., Cloquet, Burial to follow the luncheon at Hillside Cemetery in Carlton.

Memorials may be made to St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Cloquet Education Foundation, American Cancer Society or giver's choice. To sign the guestbook and offer an online tribute, see