Joni L. Dahl

Joni Lynn Dahl, 39, of Genoa Location, rural Gilbert, died tragically on Friday, Aug.12, 2022, when her car was hit by a drunk driver on Hwy. 21 in Embarrass Township. She was a true and loyal daughter of the Iron Range who touched a multitude of lives. Funeral services will be private. A celebration of Joni’s life will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 26 at the Mountain Iron Community Center. Friends, colleagues and teammates are invited to join the family to share tears, laughter, memories, photos and a meal. Arrangements are with Landmark Funeral Home of Virginia.

Joni was born in Virginia on June 17, 1983, to Linda Marie Strukel Dahl and John Emil Dahl. She was raised in Genoa Location in Gilbert. Joni also attended Salolampi Finnish Language Village in Bemidji for eight summers to study Finnish, the language of her Warho and Dahl ancestors whose sisu she inherited. She was a 2001 graduate of Eveleth-Gilbert High School, where she was a champion swimmer and mentored younger members of the team. She set the school record in the 100-yard freestyle which stood for 17 years. Joni earned her undergraduate Business Administration degree at the University of Wisconsin-Stout and a master’s degree in Integrated Supply Chain Management at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

Joni’s early employment opportunities took her to other regions of the country but before long she returned to her beloved Iron Range. She was a hard worker, often holding two part-time waitressing jobs while working elsewhere full-time. For the last seven years she worked as the Materials Manager at Iracore International, LLC in Hibbing. Joni didn’t just talk about improving the lives of her fellow community members, she got involved. She was the Executive Director of the Hibbing Area Chamber of Commerce, served on the Gilbert Planning and Zoning Commission, ran for a seat on the Gilbert City Council, was a board member of the Iron Range Racing Association and served as its Recording Secretary, and was a board member of Better In Our Back Yard which promotes responsible industrial development in Northern Minnesota. Joni was always there for others, inspiring and aiding them to achieve.

Words often used to describe Joni include generous, thoughtful, big-hearted, strong-willed, smart, tough, outspoken, bold, accomplished, fun-loving, confident, spirited and athletic. Joni loved playing hockey and was a goalie for Chix with Stix, a local senior men’s league, and a women’s team in Canada. She earned a brown belt in karate. Joni was an outdoors woman who fished, hunted, kayaked and gardened; she trained her dog, Lemmi, to be her bird-hunting buddy. Her cabin on One Pine Lake was her favorite place to relax. She also enjoyed riding her motorcycle and loved to spend time at the Hibbing Raceway in support of friends and the racing association.

Joni is survived by her father and stepmother, John Emil Dahl and Jackie Westby Raymond Dahl; her partner-in-life, Matt Lenci of Tower and his sons, Nico, Nolan and Nash, who Joni was helping to raise; half-siblings, Kimberly (Bradley) Day of Babbitt, Theresa (Raven) Dullea of Tacoma, Wash., and Torben Sorenson of Frederica, Denmark; step-siblings, Tim (Amy) Raymond, Terry Raymond and Tammy (Michael) Stahl; uncle, Tony Strukel of Arizona; cousins, Dennis (Jane) Dahl of Pelican Lake-Orr and Duane Caywood of Duluth; other cousins; nieces and nephews, Amanda, Amber, Aaron and Dale Jr. Boshey; great-nieces and great-nephews; numerous extended Westby family members; and a legion of heartbroken friends.

She was preceded in death by her mother, Linda Marie Strukel Dahl; grandparents, John and Alma Warho Dahl; and uncles and aunts, George (Marion) Dahl and Art (Lillian) Dahl.