Melvin Russell Jokela


Melvin Russell Jokela, 74, of Esko, fell asleep in Christ, united with loved ones on Thursday, February 3, 2022, at his home, after a brief battle with cancer. Melvin was born to Arvo and Gladys (Carlson) Jokela on January 4, 1948, in Carlton. He lived in the Esko/Carlton area all his life and graduated from Carlton High School in 1966 where he made meaningful life-long friendships. He married Delores (Sunnarborg) on May 20, 1967. He was a fifty-year plus member and volunteer at the Apostolic Lutheran Church of Esko.

Melvin worked at Potlatch Paper Corporation for 40 years, starting in 1967 as a “runner” and worked his way up to an accomplished Research Engineer in the R&D department, even holding a U.S. patent in paper coating. Mel traveled extensively in his career, many times to the Idaho and Arkansas Potlatch mills, well beyond a million airline miles. He loved playing practical jokes on co-workers, making many life-long friends and staying connected after retirement in 2006.

Mel deeply loved his family and would travel to see his sons and grandkids whenever he could. He opened his home endlessly for holidays, family visitors and friends for bottomless cups of coffee. He loved sharing stories, laughing, loving and found the good in everyone. He enjoyed reading, sightseeing, bowling, NFL football and attending live plays. After his retirement, Mel became an amateur artist in photography, watercolor and specialized in detailed pen and ink drawing.

Melvin was preceded in death by his wife Delores Jokela; daughter Laura Jokela; parents Arvo and Gladys Jokela; and brother David Jokela.

He is survived by his sons, John (Lisa) Jokela of La Center, Washington, and Michael (Danielle) Jokela of Vancouver, Washington; four grandchildren, Benjamin, Nicholas, Timothy and Madeline; sister Maryann Jokela of Duluth, Minnesota; special grandchildren, Kim, Eddie, Heather, Michael; and extra special friend Claudia Conway.

The family would also like to extend a special thank you to the entire Essentia Health staff for the kind and compassionate home hospice care of Mel and his family.

Visitation: Friday, February 11, 2022, 5 to 7 p.m., Atkins-Northland Funeral Home, 801 14th St. in Cloquet. Masks are required. Funeral Service and Burial: Saturday, May 14, 2022, 11 a.m., visitation at 10 a.m., Apostolic Lutheran Church in Esko, with a memorable big lunch to follow the service. Sign a guest book and offer written tributes, online:

Modulist Image