Myrtle Helen Tolonen, age 80 of Baraga, MI passed away on Friday, November 13, 2015 at her home.
She was born April 28, 1935 in Zeba, MI daughter to George and Charlotte (Blaker) Matthews. Myrtle graduated from High School in 1953. Her first job was for Mini Sands Restaurant in L’Anse, then she lived in Chicago and worked as a secretary. She married Donald E. Tolonen Sr. on March 26, 1955 in L’Anse; they resided in Dearborn, MI where she worked as a waitress. They moved back to L’Anse in 1972 and in 1974 she started working in the enrollment department for the KBIC. She was politically active in tribal affairs and was the first woman Tribal Chairman for the KBIC. Myrtle served on many boards including the Cultural Committee, Indian Child Welfare, Education, and was a student at the Bay Mills Language Emersion. She was a two-time breast cancer survivor and a breast cancer advocate.
Myrtle was a member of KBIC and Ojibwa Seniors. She lived at Superior View Housing where she acquired many friends. Myrtle enjoyed playing Bingo, reading, and listening to Johnny Cash. She lived for her family and her grandchildren.
Surviving are her sons, Glenn Tolonen of Zeba and Tyler Tolonen of L’Anse; daughter Cheryl (Donald) Denomie of Baraga; brother Albert W. (Elsie) Matthews of Athelstane, WI; sister Elizabeth C. Matthews of Zeba; grandchildren, Charlotte, Trista, Beth, Joe, Christian, Brigitte, Cheryne, Shawnee, Ashley, Keith, Kevin, Cally, Carmen, Jeffery, Samantha, Raymond, Glenn Jr., Macee; great grandchildren, Tristan, Caden, Makenna, Joey, Johnathan, Donovan, Daniel, Cara, Darryn, Easton, Brody, and Izzy; special friend Mary LaRose; her caregiver and special friend Natalie Mleko of Baraga; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Preceding her in death are her parents; husband Donald Sr.; sons Donald Jr and John Tolonen; siblings, Amos Whetung, Sarah Shelifoe, Donald Whetung, Theodore Whetung, Matthew Whetung, Glen Matthews, Dorothy Belmore, and Baby sister Whetung.
Her wake will start on Monday, November 16th at 5:00 p.m. at the KBIC Zeba Hall and continue overnight. Her traditional funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 17th at the Zeba Hall. Burial will be in the Pinery Cemetery. The Jacobson Funeral Home is assisting the family.
Friends may sign Myrtle’s guest book and send condolences at www.jacobsonfuneralhome.com