Thomas Salmela

Obituary of Thomas D Salmela

Thomas David Salmela, 83, of Duluth Minnesota died peacefully February 12th, 2023 at Inter-Faith Care Center, Carlton, MN from advanced Parkinson's Disease. Tom was born on September 28th, 1939 in Sebeka, MN to William and Alma (Pajari) Salmela. After graduation from Sebeka High School, Tom enlisted in the army. When he returned, he attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth where he received his BS degree in Elementary Education, and his master's degree in Elementary Curriculum. Tom married Phyllis Kathleen Yoki June 25th, 1966. He began his career with Lakewood Elementary School, Hermantown Public Schools, and later retired from the Duluth Public Schools. Tom enjoyed the outdoors, making handcrafted cedar furniture, and playing the acoustic bass fiddle. His greatest joy was spending time with his family.


Tom is preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Verdie (Lorene), Raymond (Carol), Robert (Nancy), Marvin (Ardythe), Gordon (Jean), and Gerald; sisters, Verna (Leonard) Norha, Florence (Neilo) Heikkila, Gladyce (Howard) Krause, Margaret (August) Nuutinen, Elaine

(Russell) Emblom, Esther (George) Arnold; his parents-in-law August and Aino Yoki.


Tom was dearly loved and will be missed by his wife Phyllis, daughter Anne and Ken Niven of Esko and their children Drew and Leah, son Aaron and Shelby of Hermantown and their children Cord (Ellen), Madison, and Chloe, son Adam and Janna of Cohasset and their sons Bryce and Ian; brother-in-law and sister-in-law LeRoy and Beverly Yoki, sisters-in-law Nancy, Ardythe, and Jean. He is also survived by his extended family, friends, and brothers and sisters in faith.


The funeral service was held 1:00 PM Wednesday, February 15th, 2023 at the Independent Apostolic Lutheran Church, 6273 US Hwy 2 Cloquet, MN, with burial at the church cemetery in the spring.


The family would like to thank the staff at Inter-Faith Care Center and St. Croix Hospice for their respectful and excellent care of Tom.

If you wish to remember Tom with a memorial, please consider The Ronald McDonald House, 503 E. 3rd St, Duluth, MN 55803.

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