Captain William M. Pelto, Retired USMC, of Hibbing, formerly Duluth, passed away at the Mayo St. Mary’s Hospital on November 6, 2021, surrounded by loved ones. He was 86 years young.
Throughout his life, Bill exemplified a standard of excellence in all that he did. He played varsity basketball for Duluth Central High School, which earned him a scholarship to UMD. In the end, he turned it down to enlist in the Marne Corp, thus the beginning of an admirable career. By the end of his military career, Bill was a decorated Viet Nam war vet, earning both Bronze and Silver Medals.
Bill prepared for his military retirement by returning to college where he earned both a Bachelors, and later a Masters degree in Education. His second career was launched. Bill profoundly loved teaching Grades 4-6 at various schools in Duluth’s ISD 709. He never backed away from a challenge. He looked for the children that he figured needed him most; the tougher they were, the more important they became to him. Many children benefited by attending Bill’s after - school reading program. No child was left behind, not if he could help it.
Bill had lots of interests...He loved big water, and as Captain of The Blue Shadow, would often head up to Isle Royal on what would become family lore famous fishing expeditions. His scheming also took him to pilot his vessel from Duluth, MN to Traverse City MI to visit one of his daughters. No matter where Bill was or what he was doing, he was also a musician, often singing and playing his guitar for his family as dinner was being cleared away. Bill produced and performed in two country music shows on the Iron Range for many years. He also created the Country Music Show held once a month at the Lavell and Solway Town Halls where many of his musician friends gathered to entertain the crowd with old time country music. The Solway Show continues to this day.
Bill eventually moved from Duluth to Hibbing where he shared his life with Lana Parris. They both enjoyed common interests, not the least of which was riding their Harley’s and country music . They often performed together in the country music show.
Bill was preceded in death by his father, Martin Pelto; mother, Sylvia (Pelto) Anderson; step-father, Edwin Anderson; and sister, Janice LeBlanc.
Bill is survived by his cherished and true companion of many years, Lana Parris. He raised a family of four children, Susan (Jeffrey) Sundin, Debbie (Tom) Kuemin, Carrie (Steve) Torgeson, and Steven (Sue) Pelto with his former wife, Marilyn Pelto. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Kate, Joelle, Carly, Michael, Andrea, Samantha, Stephanie and Steven; 9 great-grandchildren; siblings, Michael Pelto, Matthew Pelto, and Darlene Ellis; many nieces and nephews; and Lana’s family, Heather (Patrick) McLaughlin, Holly (Shane) Roy, Maggie, Meghan, Ethan, and Leland.
A celebration of life will be held next summer when a gathering can be held outdoors. Details will be forthcoming as services are set.
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