Izzi Wakkinen, age 93, closed her eyes briefly on Feb. 26, 2020 and woke up in Heaven with a fully renewed body. Prior to that journey, she was surrounded by loved ones, under hospice care, who cherished her in every conceivable way.
Isabelle Frances Shores was born on April 13, 1926 to Fred and Frances (Nibler) Shores at their farm in Tomahawk. At age eleven, she self-taught herself rhythm guitar, proceeding with her sister, Jo, entertaining at various community events, even on the radio at Stevens Point. Loving music, as a teenager, she was part of the local Ruth Coey Orchestra, and in 1977 went to Nashville, cutting a record of original music.
After graduating from Tomahawk High School in 1943, Izzi moved to Merrill, where she worked as a credit manager for Montgomery Ward up until her marriage to Arthur Wakkinen in 1944. Together, Art and Izzi made their home in Brantwood, working on the farm and caring for ailing parents and Art’s brother. Throughout Izzi’s musical career, she had formed numerous bands including “The Brownettes,” “Sweet Memories” and “The Fugitives.” She also had a radio show in Rhinelander at WXPR. Izzi was very involved with both St. Paul Lutheran and St. Matthews Lutheran. Her activities through the years were many: entertaining at nursing homes, youth choir, choir member, LWML, Sunday School Superintendent, Ladies Aide, quilter for Lutheran World Relief, Chime Choir, 4-H work in Price County as well as director for Spirit of 86 4-H singing group, also judging musical talent. Clifford Co-op benefited from her employment as clerk, butcher, book keeper and “gas pumper.” She certainly was a “Jill of all trades.” Moving back to Tomahawk in 1971, she worked at Woolen Store, Riverview Nursing Home and The Tomahawk Leader as typesetter. Her main concern was the welfare for her husband and family with the many functions that occupied them. Later, it would be loving support to grandchildren – and then great-grandchildren – hockey, baseball, volleyball, band and chorus. She was a wonderful, loving, caring mom. Through many illnesses in the family during their marriage, her faith in Jesus Christ her Lord kept her strong, contending with many difficulties.
Izzi is survived by her children – Gerald “Jerry” (Antoinette) Wakkinen, Janie (Wayne) Plachetka and Robin Wakkinen; grandchildren – Aaron (Heather), Jason (Andie), Ryan (Terese) and Rachel (Ryan); and great-grandchildren – Harleigh, Gunnar, Easton, Tanith, Ty, Micah, Grayson, Luca and Beckett. She is further survived by numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
Izzi is preceded in death by her loving husband – Arthur; precious son – Russell; sisters – Ruth, Rubie and Jo; brothers – Roy and two infant baby boys; and a special nephew – Ray Paulson, who was raised with her.
In more recent years, until just weeks ago, her and a dear former band member, Lloyd Howe, reunited and performed at benefits, assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Doing this at nearly 94! Quite an amazing woman! She was so precious. Some of her final words spoken were telling her children how much they meant to her – they were her world. Izzi’s family takes great comfort in knowing that their Mom is singing with the great chorus of Angels for Jesus.
The Funeral Service for Izzi Wakkinen will take place at 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 12, 2020 at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Tomahawk. Rev. Stephen Gillet will officiate. Visitation will take place from 9 a.m. until the time of service at 11 a.m. Burial will take place in Greenwood Cemetery in the spring.
The family would like to thank Ascension Hospice for their caring support.
Krueger Family Funeral Home, Tomahawk, is assisting the family with arrangements. You may view the full obituary and leave online condolences at www.kruegerfamilyfuneral.com.