In Memory of




Obituary for Robert Raymond Sirvio

Robert Raymond Sirvio, of Calumet, Michigan, passed away suddenly at his home on Friday, October 21 of an apparent heart attack. Robert, fondly known as Gopher, was born on May 12, 1936. He was born in Painesdale, Michigan to William and Aina (Taipala) Sirvio, and as a child, the family moved to Ahmeek, Michigan.
Robert joined the Marine Corp. in 1954. He achieved the rank of Corporal and served his country proudly. He was honorably discharged in 1957. He was a member of the American Legion, Post 0230. His love for veteran’s kept him always in the loop with the VFW Post 3900
Robert married Karen E. Aho on July 23, 1960. They lived in Swedetown, moving to Calumet Township around 1964, where they made their lifelong home. Karen and Bob were married just one month short of 60 years.
Robert is preceded in death by his parents, William and Aina Sirvio of Ahmeek, his wife, Karen (Aho) Sirvio, his oldest daughter, Cathryn Sirvio, and his dear brother, Wilbert Sirvio, of Ahmeek.
He is survived by three daughters, Denise (Greg) Maronen of Calumet Township, Sandra (Glen) Kivela of Ishpeming, Jo Anne (Mac) McDonnell of Negaunee, and one granddaughter, Macy Jo (Andy Stanaway) McDonnell of Florence, Wisconsin. He also has many cousins, and dear friends of whom he maintained his relationship with throughout his life. He cherished his family and friends.
Bob, aka Gopher, was an avid sportsman. He enjoyed hunting, fishing the great Lake Superior, the streams, and ice fishing. We always had fresh wild game or fish growing up. His last year of hunting was in 2017, where he won the Keweenaw Deer Hunting Classic “Hunter of the Year” award along with taking First Place for his buck, an 8 pointer with a 20 2/8 spread. He won first place as well for a deer with 12 points and a 15 ½ spread. His fishing and hunting skills were legendary among the Keweenaw sports arena. It has been said many a time that wherever Gopher and his buddies were, at hunting camps or back in the day of the White House in Mohawk, that the younger sportsmen would just listen to their stories, laugh, and talk for hours. As the late Neil Isaacson once said “We didn’t have to talk at all, we just sat, listened and laughed as Gopher and his friends told tales of their experiences. We learned a lot from them.” It was inspiring entertainment. Gopher loved to laugh, tell a good story or a good joke. Whether it be family or friends, you could not help but listen when he talked. He was a legend in the Keweenaw sports world. He hunted rabbit, partridge, you name it. He was also a bow hunter.
He was a man of many names. His family from Painesdale and South Range called him Ray all of his life. In Calumet and Keweenaw, he was Gopher, or Bob. To us kids, well, we just called him dad. And his only grandchild, Macy Jo, called him Grampa Gopher.
Dad was a hard working man. He was extremely passionate of his work with the Union when he worked for C&H. His work on the Bargaining Committee with his other friends was important to him, safety issues were their main concern. We remain proud of his work from that time. After the mines closed, he worked for various construction companies up until his retirement. A man with true SISU and a true heart of gold.
We cannot forget his love for hockey. He was a diehard Red Wings Fan, and supported the Calumet Wolverines, as well as the Calumet High School hockey and football teams. We always knew where to find him at the arena, standing at the very top of the stands with his buddies. It was their spot. No one tried to change that in those days! Gopher also loved his Detroit Lions. Year after year, he cheered for his Lions. He waited all his life for that Super Bowl to be won by them. To no avail. Yet he never gave up. (Maybe this year? he would always say.)
Our dad had a heart of gold. No one could ever say he didn’t love his daughters and his granddaughter. He loved his son in laws, as if they were his own sons. In his later years, we were all he had and he poured his love out to us, teaching us to love and never have regrets. He also cherished his buddies. You know who you all are. The love he had for his friends was as strong and the love they have for him. He will never be forgotten. His stories of the legendary fishing trips to Isle Royale, the close calls on Lake Superior, the hunting tales and hunting camp stories, the friendships he cherished will live on in the legend of his many names, Robert, Ray, Gopher, Bob, Dad, Grampa. . .He was one of a kind. He is now with those who went before him, those he missed dearly. We plan to join him when it is our time. He will welcome us with that big hug, smile, probably a joke or two, but with much happiness.
Per his wishes, a grave side service will be held on Monday, October 31st at 1:00 pm at the Lakeview Cemetery, with military honors by the Copper Country Veterans Association. A celebration of his life will take place in the spring, “A last beer for Gopher,” time and place will be announced prior to that time.
In lieu of condolences, you are welcome to donate to the American Legion, Post 0230 in Mohawk, or the VFW Post 3900 in Calumet, Michigan. Dad also contributed to St. Jude’s.