James “Jake” Niemi, age 62, of Marquette, died early Saturday morning, April 6, 2019 at Medilodge in Munising following a courageous five-month battle with brain cancer. He was born on June 12, 1956 in Marquette to Eero and Katherine (Dale) Niemi. Jake grew up in Marquette and graduated from Marquette Senior High School in 1974. He began working for the LS&I Railroad after high school and worked forty-two years as bridge and building carpenter and a heavy equipment operator, retiring on July 1, 2016. Jake played hockey in high school and also for Hoover’s, Vango’s, and the Corporate Raiders travel hockey teams. He also enjoyed playing fast pitch softball all over the U.P. for the Budweiser team. Throughout his life, Jake was an avid hunter enjoyed spending time at camp. In his youth, he enjoyed his time at the Dale family camp on Upper Twin Lake, and as an adult, he enjoyed the winter, summer, and fall in the Big Bay area. Jake worked in the pit crew with the Mattson and McAuliffe Race Teams. He was a member of the Sons of the American Legion and enjoyed spending time with friends and family. Jake had a beautiful spirit who always helped others without being asked, he was kind, happy, always smiling, and will be remembered for this one line “Jake-isms.”
He is survived by his wife Theresa (Pickett) Niemi whom he married on April 16, 1992. They shared a blessed marriage from God through the valleys and prosperities. Together they enjoyed going to sporting events, taking walks with their animals in Marquette’s beautiful parks and beaches, and working together in the yard. Jake is also survived by his sister – Linda (“Buck”) Parent of Marquette; step-mother – Jean Niemi of Ohio; aunts and uncles – Delores Parker of Marquette, Dorothy (Charlie) Vartti of Wetmore, Bill (Pat) Dale of Munising, and Jim Dale of Wetmore; numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins including special nephew Keven Niemi and special niece Rene Cope who showed their Uncle Jake extraordinary and exceptional care during his medical setback; and sisters-in-law – Pam Niemi, Keren Smith, and Jennifer Niemi. Jake was preceded in death by his father - Eero Niemi, Sr.; his mother and step-father – Katherine and Robert Belmore; and brothers – Eero “Porky” Niemi, Jr., Dale Niemi, and Gary Niemi.
A memorial gathering will take place on Saturday, May 4, 2019 at the American Legion at 700 W. Bluff Street in Marquette from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Jake’s family would like to thank the staff at UP Health System in Marquette and Medilodge in Munising for the care that Jake received.