William Leland Martinson, 88, of Duluth, died unexpectedly Tuesday, October 13, 2020 in Essentia-St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth. Bill was born to Martin and Anna Martinson on January 27, 1932 in Cook, Minnesota. He started a hard scrabble life as the youngest of 6 children, whose father ran a “Standard” gas station called “Martinson’s Service” in Cook. Living near Lake Vermillion, Bill learned to love the outdoors: fishing, hunting with his Labrador Retrievers, and riding his horses. Bill graduated from Cook High School in 1950, and later worked for Picek Construction of Cook, and this is where he learned the trade of carpenter. He attended a Cook High School basketball game, when certainly, he noticed the girl sitting right in front of him. It was Lois Schelde who was visiting from Duluth, and with the help of her 2 cousins who knew Bill, helped start a relationship and a love that would last forever. He would soon be drafted into the Korean War, trained at Fort Knox, Kentucky. A near death accident for his mother delayed his arrival in Korea. After some time, the day he landed in Korea, the Armistice Agreement was signed. His family will be forever grateful for that twist of fate. After serving 2 years in Korea, Bill came back to Minnesota and married Lois in 1955 in Duluth, and they moved to Cook to start a family. A few years later, they moved back to Duluth, where he built their family home. In 1961, Bill started a 25-year career for the Duluth Fire Department, a job he was honored to have. Now with four kids total, life was enjoyed by Bill and his family to the fullest. Bill enjoyed the outdoors with many travel trips, cross-country skiing, and bicycle riding. He enjoyed wood working, bee keeping, and agate hunting. Bill was preceded in death by his wife Lois, his parents, Martin and Anna. sisters Mildred, Tillian, Bernice, Evelyn, and a brother Manley. He is survived by his children, Shan (Scott) Ryan of Salem, Oregon, Lana (Paul) Foster of Minnetonka, MN, Craig (LeAnn) Martinson of Taylors Falls, MN, and Chris (Janna) Martinson of Duluth, MN. Grandpa Bill loved his grandchildren, Ben, Bridget, Erik, Lauren, Lydia, Sam, and Hayli, who affectionately called him Grandpa “B”, and many nieces and nephews. Most days after morning coffee, Bill would say, “Well, I’m going to Valhalla now,” which really meant Black Bear Casino, where he enjoyed going every day. It was there where I saw most of the staff call him by name and the ladies who worked there hugged him and called him “Sweet William.” Thank you to the Black Bear staff for being so kind to him. It is now that Bill is in “Valhalla” in heaven, and he’s sitting next to the love of his life, Lois, the girl he met in Cook, who he has missed so much. Rest in peace, Dad, Grandpa “B”– we will all forever miss you. No memorial service is planned, a private family gathering will be held at a later date. Arrangement entrusted to the Cremation Society of Minnesota Duluth (218) 624-5200.
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