“Robert John LaPine 90 of Palm Harbor, Fla., passed away Aug. 3, 2016. He was born Robert John Lapinoja in Eveleth, the son of the late John and Jenny Lapinoja.
He was a graduate of Eveleth Senior High School class of 1943. He served three years in the Navy during World War II achieving the rank of Admiral’s yeoman.
He was employed for 42 years with NW Bell as a lineman and supervisor of the motor vehicles for Northern Minnesota.
In the early sixties he served as president of the Duluth Jaycees, and he had the distinquished honor of being the first mascot of the Minnesota Vikings. Dressed up in the horns, he presented the Chicago Bears’ head coach George Halas a live bear cub at the halftime of the very first Minnesota Viking game.
Robert served on the Duluth City Council from 1964 to 1976 and served one term as its president. He also was an outstanding member of the Sertoma Club, the Kaliva of Long Lake,Town Talkers; and he also served on the board of directors for the DTA. He also taught safety courses at the University of Minnesota Duluth.
In 1982, Robert earned a B.A. from Liberty University with a degree in Biblical Education. He then served as pastor of the Wright Evangelical Free Church for 11 years. Throughout the years, he served on elder and deacon boards at Lakeside Baptist and Bethel Baptist in Duluth, and he helped plant North Bay Community Church in Superior. In his later years, he was a faithful member of Faith Baptist Church in Hermantown where he referred to it as his second family.
Robert was an avid fisherman and hunter. He took great pride in the fact that he shot a 30 point buck, cleaned over 13,000 fish in one summer as a guide on Crane Lake, and he himself shot seven moose on one hunting trip. He was the last of the great cane pole fishermen.
Robert accepted Christ as his Savior in 1964, and dedicated his life to introducing Jesus Christ to the people he would meet. He served on the local Billy Graham outreach boards, Youth for Christ boards, and mission boards for various church and parachurch organizations.
Robert is survived by his loving wife of 68 years, June (Kortes) LaPine; his sister, Ruth (Charles) Sickel of Eveleth; his sons, Kerry (Nancy) LaPine of Vashon Island, Wash., Robert (Nancy) LaPine of Gilberts, Ill., Dwight (Peggy) LaPine of Byron, Minn., Richard (Lynda) LaPine of Superior, and Jeremy (Carrie) LaPine of Palm Harbor, Fla.; daughter, Janelle (Robert) Farnham of Belton, Texas; 22 grandchildren and 42 great-grandchildren.
GATHERING OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS: 10 a.m. Friday Aug. 12, 2016 until the 11 a.m. service in Lakeview Covenant Church, 1001 Jean Duluth Rd. in Duluth.”