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John "Jack" Luoma

John "Jack" Luoma

John Edward Luoma was born on Feb 13, 1926 in Hibbing Mn to Heikki and Ida Luoma. He died Feb 3rd at his home in Bemidji MN.

Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m., Friday, February 8, 2013 at St. Philips Catholic Church, Bemidji with Fr. Don Braukmann officiating. Family will greet friends one hour prior to the service at the church. Inurnment will be at a later date in Greenwood Cemetery, Bemidji.

Jack was a first generation Finlander. He grew up in Hibbing Mn, in the old neighborhood of Park Addition, the youngest of 5 children. He was a stellar athlete who could and would fight his way out of tough situations but he developed a better strategy, one all his own: Range Diplomacy.

After graduating high school he enlisted in the army and spent his military career near Spokane, Washington.

Following his enlistment Jack returned to Minnesota to attend college at Bemidji State Teachers College where he continued his successful athletic career both on the football field and basketball court. More importantly it is where he lost his heart to Marie Cahill. They were married on Dec 28, 1949.

The Luoma’s first home was in Casper, Wyoming where Jack had his first teaching job and his first state basketball championship. The lure of Minnesota was strong and they were able to move back to Bemidji when Jack got a position teaching algebra and physical education in the fall of 1950. Bemidji truly was “home” with family and friends surrounding.

Jack was a wonderful father to six lucky kids, a terrific grandpa to eight luckier kids and soon to be great grandpa to a child who will know him through the wonderful stories that will be passed on for years to come.

The Luoma home at 1202 Minnesota and later Big Turtle Lake was full of wonderful noise: balls bouncing, pianos playing, phones ringing, screen doors slamming, big wheels rolling and always, children’s voices. Everyone was welcome at the Luoma’s and more than one young friend found a safe haven there.

Jack has many friends formed in different arenas of life: Meach, Philips and Bobby K from the Country Club years; Bun, Phil and Mel from his coaching days; Knapp, Abbott and Sheila from Activities Director days and neighborhood pals, the Tesars. And with all of these friends he shared countless funny stories of the people he met and places he went. He had a hard time telling these stories because he laughed so hard trying to recount the tale that often he couldn’t get out the punch line. Some would say he was a terrible joke teller but his laughter was infectious and his audience ended up laughing right along with him…not even knowing what was funny yet…the best gift!!!!

Jack’s coaching career was successful with a winning record, an undefeated season, many trips to state tournaments, and membership in both the BSU and BHS Athletic Hall of Fames. But his greatest accomplishments were relationships built on integrity and love, positive thinking and honesty. He was a mentor to many young men who fondly recall their lessons from Jack.

He taught his children and grandchildren the value of a firm handshake, ready smile and hard work.

In death he will be joined by his parents, siblings, infant son James and his dear wife Marie who died on Oct. 18, 2012.

Dad will be missed tremendously by Mary and Pat Miller, Bemidji; Liz and Paul Swanson, Richfield; Bob Luoma, Bemidji; Nancy Luoma, Bemidji; Tom and Tracy Luoma, Draper, Utah and Tracy and Scott Johnson of Bemidji. Grandpa will be remembered forever by Katie and Justin Gustafson and baby of Hibbing; Emily and Mike Gilbert of Kansas City; Anna Swanson of St Paul, MN; Brooke and Kiersten Zaelit of Draper Utah and Janie, Jack and Olivia Johnson of Bemidji .

Jack is also survived by his second family, the countless caregivers at Tamarack Court and Maple Lane. Too numerous to mention by name they touched the lives of both Jack and Marie with uncompromising love and compassion. They are loved and respected beyond words by the entire Luoma family.

In lieu of flowers, the family prefers a donation to the Bemidji High School Activities Department or the Bemidji State University Athletic Department.

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