John Anthony Kayfes Sr.
January 20, 1924 April 17, 2021
John A. Kayfes Sr., a loving son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, and friend went to the Lord of Saturday, April 17, 2021.
John was born in Utica Location, MN on January 20, 1924. His parents, Joseph and Anne Kayfes, were Croatian immigrants who ran a boarding house that provided warm meals and shelter for immigrant iron ore miners. When Utica Location was eventually mined, his family moved to Hibbing where John graduated from Hibbing High School in 1942.
John attended Hibbing Jr. College for one year, then entered the military from 1943-1946 where he served in the U.S. Army at Fort Shafter, Honolulu, Hawaii. He worked in Administration Military Security Issues. He was always proud to be a WWII veteran.
After service he enrolled in The College of St. Thomas, graduating in 1950 with a B.A. degree in Business Administration and Accounting. He then joined Pickens Mathers Company in Hibbing as an accountant.
John’s dream of becoming a hospital administrator became a reality at Naeve Hospital in Albert Lea, MN, 1964-1967. His next dream, to return home to the Iron Range occurred in 1967 when he became the hospital administrator of Chisholm Memorial Hospital. In 1972, John was additionally appointed hospital administrator at Hibbing General Hospital.
His vision was to assist in the planning and construction of a new central range medical center. This he accomplished in 1980 with the opening of the new Central Mesabi Medical Center. In 1985, John took on a new challenge and assumed the role of hospital administrator at Kanabec County Hospital in Mora, MN where he worked to financially save the hospital and expand the hospital’s footprint and services. He retired in 1997 at the age of 73, ending a long, successful career in the health care field. John was a distinguished lifetime fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.
John was a lifetime member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Hibbing. He served as a 4th Degree Knight on the Knights of Columbus. At different times he sang in the church choir, served on the church finance committee, and was a Eucharistic Minister. His dedication to the community is also shown by his serving as President of the Kiwanis Club.
John married the love-of-his-life, Margaret and they had four children. His career successes were many, but John found his greatest joy in spending time with his family. He enjoyed attending sporting events where he cheered on his children and grandchildren. He also was a true craftsman in woodworking, designing and building a cradle, desk, rabbit hutches, and Nativity cre’ches. John enjoyed a day on the lake, boating and fishing. He was an avid walker, well into his 90’s.
John was a devout Christian who fervently lived his faith and fiercely loved his family. He will be greatly missed.
John is survived by his children: Mary (Jim) Perko, Jane (Frank) Jaskulka, Joanie (Ross) Sutton, and John Kayfes Jr.
His grandchildren, Nikki (Josh) Eckenrode, Tom (Jenn) Perko, Michelle (Peter) Carellas, Molly Jaskulka, Sam, Sierra, Bella, and Joe Sutton. His great-grandchildren: Mikayla, Elija, Olivia, and Violet Eckenrode, Zoey, Helena, and Madeline Perko, Lucia Panayiota, and Paraskevi Carellas. Numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his wife Margaret, his parents, Joseph and Anne (Klobuchar) Kayfes, and seven siblings.
Funeral services for John will be 11:00 am, Friday, April 23, 2021 at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Hibbing with recitation of the Rosary at 9:30 am. The Rev. Fr. Gabriel Waweru will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial. Visitation will be from 10:00 am until the 11:00 am funeral Mass at the church on Friday. Memorials are preferred to the Disabled American Veterans, or to the Assumption Catholic School in Hibbing. Interment will be in the Maple Hill Cemetery of Hibbing. Arrangements are with the Dougherty Funeral Home of Hibbing.