The Finnish Society of Edmonton

Keeping Finnish culture and tradition in Western Canada

Kauko Siik

Mr. Kauko Siik, aged 73, died at Fork Lake, Alberta on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. The cause of death was a sudden heart attack.


Kauko was born on July 17, 1944. He immigrated to Canada in 1971 after being sponsored by Toronto Maple Leafs player Carl Brewer. Kauko was an active member of the Finnish Society of Edmonton and a longtime caretaker of Fork Lake.


Survivors include his son, Jari Siik, his daughter Katia Numminen, and his granddaughters Annalisa and Maija Siik.

Mikko Lindfors

Mikko Lindfors passed away on July 20, 2016 at the age of 69 years. Mikko's sisters, Liisa and Leena, have sent a thank you note to the Finnish Society of Edmonton:


To the Finnish Society of Edmonton,


Heartfelt thanks for your sympathy. Mikko was always a true Finn in our hearts. Now he's resting in the place where he wanted to be. Fork Lake and the Finnish Society have always been dear friends to us. Thank you for your friendship. 

- Liisa + Leena


Mikko will be missed by his friends and family in Finland and Canada.

Ahti Salonen

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Ahti Salonen on April 3, 2015 at the age of 70 years.

Ahti is survived by his two sons Michael and David. He is lovingly remembered by his sisters Marja, MaryAnn, and "Sassa" Elizabeth, as well as his brother Esa. Ahti is predeceased by his wife Diana.

Ahti was a valued, longtime member of the Finnish Society of Edmonton and he served as a board member in 2006-07. He was a regular visitor at the Fork Lake campsite, enjoying outdoor cooking at the Pentin Kulma kitchen with his son Michael. He is remembered as a positive, joyful, compassionate person who was always ready to help others.

Ahti was born in Finland in 1944 and immigrated with his family to Montreal, Canada in 1953. In 1973, he met a beautiful Christian girl named Diana and married her in 1974. In 1976, he graduated with a degree in Theology from McGill University in Montreal. In 1983, Ahti and Diana moved from Montreal to sunny Alberta, settling in Edmonton. In 1984, their son Michael was born. In 1990, their second son David completed the family. Ahti retired in 2008 after a long career with Edmonton Transit. Ahti's life outside of work was one of dedication and service to others. In the family's opinion, Psalm 121 best describes Ahti and his life.

 

Airi Langeste

On November 4, 2014, Airi Langeste of Edmonton passed away.

Airi is survived by her loving family, sons Tom and Martin (Debbie), and granddaughter Kristen.    

Airi is predeceased by her husband Helmuth. Airi cherished family, loved to laugh, and lived to create fashion. She will be fondly remembered and sadly missed.

Airi was born July 21, 1926 in St. Johannes, Karelian Isthmus, Finland. She lived there for her childhood. In the early winter of 1939, she and her family were among the 422,000 Finns who were evacuated from Karelian Isthmus. Later, after the Winter War, most Karelians returned to their homes, but in early 1944 were kicked out of Karelia for good. This led to the second and final evacuation from Karelian Isthmus.

Airi’s eventful life took her to work in Sweden, where she met the handsome Estonian, Helmut. They got married and moved to Edmonton, Canada in 1953.  She and Helmut were active Finnish Society members and are missed by all.

When Airi was 82 years old, she wrote her memoirs, MY STORY FROM KARELIA TO CANADA. The booklet was edited by her son, Tom Langeste.

Toini Virtanen

Toini Virtanen passed away on November 27, 2014, at the age of 93 years.  She will be deeply missed by her loving daughter Kathy (Albert) and her beloved grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-granddaughter. She always had time for family and friends, who will miss her smile, her kindness, and her sense of humour. She is survived by many friends and relatives in Canada and in her native Finland.

Toini was a long-time member of the Finnish Society of Edmonton and a well-known and well-loved member of the community. She was a regular at Society functions and at Fork Lake, and leaves everyone with cherished memories of her fellowship, her humour and her skills at needlework. She always had a smile and a kind word ready, and was active in the community until very recently.

Toini came to Canada following World War II, during which she served her country as a Lotta.  She was proud of her Karelian roots. She will be greatly missed by all.

VIRTANEN, Toini Annikki
1921 - 2014
Our beloved matriarch passed away November 27, 2014. She always had time for family and friends and we will miss her smile, her kindness and her sense of humour.
She leaves to mourn daughter Kathy (Albert); grandchildren Rick (Karen), Lisa (Jim), Terri (Mark) Tanya (Stoney); step- grandchildren Charlotte and Tony; great- grandchildren Darcy, Nolan, Rylee, Sarah, Shantae, Nicholson and Campbell, plus a great-great-granddaughter Kalle. She will also be missed by numerous relatives and friends in her native Finland - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/edmontonjournal/obituary.aspx?n=toini-annikki-virtanen&pid=173314903&FBNF=ShareObitAt#.VHoI9xnPYXM.facebook

 

ur beloved matriarch passed away November 27, 2014. She always had time for family and friends and we will miss her smile, her kindness and her sense of humour.
She leaves to mourn daughter Kathy (Albert); grandchildren Rick (Karen), Lisa (Jim), Terri (Mark) Tanya (Stoney); step- grandchildren Charlotte and Tony; great- grandchildren Darcy, Nolan, Rylee, Sarah, Shantae, Nicholson and Campbell, plus a great-great-granddaughter Kalle. She will also be missed by numerous relatives and friends in her native Fin - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/edmontonjournal/obituary.aspx?n=toini-annikki-virtanen&pid=173314903&FBNF=ShareObitAt#.VHoI9xnPYXM.facebook

 

Julius Joljart

Julius Joljart passed away on February 8, 2013, after a courageous battle with lung disease.  He belonged to both the Hungarian and Finnish communities of Edmonton and often attended Finnish Society functions.  Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Irja, daughters Michelle (Paul), Karen (Jason), and son Michael (Kelsey), and six beloved grandchildren, as well as extended family here and in Hungary and many friends.  He was the son-in-law of Väinö Rastas, who was an original member of the Finnish Society of Edmonton.

Julius was born in Hungary and fled his native land during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.  He came to Canada and chose Edmonton where he built a successful life in his new homeland.  A welder by profession, he worked for Brown and Root for many years, ending as superintendent before his retirement.  He and Irja were married here and raised a wonderful family of which he was very proud. 

A man of candid words and thoughtful opinions, he also had a great sense of humour.  His love of animals was well-known, and in addition to his two beloved Hungarian Vizsla dogs, Kati and Sunny, he rescued and adopted many other lucky pets.  He loved to build things and excelled at finding solutions and figuring out how things work.  Among many other talents, he was a skilled chef and baker.  He loved the outdoors and tried his hand at new pastimes such as windsurfing.  But his family remained the focus of his life.  He will be greatly missed.

Louis Vagovics

Louis Vagovics passed away on September 27, 2011.  He was a member of both the Hungarian and Finnish communities of Edmonton and a familiar figure at Finnish Society of Edmonton functions.  He leaves to mourn and forever cherish his memory, his wife Rita, daughters Anita (Jim) and Kristina (Jess) and his precious granddaughter Addison, who always managed to cheer up her "Pappa" even on the most difficult days of his illness.  Louis' father-in-law, Tuomas Nahkuri, was one of the original signatories on the 1953 Charter that established the Finnish Society of Edmonton.

Louis led an extraordinary life that began in Budapest, Hungary.  He was proud of his heritage and his home city, which he left in 1956 during the Hungarian Revolution against Soviet rule.  Louis was a teenager and escaped by foot and by water, making his way to Vienna, and then to Canada and Edmonton.  He and Rita were married and raised their family here, while Louis worked in the construction industry. He quickly became involved in soccer and varied cultural activities.  He was an excellent soccer player and dancer, and loved music, especially Viennese operetta.  Louis was also an accomplished chess player.  He brought passion and energy to everything he did. 

Louis loved the sun and he and Rita often travelled to tropical destinations and also to Europe.  Everywhere he went, Louis made new friends.  His outgoing and engaging personality left an impression on everyone he met.  He believed that life should be lived to the fullest, and knew how to take the very best of life every day.  He will be greatly missed.

 

 

Martti Haikarainen

Martti "Martin" Haikarainen,a long-time member of the Finnish Society, passed away on August 23, 2011, at the age of 86 years.  He leaves behind his loving wife, Ritva, of 52 years; beloved son Roy (Zhauhara) and his adored grandson, Erik; one brother in Finland and many other relatives and friends both in Finland and in Canada.  He will be sadly missed and remembered with affection by the Finnish community of Edmonton.

Martti was born in Juva, Finland, and saw combat in World War II with the Finnish Armed Forces.  After the war, he tried life back in his rural community and then moved on to Sweden and Canada.  He crossed Canada by rail, with stays in various locations, and worked in the mining industry.  In 1959 he returned to Finland for a vacation and met a charming young lady named Ritva, who became his wife and moved with him to Canada and Edmonton, where Roy was born.  Martti worked for a time in out of town locations and then in the city.  He was always involved in Finnish Society activities and was well known in the community, as is Ritva, a long-time member of the Finnish Society Executive.

He had a gift for drawing and woodworking, and many of his works are in homes and on display in the community.  He loved animals, and his pets were very dear to him.  He was an avid reader and gardener and worked in his garden until his passing away.  We will always remember Martti for his quiet humour and his friendly smile.

Helmuth Langeste

 On May 8, 2011, Helmuth Langeste passed away at the age of 85 years.  Helmuth was a member of both the Finnish and Estonian communities of Edmonton and well known at Finnish Society functions.  He was the beloved husband of Airi, and loving father of Tom and Martin(Debbie) and grandfather of Kristen.

Helmuth was a charming and reserved gentleman who had a keen intellect and was an interesting conversationalist.  He led an extraordinary life that began with his childhood and education in his native Estonia, followed by service as a volunteer in the armed forces of Finland during World War II in the all-Estonian Finnish Infantry Regiment JR200, known as the Soomepoisid--The Finnish Boys.  After the war he moved to Sweden where he met and married Airi, and together they embarked on a new life in Canada.   As a young man, he looked forward to a career in horticulture or forestry, but as with many of his generation the war changed his plans.  He and Airi eventually chose to settle down in Edmonton, where they raised their family.

Helmuth retained his interest in horticulture throughout his life, and was also a gifted photographer.  He was proud of his heritage and sang in the Estonian Men's Chorus, being particularly fond of opera.  He was an avid reader and had an extensive collection of books.  In his later years he wrote about his experiences in his memoirs, and a copy is lodged with the Estonian National Museum and Archives. He will be fondly remembered and greatly missed by his family and friends.

 

 

Veikko Leino

On April 20, 2011 Veikko (Vic) Leino of Skelton Lake and formerly of Edmonton, passed away at the age of 81 years.

He is survived by his loving wife, Anja; daughter Reisa (Wally) Skarpinsky; two grandchildren, Amie and Victor; and numerous other family members in Canada and Finland.

During the many years they resided in Edmonton, Veikko and Anja were active members of the Finnish community and were involved with Finnish Society functions. Veikko will be fondly remembered and sadly missed.

 

Marjatta Juuti

Marjatta Juuti, long time Finnish Society member,  passed away on December 17, 2010 at the age of 83.  She was the beloved wife of Toivo, the mother of  Irma (Jerry), Leila (Larry) and Rita (Gerald); and grandmother of six grandchildren. 

Marjatta was born in Finland.  She and Toivo and their daughters lived in Montreal before moving west to Edmonton in 1977 to follow new job opportunities.  They quickly became involved with the Edmonton Finnish community.  Marjatta was a familiar face at Finnish Society functions and she and Toivo were regular campers at Fork Lake. 

Marjatta and Toivo had the “travel bug”. They often went camping with their family, travelling from Vancouver Island to the Atlantic. Later, they took trips to Mexico, Cuba, Hawaii and cruises to Alaska and Fiji.  In addition to travelling, Marjatta loved to read, usually having a book or newspaper at hand.  She also enjoyed singing and playing cards, with weekly bridge and cribbage sessions.

She was a woman who always looked for the good in others, was devoted to her family, and leaves behind many friends who will miss her dearly.


 

 

Vic Harvonen

On December 1, 2010, Victor Harvonen of Edmonton passed away at the age of 85. Vic (Vikke) was a long-time member of the Finnish Society of Edmonton. He is survived by his loving wife, Francia, his daughters, Lea Davis and Tania Smith of Calgary. Vic was born in 1925 and raised in Karelia, then part of Finland. Vic led a varied and colorful life, including playing the role of an extra in several Finnish movies. After many adventures around the world, he moved to Canada via Seattle, where he met his wife Francia, and from there moved on to Edmonton, where they settled down in 1967 and raised their family. Vic worked over 20 years for Edmonton Telephones, and enjoyed trout fishing and camping in Alberta and BC with his family.

Over the decades, he compiled a vast collection of Finnish folk music as well as music from other genres, and was commonly found at his recording station with many pieces of hi-fi equipment, reel-to-reel tapes and cassettes, and later, CDs.  He brought much of this music to Finnish Society functions and dances for everyone to enjoy. A collection of CDs and DVDs generously donated by Vic and Francia to the Society can be viewed on the Information page of this website.

 

  

Pauli Vanhala

The Finnish Society is grieving the loss of long-time member Pauli Vanhala, who passed away on October 22, 2010.  Pauli served on the Executive Board many times over the years, and was a diligent worker for the Society and at the Fork Lake campground.  For his outstanding volunteer service, he received the Finnish Society Certificate of Honor. 

Pauli was born in Finland and settled in Canada in 1976 with his wife Leena.  Their two children, Saska and Sarah, were born in Edmonton.  He will be dearly missed by Leena, Saska and Mira, Sarah and Tommi, and his granddaughter Aria, as well as many relatives and friends in Finland and in Canada. He will always be remembered as a loving and caring man who loved the outdoors.  A skilled instrumentation and electrical tradesman and a long-term employee of Pyramid Corporation, Pauli often used his work ethic and talents to go out of his way to help others when needed.  He was a devoted husband and father, and the memories of his generosity and good nature will be treasured by everyone who knew him.

Aurinko laskee, jo pitenee varjo
Aika on eron ja jäähyväisten.
Poissa on ystävä kallehin...

Niin kaunis on maa, niin korkea taivas
Soi lintujen laulusta kukkiva kunnas
Ja varjoisat veet, niin varjoisat veet
~Kari Rydman