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Obituary: Wilho Knuuti

As received from the Memorial Chapel & Plowe Funeral Homes:

Dodgeville, MI

Wilho J. Knuuti, 86, a resident of Dodgeville passed away Sunday March 22, 2020, at his home surrounded by family.

He was born on February 24, 1934, in Finland, the son of the late Toivo and Aune (Parkkasaari) Knuuti. Wilho was raised in Finland until he was 16 when he traveled with his family on the Queen Mary to New York City and settled in Keweenaw Bay, MI.

Wilho served with the United States Army from 1954-1956. While in Germany he played for the US Army Soccer Team.

Following his service Wilho started a career as a carpenter with Herman Gundlach, Inc. He continued this career with Korndoerfer Construction and retired from CR Meyer.

On August 31, 1957, he was united in marriage to Helen Riutta. In retirement, the couple enjoyed wintering in Lake Worth, FL and Sarasota, Fl and for the past three years have made their home in Dodgeville, MI.

Wilho was an avid cross-country skiing enthusiast and was the first importer of Laasanen ski’s from Finland. He loved roller skiing off season. He coached his children and was able to help his son reach the Junior Olympics. There were long trips every winter weekend to get to one or two ski races, with a station wagon full of kids and ski orders to be dropped off along the way. One of his proudest moments was teaching the blind to ski. Wilho was a volunteer at three Olympic games. Wilho shared his exceptional carpentry talents by building cabinets and saunas for family and friends and was always willing to lend a hand or teach someone his skills. One of his most cherished pieces was the windchest for the pipe organ at Bethel Lutheran Church in Menasha, WI, where he was a member. For 20 years he proudly gave his time driving the Appleton VA van to Milwaukee. He spread laughter with his stories and enjoyed making new friends. Wilho and his breakfast crew met every Thursday to enjoy good conversation and friendship. In his spare time, Wilho restored old cars and drove his Mustang convertible in many parades throughout WI and MI. He enjoyed watching his grandchildren play sports and participate in school events!

Wilho will be remembered for his generosity and his ability to make new friends wherever he went. His grandchildren will always remember his many vehicles that never picked a good time to break down, and his broken English when trying to order pizza!

Preceding him in death were his son Donald, his parents and his brother Helge.

Surviving are: His wife: Helen Knuuti
His daughters: Linda (Terry) Montonati Jane Porto
His grandchildren: Tony (Kelly) Montonati and their children Ainsley and Archer, Brian (Sara) Montonati and their children Amelia, Eden & Miller, Catherine (Jon) Styf and their children Daniella, Monica & Dominic, Jackie (Dr. Evans) Heithaus and their daughter Jocelyn, Dr. Jillian (Kevin Wessell) Porto and Jamie Porto.
His siblings: Paul (Laila) Knuuti and Leila Aalto And other family members: Gladys (Helge)Knuuti. Dana Knuuti and Chris Porto

The family would like to give a special thanks to the Iron Mountain VA and all the care providers who gave their time. They would also like to thank the local family and friends who visited on a regular basis and were always available.

Graveside services for will be held later this spring at the Keweenaw Bay Cemetery. Rev. Glenn Schwanke of Peace Lutheran Church in Houghton MI will officiate. Military Honors will be conducted by the Copper Country Veterans Association.

To view Wilho’s obituary or to send condolences to the family please visit www.memorialchapel.net. The Memorial Chapel & Plowe Funeral Homes have been assisting the family with the arrangements.

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