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Obituary: Wilmer Wilho Wiitala

As received from Antila Funeral Service:

Wilmer Wilho Wiitala, 87, a resident of South Range, passed away Saturday,
February 6, 2021, at Mission Point of Hancock.

He was born in Misery Bay on June 3, 1933, the son of Wilho and Lilja (Wiideman) Wiitala. As a third-generation Finnish American, he was taught Finnish at home before he learned English at school, and remained fluent throughout his life. He attended the one-room Misery Bay grade school before graduating from Jeffers High School in 1951.

After graduation he served in the United States Navy aboard the destroyer USS Stribling, and was an active member of the VFW Post 6165 of South Range for much of his life.

After discharge from the Navy, he worked underground at the White Pine Mine for ten years, then in construction, eventually retiring from Mattila Contracting as an estimator and supervisor.

Wilmer enjoyed his retirement summers in Misery Bay, where he restored a log homestead cabin built in 1897. He loved hunting, fishing, camping, snowmobiling and ATV riding. He was witty and proud of his Finnish heritage, and therefore when he didn’t recognize someone’s name, he proclaimed, “Well that doesn’t sound like a Finn!”

He was preceded in death by his parents; ex-wife, Joan Kananen; their infant son, Mitchell; sister, Anna Young; brother, Lloyd Wiitala; and niece, Lynn Somero. He is survived by daughter, Lisa Wiitala of Hancock; and four sons, Jeff and Pat of Hancock, Mike of Calumet, and Scott of Phoenix, Arizona. He is also survived by grandsons, Jayson and Andrew Wiitala; nephew, Kim (Debbie) Wiitala; and nieces, Robin Young and Jill (Lynn) Gehling.

Per Wilmer’s wishes, there will be no funeral service. Donations in his memory may be made to the Adams Township First Responders, P.O. Box 242, Painesdale, MI 49955.

The family would like to thank all of those whose job it is to take care of the most vulnerable members of our population during the pandemic, with a special thank you to those working in long-term care facilities. We all have sisu within us, even those who don’t sound like a Finn.

Arrangements are being handled by the Mountain View Mortuary of South Range, Antila Funeral Service, Inc. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at antilafuneral.com.

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