Carl V. Pellonpaa
ISHPEMING, MI – Carl V. Pellonpaa age 87, a 53-year host of Suomi Kutsuu- Finland Calling, passed away Saturday September 1, 2018 at his home while in the loving care of his family and UP Home Health and Hospice.
Carl was born December 31, 1930 in Ishpeming to Finnish immigrant parents: Charles E. and Edith A. (Jarvinen) Pellonpaa. Carl was a 1948 graduate of Ishpeming High School.
Carl career began in radio as an Announcer for WJPD Radio in Ishpeming. He signed a minor-league baseball contract with the Boston Braves, however he was injured in a hunting accident which ended his baseball career. Carl worked for Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company before he entered the Military Service, he served in the U.S. Army serving in Korea during the Korean Conflict. He returned to working for CCI which lasted but a few years. He found his calling in 1961 working as an announcer, marketing representative and program host at WLUC-TV6, where he retired from in 1995. He continued as a private contractor as host of “Finland Calling”, which was the only Finnish Language Television Show in the United States, which was also the longest-running TV program in the world with the same host. Throughout Carl’s illustrious career he had the great privilege to interview two Presidents of Finland; President Urho Kekkanen in 1996 and President Tarja Halonen in 2003.
Carl was elected to the Marquette County Board of Supervisors (Commissioners) serving 9 years and Chairman in 1971 and 1972. He was also appointed by then Governor William Milliken to State Highway Commission (now Transportation Commission) in 1973 and served in that capacity for 13 1/2 years.
Carl was a member of Suomi College Board of Trustees, Bethany Lutheran Church in Ishpeming, the Ishpeming Ski Club, Ishpeming ELKS Lodge 447- Past Exalted Ruler and Trustee, VASA Lodge 164-Ishpeming, American Legion Post 136- Past Commander and U.P. Chapter League of Finnish American Societies.
Carl receive many distinguished honors and awards throughout his life some of which includes, in 1988 The Knight of the Order of the White Rose, he served as Honorary Consul of Finland for 2 terms, 1970 and 1990. In 1988, The Marquette Welcome Center was named in his honor for service on the Michigan State Transportation Board of Commissioners, in 1994 was Recipient of Gold Award from the Finnish Society at Finn Fest USA, The Board of Directors of the Institute of Migration had granted him the 2012 John Morton Award to an accomplished person engaged in research, documentation on the subject of Finnish migration or multiculturalism.
Carl served as Chairman of Finn Fest 1996 held in Marquette, Michigan. He enjoyed attending many Finn Fest celebrations throughout the country. Carl traveled to Finland 32 times and visited all of the Scandinavian Countries. He worked closely with Holiday Travel Vacations, conducting many bus tours throughout the United States.
Carl loved his wife Doris, family, church, camp, sauna, baking, cooking, ski jumping, music, baseball, humor, public speaking, reading, television, movies, using his I pad, all sports, announcing at many events especially ski jumping tournaments. He was a true Detroit Tiger and Lions fan!
Carl hosted numerous Finland Calling dances throughout the Upper Peninsula and Canada.
Carl is survived by his wife Doris C. (Holmgren) Pellonpaa whom he married on December 16, 1953, 2 daughters: Wendy L. Holton of Mequon, WI and Diane (Dale) Carnell of Rio Rancho, NM, 4 grandchildren: Briana (John) Raetzel, Amanda Holton, Kristen (Brian) Hough, and Samantha (Jon) Zinski, a great grandson Oliver Raetzel, brother in law and sister in law Edmund and Susan Holmgren along with many nieces, nephews and cousins in the United States. Carl maintained a close relationship with friends and family in Finland.
Carl was preceded in death by his parents, a son Carl E. Pellonpaa, 2 sisters: Alice Young and Lillian Rowe and a brother Reino Pellonpaa.
Carl’s family will greet relatives and friends from 4:00-7:00 pm on Friday September 7, 2018 and from 10:00-11:00 am on Saturday September 8, 2018 at the Bethany Lutheran Church 715 Mather Ave, Ishpeming where funeral services will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday with Rev. Warren Geier officiating.
A luncheon will follow in the church fellowship hall.
Memorials may be directed to Bethany Lutheran Church or a charity of one’s choice in memory of Carl Pellonpaa.
Carl’s obituary can be viewed at bjorkandzhulkie.com where relatives and friends may leave a note of remembrance.
Carl loved being with people and never lost his SISU! “Yes, I am an American but my roots are in Finland. HEI HEI”