MARQUETTE, Mich. - Vilho Heikkinen, age 83, of 925 Jefferson Street, Marquette, entered eternal life Wednesday morning, August 15, 2012, at his home, in the loving, comforting care of his family.
Vilho was born November 2, 1928, in Lapinlahti, Finland, a son of Alexander and Louisa (Waananen) Heikkinen. He received his formal education in Finland and later served in the Finnish army. On September 13, 1953, he married the former Sylvia Shivo and together the couple immigrated to the United States in March of 1954. Making their home in Marquette, Vilho and Sylvia raised four children. Vilho was first employed with the former Union National Bank and then with the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company in plant operations at the Empire Mine, prior to his retirement in 1989. No stranger to work, and instilled with a strong work ethic, Vilho's favorite hobby was cutting wood either with the chain saw or log splitter and stocking up for the cold winter months. He loved to go fishing on Lake Superior and Lake Independence with his friends and going to his camp in Three Lakes. And, no Sunday was complete until he turned on the TV and relaxed with "Finland Calling." Vilho was a member of Redeemer Lutheran Church.
Vilho was known for his kindness, generosity, and gentle ways, and his children thought the world of him. His family was his life and he was a good husband and father.
Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Sylvia; his daughter, Kay (Heikkinen) Beaudry of Negaunee Township; sons, Veikko Heikkinen of Marquette, Paul (Rhonda) Heikkinen of Hudson, WI, and Mark (Sue) Heikkinen of Centennial, CO; eight grandchildren, Chad, Christopher, Jason, Heather, Travis, Ashley, Sydney, and Ryan; a great-grandson, Cole; and a baby boy expected in December. Also surviving are two brothers, Wayne Semos of Kearns, UT and Erik Heikkinen of Finland; a sister, Vieno Smolander of Finland; special nieces, Janet (Tom) Oster, Sally (Jon) Jongsma, and Elaine (Russ) Ault, along with several other nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, Vilho was preceded in death by three brothers, Paul, Reino, and Pentti Heikkinen; and three sisters, Aili, Tyne, and Miriam.
The family will receive relatives and friends at the Redeemer Lutheran Church on Monday, August 20, from 9:00 a.m. until the time of service at 11:00 a.m. The Rev. Steve Hulke will officiate and a reception will follow in the church fellowship hall. Burial will be made in the Park Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Travis and Jason Heikkinen, James "Alfie" Maki, Tom Oster, and Russ Ault.
An old Scandinavian tradition describes Vilho's lifetime experience very well, "He left the woodpile a little higher than when he found it." Quite literally, and throughout his lifetime, he did exactly that. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him.
The Swanson-Lundquist Funeral Home is serving the family, where condolences may be expressed online at www.swansonlundquistfuneralhome.com