MARQUETTE, Mich. - Aili Leah Harju, 89, formerly of 526 Lost Creek, was welcomed into Heaven on Saturday, December 15, 2012, at the Eastwood Nursing Center in Negaunee, where she had resided for the past 4 months.
"Leah" was born on September 23, 1923, in Atlantic Mine, MI to John and Hannah (Bjornfoot) Harma. Leah had a variety of enjoyable life experiences in her childhood and early adulthood, starting with dairy farm life, skiing to school, becoming a boarder to attend Hancock High School, venturing to the vibrant big city of Detroit, finding industrial work and living with a sister and friends, traveling to Mammoth Cave and other sites with friends, and becoming an authentic "Rosie the Riveter" when her auto plant job began producing B-29 Bombers in World War II.
Leah married Ruben Harju of Copper City, MI on January 26, 1952, and they made their home in various U.P. and other MI towns before settling in Southeast Michigan to raise their 5 children. With most of the children in school, Leah rejoined the workforce as an industrial sewing machine operator at a GM plant, becoming an original 20th century "Super Mom."
Aili Leah Harju
Leah and Ruben retired to FL and raised their grandson Matthew there. As a widow, Leah lived in FL until moving to Marquette in 2010.
Leah is survived by a brother, John Albert Harma of Hancock; a half-sister, Maria (Norman) Durham of MI and FL; 3 children, daughter, Joyce (Jerry) Tredeau of Marquette and sons, Keith Harju of MI and Thomas (Scherry) Harju of FL; grandchildren Matthew (Jessica) Selleck of TX, Torin (Lana) Tredeau of Ishpeming, Alina (Nick) Ruppel of Washington, D.C., and high school senior Jerad Tredeau of Marquette; 2 great-grandchildren, Thomas and Emma, brought Leah much joy in her later life. Many nieces, nephews and cousins also survive her. She was preceded in death by her parents, siblings Eva, Alice, Agnes, Elma and Ray, her spouse Ruben, and 2 children, Kurt Harju and Cynthia Harju (Matthews' mother).
A memorial graveside service will be held at the Glen Eden Cemetery in Livonia, MI this coming summer.
The Canale-Tonella Funeral Home is assisting the family where memories may be shared at www.canalefuneral.com