ISHPEMING, MI - Eugene "Jug" Eero Valentine Ostola, 92, formerly of Ishpeming, and Newport Richey, FL, died April 19, 2014 in Hagerstown, Maryland after a brief hospitalization.
He was born on October 1, 1921 in Ishpeming, Michigan to Martha (Kytosaari) Ostola and William Ostola. He was preceded in his death by his wife, Marie (Goulette) Ostola, and daughter, Patricia, sister Ellen Hill, and brother Edlund (Jussie) Ostola.
He is survived by his daughters Kathie Markell, of Smithsburg, MD, and Mary (Gary) Shiroda, of Metamora, MI, his grandson Commander David Markell (Mary) of Urbana, MD, his two great grandchildren Kate and Ben Markell, sisters Esther Morcom and Eileen Brooks Laitinen, of Ishpeming, and brother Ensio (Marie) Ostola, of Ishpeming, numerous nieces and nephews, special friend Minnie Baughman and his many friends at the American Legion Post 79 in Newport Richey, FL.
Jug attended National Mine School and graduated from Ishpeming High School. He was a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps (the CCCs) on a tree-planting crew in Michigan. Jug also served his country in WWII as a member of the Merchant Marines and participated in the Honor Flight program for WWll veterans to visit the WWll Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
He was a member of Local 414 Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Union for over 70 years and was instrumental in helping many family members and friends get into the union as well.
One of Jug's most often recalled adventures was of when he hitch hiked from North Lake to California when he was 20 years old with $40 in his pocket and a change of clothes. That desire to travel and reading literature remained foremost in his life as his interest and curiosity about the world and beyond never waned. He refused to give in to boredom. Jeopardy was his favorite TV program and, at 92, he was still pulling bits and pieces of trivia from his memory to come up with the correct answers. He was very witty and had an amazing repertoire of jokes, both good and bad.
Jug embraced his Finnish heritage (to the point of insisting that the family dog be named Erkki and not the kids' chosen name, Nicky) and exemplified what having "Sisu" meant. His life was a testament to overcoming limitations brought on by a childhood bout of polio. He loved to dance. He loved to be outdoors and had an unfailing respect for Nature, which he instilled in his children and grandson. Throughout his life he hiked, snow shoed and cross-country skied, bicycled and canoed, and even kayaked in New Zealand when he was in his eighties. Jug always maintained a strong work ethic and was never one to sit back and let others get the job done. For all these things, little and big, he will be so missed. He was astonishing.
As per his wishes he will be cremated and his ashes will be scattered to the winds at sea.