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goldie
27-04-11, 20:27
Nan Helena Saari (Hakala) our beloved mother, sister, grandmother and friend, went home to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Monday, April 25, 2011.

Helena “Nan” was born June 25, 1918, in Ironwood, Mich., (Norrie Location) to John and Nannie Dagmar (Sarkela) Hakala. She was the oldest of eight children.

She graduated from Ironwood High School, and attended Gogebic Community College before marrying Thomas Martin Saari, her high school sweetheart. Helena and Martin were married on June 24, 1940 in Ironwood and had two children, Nanbeth and Martin (Bud) who were the joy of her life.

Helena was active in 4-H in her youth, and enjoyed being a homemaker and mother. She provided childcare to her grandchildren and neighbors, her “little lambs” and “angels.”

Helena was a devoted Christian, and belonged to the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church in Esko, Minn., a church her husband helped build.

She enjoyed spending time in Ironwood with her mother ‘Aiti’ and brother George, the fellowship of Sunday services, and going “visiting” after church. Helena loved hymns, and knew the words to most of them. Among her favorites were “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and “How Great Thou Art.”

She had many dear friends throughout her life, and wrote letters to keep in touch. In her later years, her arthritis prevented her from writing and she then found great joy in visits from family, and in the friendship and frequent visits of her Ironwood childhood friend Goldie, of Superior.

Helena is survived by her daughter Nanbeth of Superior, brother Edward Hakala of Anchorage, Alaska, sister and brother-in-law, Ilona and Roy Hill of Kelso, Wash.; sister and brother-in-law, June and Gene Haugen of Sequim, Wash., sister-in-law Jean Hakala of Fairbanks, Alaska; grandchildren, Lisa B. Nelson (Randy), Brita Nelson, Timothy Nelson (Kerri), Greta Rath (Philip), Thomas Nelson (Ivette), Ted Nelson (Rachel), Brad Saari (Deb), Matthew Saari, Jon Saari, Sarah Saari and Martin Saari; 24 great-grandchildren, Derek, Emerald, Eden, Calvin, Carsten, Maggie, Ryan, Rebekah, Anikah, Roderick, D.J., Maryskah, Maverick, Tyler, Adelie, Drew, Jasper, Sabrina, Gabriella, Isabella, Madison, Blayne, Jon and Juliet; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Martin, son Martin (Bud), brothers George Hakala, Robert D. Hakala (Jean), Merrill Hakala (Marie), John B. Hakala (Mae), son-in-law Timothy Nelson, and infant grandchildren Thomas Martin and Alle.

Visitation will be held at the Esko Apostolic Lutheran Church on Friday, April 29, 2011 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. with the service and internment immediately following, with Pastor Kangas of Esko presiding.

Pallbearers will be her grandsons Tim, Tom, Ted, Brad, Matt and Jon.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations be sent to the Salvation Army in Superior, who for many years gave Helena the gift of friendship and support, providing rides to church and shopping when she lived alone. The family would like to thank the staff at Golden Living for the care they gave to Nan.

Downs Funeral Home, 1617 N. 19th St., is assisting the family with arrangements. To sign the online guestbook or send condolences, visit www.downsfh.com.

http://www.superiortelegram.com/event/obituary/id/53136/