View Full Version : Raimo M. Mikkola

28-06-11, 00:25
Raimo M. Mikkola, 68, of Brule passed away Friday, June 24, 2011, after a struggle with ALS.

He was born June 20, 1943, to Heino Laurila and Kriistina Mikkola in Haapajarvi, Finland. He spent his first 13 years in Finland and considered it his beloved homeland throughout his life. His Finnish heritage and childhood memories and friends there, as well as friends made on later visits back to Finland, such as at Kaustinen Folk Music Festival, were very dear to him. Raimo immigrated to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in 1956, where he joined his sister, Anneli, grandparents, and uncle on a farm in Woodspur, near Ontonagon, Mich. He graduated from Ontonagon High School and attended Northern Michigan University in Marquette for two years before starting a family with his first wife, Corann, while working at White Pine Mine.

In the early 1970s, Raimo moved to Minneapolis, where he worked in landscaping and became very involved in the Finnish American community and the Kisaret Finnish folk dance group. He had many fond memories and friends related to dance performances around the United States. Raimo organized many Finnish dances and did much to promote and appreciate Finnish music. Throughout the 1980s he worked as a “Finnish” carpenter, building saunas, decks, and remodeling kitchens, bathrooms, basements, etc. During this time he ran several marathons and was involved in competitive cross country skiing.

In 1990, Raimo moved to Oulu, Wis., with Debbie, where they bought the Tikkanen farm and married. Raimo brought this beautiful homestead back to life, and dearly enjoyed the sauna and walks along the creek. He was warmly received by the Brule and Iron River community, and formed many friendships here. Along with joining a deer hunting camp on Tar Paper Alley, Raimo loved to play horseshoes and organized many events, as the “commissioner of horseshoes” for this rural, tight-knit community. With help from dear friends, the hayloft of the Mikkola barn was transformed into a dance hall, and many people have great memories of the annual Juhannus (Midsummer) parties there. In fact, Raimo said goodbye to hundreds of his friends, and beloved daughter, Karol, at this event, just days before he died.

In addition to his wife of 20 years, Debbie, Raimo is also survived by three daughters, Melissa, Karol and Karina, all of Idaho; eight grandchildren; one great-grandchild; three brothers; two sisters; and many nieces and nephews in Finland; sister-in-law and brother-in-law Beth and Les Strongman, Minneapolis; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Doug and Jan Proctor, and their two children, Jenna and Cory, all of Minneapolis; brother-in-law, Dave Kekke and his son, Timo Kekke, both of Ontonagon, (Woodspur), Mich.; mother and father-in-law, Richard and Clara Proctor, Minneapolis; and his “brothers,” Dave Cooley and Bill Kangas.

He was preceded in death by his parents; one sister Anneli Kekke; and two nephews, Mikko and Eric Kekke.

There will be a memorial service for Raimo, a celebration of his life, at his home in Oulu on Thursday evening, June 30. The gathering will begin at 5 p.m. with an informal ceremony in the hayloft starting at 6 p.m.

Lenroot-Maetzold Funeral Home, 1209 E. Fifth St., Superior, is assisting the family with arrangements.