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Helen M. Saukkola, 84

Helen Margaret (Koskiniemi) Saukkola, age 84 of Menahga, MN, formerly of Kimball, peacefully entered the loving arms of her Lord and Savior, Jesus, Thursday evening, Feb. 16, 2012, at the St. Joseph’s Hospital in Park Rapids, surrounded by her loved ones.

Helen was born March 26, 1927, in Spruce Grove Township, Becker County, MN, to Matt and Eva (Wikman) Kumma. She was raised in the Wolf Lake Township area and attended the Pickeral Lake Country School.

Helen was united in marriage to Steen Koskiniemi at the Aho farm near Wolf Lake in 1949. The young couple moved to Minneapolis a short time later, where Helen devoted herself to making a warm and loving home for her husband. In the late 1950s, the couple returned to the Menahga area, where they engaged in farming near Midway.

Tragically, Helen experienced the heartache of loss when Steen died unexpectedly from an aneurism at just 45 years of age.

Helen worked for the Honeywell Corporation for a number of years.

She furthered her education at Bemidji State University, where she earned her teaching degree. Helen devoted herself to teaching third and fourth graders at the Park Rapids Elementary School in a career that spanned over 22 years.

In October of 1989, Helen was united in marriage to George Saukkola of Kimball. They enjoyed spending their winters in Mission, TX, and spring through fall in the Menahga and Kimball areas. For a total of 19 years, they enjoyed each others companionship until Helen faced the grief of losing George in May of 2008.

Since that time, Helen has made her home full time in Menahga. She was a woman who faithfully served her Lord and Savior, and a long-time member of the Spruce Grove Apostolic Lutheran Church in Wolf Lake, where she taught Sunday school for many years. Helen was also part of the Kingston Apostolic Lutheran Church near Kimball during her marriage to George. She loved to worship the Lord through singing His praises in both English and Finn. She also drew great strength and wisdom through reading God’s Word and spending time with the Lord in prayer.

Helen enjoyed keeping herself busy doing embroidery and other needlework. She blessed many with her gifts of afghans and other handiwork. She was also a wonderful cook and baker, who will be long remembered for her delicious baking and canning.

Helen will be lovingly remembered by her eight step-children: Susan (JeRay) Buerkle, Diana Schultz, Ronald (Darlene) Saukkola, Carol (Bruce) Selin, Deanna (Lloyd) Scheeler, Douglas (Susan) Saukkola, Richard Saukkola and Shirley Saukkola; 23 step-grandchildren; and 17 precious step-great-grandchildren; her sister, Elsie Aho of Wolf Lake; brother John Raymond (Margie) Kumma of Menahga; as well as many close and special in-laws, nieces, nephews, and brothers and sisters in Christ.

In addition to her husbands, Helen was preceded in death by her parents; a step-son, Larry Saukkola; step-granddaughter, Kali Jo Gilpatrick; five brothers: Alfred, Eino, Elmer, Harry, and Matt; and one sister, Alice, in infancy.

Funeral services took place Friday, Feb. 24 at 11 a.m. at the Spruce Grove Apostolic Lutheran Church of Wolf Lake with the Rev. Dennis Hannu officiating. Nieces Debbie and Patty Aho provided the music. Interment was at the Balmi Cemetery, next to her first husband, Steen Koskiniemi.

Casket bearers were John Kumma, Elias Aho, Harvey Aho, Raymond Aho, Caleb Saukkola and Steve Estola.

Visitation was Thursday, Feb. 23 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Cardini-Pearson Funeral Home in Menahga; and continued for one hour prior to the services Friday at the church.

Arrangements were handled by Cardini-Pearson Funeral Home in Menahga To leave online condolences or to view the video tribute, go to www.cardini-pearson.com.