With loved ones by her side, Esther Elaine Simonson, age 94, of Cokato, was called to her heavenly home Saturday, March 24, 2018, at the Cokato Manor.
Her funeral service will take place Friday, March 30 at 11 a.m. at Cokato Laestadian Church, followed by interment in the Cokato Finnish Cemetery.
The Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home in Cokato is handling the arrangements; www.swansonpeterson.com.
Esther was born Dec. 2, 1923, in Cokato, the daughter of Charles and Wilhelmina (Tuominen) Aho. She grew up with five siblings on the family farm northwest of Cokato, attending the local country school and Cokato Public High School.
As a young girl, Esther always wanted to be a teacher. Following high school, she attended Litchfield and St. Cloud Teacher’s Training for two years. Among other schools, she taught at the one-room schoolhouse at Temperance Corner, north of Cokato.
At age 19, Esther was engaged to Eddie Koivisto, who was called overseas shortly after, to serve in World War II. He never returned.
About 10 years later, Esther was married to Alfred Hannus, June 13, 1953. They were blessed with two children and were expecting their third, when Alfred died suddenly of a heart attack. Esther was left to raise their three young children as a widow.
Sept. 7, 1974, Esther married Edwin Helmer Simonson, gaining 12 stepchildren, the youngest 7 years old. Together, they raised their children in Cokato, enjoying their lake place and traveling during retirement.
Esther loved gardening, flowers, and treating their many grand- and great-grandchildren to fresh bread, canned peaches, pears, and applesauce.
She was preceded in death by her fiancé Eddie, husbands Alfred (1956), and Helmer (2004); parents; brothers Eino, and Melvin Aho; sisters Ellen Tormanen, and Lempi Koivisto; stepsons Mark, and Kevin Simonson; step son-in-law Paul Kariniemi; and one granddaughter.
Esther is survived by her children, Christine (William) Josephson, William (Lynn) Hannus, and Ruth (Gordon) Raisanen, all of Cokato; her step children, Ronald (Melba) Simonson of Buffalo, Harley (Roberta) Simonson of Snohomish, WA, Dale (Diane) Simonson of Deer Park, WA, Sandra Kariniemi of Wayzata, Karen (Vaughn) Lundeen, Maureen (Bradley) Mattila, all of Monroe, WA, Gary (Lisa) Simonson of Cokato, Patricia Davison of Chattaroy, WA, Kent Simonson of Menahga, and Chris (Jodi) Simonson of Deer Park, WA; and daughters-in-law Ilona Simonson of Deer Park, WA, and Janet (Mike) Stonelake of Prescott, AZ.
She is further survived by her sister, Lorraine Wisuri of Cokato, many dear grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
Esther’s gentle nature, patience, and love for children will be greatly missed.