Our precious mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother, Maija Elisabet (Ylinen) Koivukangas, passed away peacefully July 7, 2021, surrounded by loved ones, at the age of 95.
She was born Sept. 17, 1925, in Parkano, Finland, the middle child of Helmi and Viljo Ylinen.
She suffered a sorrowful tragedy at the young age of 4, when her own dear mother passed away. To the end of her own life, she always remembered and shared the beautiful memory of the visions of angels and heaven her own mother experienced at the time of her passing.
Finishing her comprehensive schooling and further education, she went to work in Lempäälä, where she met the love of her life, Jaakko Henrik Koivukangas.
They were united in holy matrimony in 1950, after which God blessed them richly with three children in Finland, Pertti Juhani (John), Marjo, and Jyrki (George).
In 1955, this little family, along with her sister, Martha Ylinen, boarded a ship for a weeklong journey toward new adventures, to Canada, where they lived for six years and were blessed with another child, Henry.
In 1961, they moved to the United States, first, to the Duluth area, where God continued to bless them with Margit (Tina) and Jaana.
Their journey continued, and in 1966 they settled in Cokato, and their seventh blessing, Anita, was born.
In Cokato, our precious mother worked in the family bakery, as well as at her own restaurant, Scandia. She was known and liked among the locals.
Joy radiated from her face and her essence and friendliness shone brightly. She was very giving and also gave many a good laugh.
We were very fortunate to experience and learn from our dear parents how to live a fulfilling life with seamless love, appreciation, and forgiveness and had a loving, stable, and positive forward-looking place of growth. They had a special bond as they did almost everything, side by side.
Our precious parents’ most important “legacy” in our home was personal faith in our dear Savior, Jesus Christ, which radiated from them, in the congregation, as well as widely elsewhere among all people.
Our home was always filled with visitors from far and near. Her dining room table was always decked out, and she always served with love and joy.
Our dear parents moved back to their home country, Finland, in 1993, to enjoy their life of retirement. They continued to be active in their new congregation, and were known for the joy they brought, as well as the thousands of donuts and Danish pastries they made for the benefit of the bake sales.
They enjoyed going to visit places and walking down memory lane from decades before.
Our precious mother was able to celebrate her 95th birthday with thankfulness of her life’s blessings and abundant loving memories from both sides of the world.
At her last moments, as she waited to be escorted to the shore of heaven, she opened her eyes widely and a great peace and joy settled onto her face as she gazed at something we were unable to see. A single teardrop of joy rolled down her cheek as she closed her eyes and peacefully slept away.
Her funeral and memorial service took place July 24, 2021, in Tampere, Finland. She was laid to rest with her best friend, our dear father, Jaakko.
She was preceded in death by her loving husband, Jaakko; son-in-law, Paavo Mikkola; granddaughter, Elsa; great-great-granddaughters, Megan and Claire; as well as her parents and siblings.
We, as a troop of 151 descendants, are left with precious memories and great longing for our loving mother, Maija, and thank God for blessing us with our dear parents, Maija and Jaakko, who didn’t tell us how to live ... but showed us. With lots of love we thank all who have remembered us.