Tricounty News

Helen Saukkola, 84

Helen (Koskiniemi) Saukkola of Menahga, formerly of Kimball died peacefully Thursday evening Feb. 16, 2012, at the St. Joseph's Hospital in Park Rapids surrounded by her loved ones. She was 84.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at the Spruce Grove Apostolic Lutheran Church of Wolf Lake with Rev. Dennis Hannu officiating. Visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 at the Cardini-Pearson Funeral Home in Menahga, and for one hour prior to the services Friday at the church. Following the service, a luncheon will be provided by the church family at Spruce Grove Apostolic Lutheran. Interment will be in the Balmi Cemetery next to her first husband Steen Koskiniemi.

Helen Margaret (Koskiniemi) Saukkola was born March 26, 1927, in Spruce Grove Township of Becker County to Matt and Eva (Wikman) Kumma. She was raised in the Wolf Lake Township area and attended the Pickeral Lake Country School. She 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 was a homemaker. She worked for a number of years for the Honeywell Corporation. In the late 1950s, they returned to the Menahga area where they engaged in farming near Midway. Helen furthered her education at Bemidji State University where she earned her teaching degree. Her husband Steen died unexpectedly from an aneurism at just 45 years of age.

She devoted herself to teaching third- and fourth-graders at the Park Rapids Elementary School in a career that spanned more than 22 years. In October of 1989, Helen was united in marriage to George Saukkola of Kimball. They enjoyed spending their winters in Mission, Texas, and spring through fall in the Menahga and Kimball areas. For a total of 19 years, they enjoyed each other's companionship until George died in May of 2008. Since that time she has made her home full time in Menahga.

Helen faithfully served her Lord and Savior. She was a long-time member of the Spruce Grove Apostolic Lutheran Church in Wolf Lake where she taught Sunday School for many years. She was also part of the Kingston Apostolic Lutheran Church near Kimball during her marriage to George. Helen loved to worship the Lord through singing in both English and Finn. She also drew great strength and wisdom through reading God's word and spending time 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 a wonderful cook and baker who will be long remembered for her delicious baking and canning.

Helen was preceded in death by her parents; first husband Steen Koskiniemi; and second husband George Saukkola; her stepson Larry Saukkola; and step-granddaughter Kali Jo Gilpatrick; five brothers Alfred, Eino, Elmer, Harry, and Matt; and sister Alice in infancy.

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

Nieces Debbie and Patty Aho will provide music for the service. Casket bearers will be John Kumma, Elias Aho, Harvey Aho, Raymond Aho, Caleb Saukkola, and Steve Estola. To leave online condolences, or to view the video tribute please visit