Effie Elizabeth (McEachern) DeKeyserOctober 23, 1925 ~ November 4, 2017 (age 92)
Effie Elizabeth (Ojanen) (McEachern) DeKeyser, age 92, of 801 Loueda Ave. in Gladstone, passed away peacefully November 4, 2017 at home surrounded by family. Effie was born in Marquette, MI on October 23, 1925 to Finnish immigrants, Victor and Hilda (Oja) Ojanen, the 5th of 6 children, and the only child not born in the sauna.
Effie was raised in the Marquette “suburb” of Piqua where the Finnish culture was treasured, and only Finnish was spoken. She and her family were proud members of the Finnish Lutheran church and their social lives revolved around church activities. As a child, Effie enjoyed ice skating and found her passion for education when she would interpret Finnish/English for the teachers. This led to a teaching degree from Northern Michigan College. While in college, Effie and her friends took a break to support World War II by heading to Chicago to work in a factory making parts for war vehicles. Though they lost their jobs the day after the war ended, Effie was very proud of what they accomplished. The friends immediately headed back to school in the U.P. When Effie graduated from NMC, she moved to Escanaba and taught for 3 years. She then moved to Dearborn to begin her second teaching assignment. It was there her friend, Millie Johnson, introduced her to Douglas McEachern and 6 months later they were married. Effie and Doug started their married life in Union Lake MI, then moved to Marquette, and eventually settled in Escanaba where they raised their children and established deep roots. Doug preceded her in death on March 15, 1983. Effie taught for 27 years in the Escanaba school district, and enjoyed touching the lives of many grade schoolers at Webster, Lemmer, and Franklin Schools. Effie loved to play cards with “The Bridge Club”, a group that were extended family for the 50+ years they played. She also took great pride in remembering every relative’s birthday with a special card. Effie ensured every relative of Finnish ancestry understood we had “SISU” in our character –determination, guts, fortitude, resilience, and grit!
Effie married Donald DeKeyser on November 7, 1987. The two of them explored the world spending weeks in Korea with Don’s brother Bill, visiting Finland to walk in her parents footsteps, participating in as many FinnFests as possible, organizing fun filled adventures with the “GEMS” (Bob and Dot Meyer, Keith and Evie Lee, Andy and Carol Houston, and Jim and Betty Wollers), attending many DeKeyser family reunions, and visiting friends and family all over the U.S. to be a part of as many baptisms, concerts, sporting events, confirmations, graduations, ordinations, weddings, and anniversaries they could make.
Effie is survived by her husband Donald DeKeyser; children, Holland aka “Dutch” (Gail) McEachern, Ellen (Jonas) Boyer, and Paula (Ken) Fineout; step-children, Mary Jo (Glenn) Grippen, Jim (Kathy) DeKeyser , John (Georgia) DeKeyser, Maureen (Joe) McKindles, Jane (Robert) Kleiman, Carol (Gerard) Adler, and Rich (Maria) DeKeyser; grandchildren, Bridgette (Scott) Larson, Ginny (Jeremy) Menard, Katie (Matt) Smith, Alli (Matt) Rider, Clara (Dan) Short, Katie Fineout, Chris Fineout, Amanda (Aaron) Goddard, Andrew (Katie) Grippen, Bill (Michelle) DeKeyser, Dan DeKeyser, Nick (Nellie) DeKeyser, Emily (Alex) Foster, Graham (Bree) DeKeyser, Nora DeKeyser, Ryan McKindles, Adam McKindles, Dereck (Andrea) McKindles, Jessica McKindles, Steve Klieman, Scott Kleiman, Kyle Kleiman, Alex Adler, Audrey Adler, Genevieve Adler, Donald DeKeyser, and Megan DeKeyser; 18 great-grandchildren; sister, Ellen (Ojanen) (Rantala) Linen; sister-in-laws, Nona Ojanen and Joan DeKeyser; and many nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews.
In addition to her parents and first husband, Effie was preceded in death by siblings, Kaino Ojanen, Alli Harwood, Paul Ojanen, and Eine Gordon; brothers-in-law Bob Harwood, John Gordon, Clarence Rantala, and Elmer Linen; and sister-in-law, Sis Ojanen.
Visitation will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Friday, November 10, 2017 at First Lutheran Church in Gladstone. Funeral services celebrating the life of Effie will follow at 1:00 p.m, Friday, with Rev. Tom Otis officiating. A luncheon will be served afterward in the church fellowship hall. Burial will take place in Park Cemetery in Marquette. The family is requesting you wear something Finnish blue to her visitation and funeral in honor of Effie’s favorite color! Effie’s family would like to give a special thank you to Gentle Hands Home Health and Hospice and also U.P. Health System Home Care and Hospice for their wonderful support and compassion.