Fanny K. Mikkila, age 105, of Gladstone, passed away Tuesday evening, November 22, 2022 at Bishop Noa Home in Escanaba. Born on July 4, 1917 in Ikkelajarvi, Finland, she immigrated to the United States with her mother and three siblings at the age of three after her father’s death. They settled in Amasa, MI, where Fanny was raised and attended school. She then moved to Lake Forest, IL where she worked in a hospital as an assistant cook. After she married U. Alrick Mikkila on November 14, 1942, they lived in Detroit, where she worked in a factory making airplane parts during WWII. In 1945, the couple purchased and moved to their farm in Rock. When they moved to Illinois in 1963, she worked as a housekeeper and cook for several families. Their hearts were always in Rock, though, and they retired to their beloved farm in 1979. They eventually moved to Gladstone in 1996 when farm upkeep became too much.
Fanny was always an active member of her UP community. In their early Rock years, she was active in Faith Lutheran Church, serving as a Sunday School teacher and member of the choir and Church Council; volunteered as a 4-H Leader; and was a member of the PTA. During retirement, Fanny was again active with her church, serving on the Council in her 80s; and with the Rock Senior Center, where she was the top seller of May Day raffle tickets. She also led TOPS; and with her friend, Liisa Wadeen, started the Finnish Mission Circle to help preserve the Finnish heritage in the area. She loved playing cards, cooking, and baking – her Finnish specialities, “pulla” and “squeaky cheese,” were especially popular. Her motto was, “use it or lose it,” and she kept her fingers nimble with crocheting, knitting, and tending to her flowers. Fanny was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend who will be greatly missed.
Fanny is survived by her son, Al Mikkila of Gladstone; daughters, Susan (Gary) Karaszewski of Gladstone and Lois Mikkila of Columbia, Maryland; grandsons, Phil (Justyna) Truesdale and Jason Schilf; two great-grandchildren, Sean and Ellie; sister, Dagmar Blankenship of Maryland; and several nieces and nephews.
Fanny was preceded in death by her husband, Alrick Mikkila; her parents, Jacob Maenpaa and Mary Rentola; 4 brothers; and 2 sisters.
Visitation will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., Thursday, December 1, 2022 at Faith Lutheran Church in Rock. Funeral services celebrating the life of Fanny will follow at 2:00 p.m., Thursday, with Rev. Stephen Gauger officiating. Refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the services. Burial will take place in the spring in Rock Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be directed to the Faith Lutheran Church Food Pantry in Rock, MI.
The Mikkila family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff at Bishop Noa Home for all of the love and care given to Fanny.