Helmi Bakka Stevens Lepisto, age 90, of Rock, passed away peacefully at the Christian Park Healthcare Center on November 4, 2020. She was born at the family farm in West Rock on June 21, 1930 to Henrik William and Fanny Bakka.
Helmi graduated in 1946 from Rock High School and attended Northern Normal (Northern Michigan University) and Eastern Michigan University. She began her teaching career in 1948 in Manistique. From there she taught at the School for the Deaf in Flint. In 1956, she taught in Palmer followed by her tenure within Rock and Mid Pen schools. Many summers were spent working at Bay Cliff Health Camp. Between 1992 and 2005, Helmi was a substitute teacher.
She also served as an interpreter for deaf students attending Northern Michigan University. Helmi and Elmer Lepisto raised their family on their farm in Rock.
Throughout her life, Helmi was involved in many school, community, and church activities. She was an active member of the Finnish Women’s Circle. Helmi, faithfully for many decades, made the Chapel bulletin and taught Sunday School, even while holding down a full-time job. She would often entertain guests for Sunday meals. She enjoyed having people around her table, giving and serving others. Her home was always open for traveling missionaries and preachers and those in need. Her faith and love for her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was very important to her.
Helmi is survived by her three children, Mary (Jon) Belanger of Pillager, MN, Elizabeth (Gary) Lauscher of Sebring, FL, and Michael (Kathy) Lepisto of Rock; nine grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; one brother, Wayne Bakka of Escanaba; one sister, Viola Heikkinen; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Henrik and Fanny (Erickson) Bakka; one brother, Lauri Bakka; and husbands, Clyde Stevens and Elmer Lepisto.
A memorial service to celebrate her life is tentatively scheduled for June 21, 2021. Burial will take place in the Rock Cemetery. The family would like to thank the staff at OSF, UPHS-Marquette, and Christian Park Healthcare Center for the wonderful care provided.
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