September 11, 1930 – August 10, 2022
In loving memory ~
With sad hearts we say good-bye to our loving mother and grandmother Aino Maria Laitinen who passed away on August 10, 2022, from complications after falling and breaking her hip.
Aino was born in Vaasa, Finland on September 11, 1930, the third of four children. She saw and experienced many things in her lifetime. War time and post-war life saw many hardships as she and her family endured hunger, poverty and other challenges during those years. Mom had to work hard, learning how to cook, bake and clean early in life and went to work at a thread factory to help support the family. She was still able to have many good times in her younger years. Growing up on the west coast of Finland, Mom would ski in the winter and loved swimming in the Gulf of Bothnia in the summer. She brought that love of swimming with her to Canada and swam in Shuswap and other lakes well into her 80’s.
In 1949, at the age of 18, Mom married our dad, Pentti. They had four children born in Finland and decided to immigrate to Canada in 1959 in search of a better life for the family. Dad went first, securing a job and a place to live on River Road in Delta. Mom made the arduous trip a few months later, with 3 young children and a four-month old baby. In 1963 the family grew by one more child. Mom cared for the family, cooked, baked and cleaned and there was always the smell of fresh bread and other baking lingering in the house.
In 1991 Mom lost Dad to cancer and had to face a future without him by her side. She courageously made a life for herself by doing what she had always done – focusing on others. In 1995 she moved from Surrey to Salmon Arm to be closer to family. She traveled to Finland to care for her ill mother and also continued to cook and bake like crazy, both at home and for many church and other functions. Her baking was especially plentiful at Christmas time, when she would often bake over 400 cookies and other traditional Finnish treats. Hospitality was mom’s signature trait and she loved serving others, always having someone over for coffee or a meal, or baking something delicious to give away.
Mom always thought of others before herself, such as giving her only winter coat to someone she thought needed it more. She enjoyed volunteering for many years at the Churches Thrift Store. Mom was passionate in her Christian faith and loved to pray for others. She was an encouragement to many, especially younger people, liberally dispensing wisdom and humour.
She loved to walk around downtown Salmon Arm and many of the shopkeepers and bank tellers knew her by name, enjoying her friendly personality and wonderful smile. Mom was a special grandma or “Mummu” to her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren and was especially happy when family was gathered around the table enjoying her cooking and baking. Mom will be fondly remembered for her loving heart, joyful spirit and gift of giving.
Mom was predeceased by her husband Pentti, sons Pekka and Matti, son-in-law Howard, as well as her parents and siblings in Finland and Sweden. She leaves behind her daughter Helena Holton (Lance), son Jukka and daughter Kristina deVeer, grandchildren Julie, Ryan, Jennifer, Jeffrey, Kevin, Lindsey, Sarah, Leanne, Shayne, Cierra, Tyler and Jaimie and their families, along with many family members in Finland and Sweden.
Special thanks to the community of health care professionals and the staff at Arbor Lodge who cared for mom with love and grace.
A celebration of life will be held on mom’s birthday, September 11, 2022 at 2 pm at Five Corners Church in Salmon Arm.
In memory of Aino, donations can be made to any charity of your choice that benefits children.
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