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Mrs. Maija Simi, age 82 years of Thunder Bay, passed away unexpectedly at her residence on Friday, Dec. 24, 2010, after a brief illness.

Born in Kauhava, Finland, Maija immigrated to Canada with a friend and her brother in 1957, where she initially moved to Nipigon and was employed as a cook. Maija married Vilho, the love of her life, and together they raised two children, Ken and Janet. Maija was an extremely resourceful and entrepreneurial person and shared her passion for cooking when she owned and operated the Kestitupa Restaurant and Maija's Kitchen on Bay Street.

Maija was happiest when she was engaged in hard physical work and apprenticed at Vilho's side during the numerous construction and renovation projects they undertook together. She showed her true grit and talent for carpentry work after Vilho passed away, impressing her friends and family with her own renovation projects, including a complete overhaul of her most recent home which she purchased in 2005.

Maija was an avid athlete in her younger years, having successfully competed in many cross-country ski races, both in Finland and in Thunder Bay.

She was actively involved in her church and spent countless hours baking and cooking for fundraising efforts. She enjoyed reading and following the news and to the end, she stayed on top of all current events. Maija had a passion for the outdoors and especially loved fishing, blueberry picking, gardening and spending time at the summer camp at Surprise Lake.

Maija was extremely active until very recently, when her health started to deteriorate earlier this year. She felt fortunate that she was able to enjoy one last trip to Finland in the summer of 2010, before she became too ill to travel.

Maija was a loving wife, mother and friend, and will be remembered for her generosity, zest for life, sense of humour, perseverance and work ethic.

Maija is survived by her son Ken and daughter-in-law Liisa from Thunder Bay, brothers Erkki and Paavo and sister Anneli, all in Finland. Numerous other relatives in Finland also survive.

Maija was predeceased by her husband Vilho in 2001 and her daughter Janet in 2006, as well as by her mother Lempi, her father Nikolai and siblings Aune, Helmi, Vilho, Matti, Eino and Sulo.

Funeral services for the late Mrs. Maija Simi will be held on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010 at 11 a.m. in Hilldale Lutheran Church with Rev. Jari Lahtinen officiating. Services to be completed in the church, with interment of ashes at a later date in Sunset Memorial Gardens.

Should friends desire, donations to the Hilldale Lutheran Church or Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation would be appreciated.

Everest Funeral Chapel, 299 Waverley St. at Algoma entrusted with arrangements.

Please sign the online condolences at

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