Our dear Ȁiti and Mummu, Paula Kontio resident of Van Norman Street began her eternal journey at age 91 years, on Monday, September 25, 2023 after 7 weeks in hospital to reunite with her husband, parents and dear friends who have passed before.
Born December 19, 1931 in Helsinki, Finland to Manne and Helmi Korpela. Paula grew up and spent her childhood years in Turenki, Janakkala parish Finland. Paula began her work life at age 16 on June 1, 1948 at the Janakkala Osuuspankissa working various positions from teller to head bank bookkeeper to loans officer up to spring of 1960. The summer of 1959, Paula journeyed to Port Arthur, Ontario on vacation for 3 months to visit her cousin Kirsti Senyk, it is during this time that she met the love of her life, Arvi Kontio. Returning to Turenki, Finland in October only to return to Canada March 29, 1960 and travel to Port Arthur April 1st to marry Arvi Kontio on April 7th, 1960 at the Independent Finnish Lutheran Church with Pastor Esa Kallio officiating. Paula and Arvi lived in Shebandowan in the early years. In 1961 they welcomed their daughter Katherine (Kaisa) Helen. They returned to Port Arthur in 1963 and had a son Henry (Heikki) Arvid. In 1968, they purchased their residence on Van Norman Street. Paula was an extremely meticulous person with precision for detail. In Thunder Bay, Paula worked at the Finnish Book Store from 1969 to 1982 and at Kangas Sauna from 1983 to her retirement, December 19, 1996. Throughout the years, Paula enjoyed travelling to Finland, Mexico, Vancouver, Manitoba and the USA and enjoyed many road trips with the Finnish Lutheran Church Seniors Friendship groups. She was an active member of the Hilldale Lutheran Church until 2019 when she started to slow down.
Paula was a person who lived sparingly and was content with the way life was; although in her mind she had large unfulfilled dreams. She took great care of her home and her beautiful yard. She was a caring friend to many and wherever she went she always ran into people she knew. She was a role model; she wrote wonderful poems of her excursions and days events; took pride in her work and was always there for her family. Extremely proud of her children and her 4 grandsons. Paula was a strong independent Finnish woman who will be missed and lovingly remembered by many.
She is survived by her daughter Katherine (Allen) Swerhun, by her son Henry (Shelley) Kontio, and grandsons Andrew Kontio, Shane Kontio, Mekaal Swerhun and Chris Swerhun. Also mourning are many family members in Finland, Canada and the USA as well as her dear friends Hilda Tiitto and Sirkka Ahola of 63 years. Predeceased by her parents Manne Korpela in 1975, Helmi Korpela in 2003, brother Olavi Korpela 2012, her husband Arvi Kontio 1988, mother-in-law Heleena Kontio 1977, plus numerous other relatives and friends.
For the last week of Paula’s life, we wish to thank Alisa Makela at 4 North – St. Joe’s and Nida and the staff of 4 South for your compassion.
Cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be held at 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 3, 2023 in the chapel of Sargent and Son Funeral Home, 21 N. Court Street. Interment will take place at Riverside Cemetery where she will reunite with her husband. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Hilldale Lutheran Church. Online condolences may be expressed at www.sargentandson.com.
Nyt olen vapaa ja mukana tuulen
saan kulkea rajoilla ajattomuuden.
Olen kimallus tȁhden.
Olen pilven lento.
Olen kasteisen aamun pisara hento.
En ole poissa, vaan luoksenne saavun
mukana jokaisen nousevan aamun.
jo jokaisen tummuvan illan myötȁ.
toivotan teille Hyvȁȁ Yötȁ
What we have once enjoyed, we can never lose.