Raili Vappu Elvi Kuitunen was born March 29, 1932 in Marjakoski, Finland (near Hiitola in the Karelia District of Finland) to Iita Kuitunen and Jalmari Harkonen. She passed away peacefully on Friday, June 17, 2022 in Pinewood Court with family by her side.
Sadly, as her mother died shortly after Raili was born, she was raised by her maternal grandfather Robert Kuitunen and her maternal aunts Sanne, Siiri and Hilja.
During WWII the family had to leave their part of Finland and were relocated to the Tampere area.
Our mother loves to tell this story: “There is a tale in Karelia that if you are able to slip under the branches of a tree in which a cuckoo bird is singing, without it flying away, your wishes will come true. In the spring of 1943, one morning I heard the cuckoo bird singing and snuck under the big red pine tree. I made my wishes as the bird continued to sing. I wished to go to a big school, have my own family, and go far, far away.”
All of our mother’s wishes did come true. She attended a big school in Vaasa, Finland when she was 12. She married Esko Hietikko on June 27, 1953 and moved first to Sweden and then immigrated to Canada in 1958. She raised a family of 4 children.
Raili and Esko had 5 children. Their first child, a little girl died shortly after birth and then they had Anne Tuulikki (Tennant), Kaija Kristiina (Coughlin) Irene Annikki (Evans) and Henry Viljo Hietikko. Sadly Henry passed away in an accident in April 1993.
Raili was a creative, lively, friendly and outgoing woman who enjoyed laughing. She absolutely loved her garden. Her garden at 10 College Street was once featured in a magazine. Raili loved nature and animals. She, in the winter, would warm up food for the birds on the really cold days as she believed they deserved a warm meal.
Raili was an excellent seamstress and perfected many creative arts such as knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, cross stitch. Raili was always creating beautiful things for her family and friends and this was definitely our mother’s way of showing her love.
Raili was always proud of her Finnish heritage and did a great deal of Finnish baking. She loved Finnish music and dancing. She was a proud member of the Suomi Koti Women’s Auxiliary for many years. Raili also had other accomplishments. She trained as a nursing assistant and worked at Central Park Lodge for a number of years, volunteered as a translator in the court system and with her husband Esko owned a number of properties and acted as a landlord.
She is predeceased by 2 children and her husband Esko (2000). She is survived by her three daughters, their husbands (Norm, William and Leo), 5 grandchildren Alicia, Crystal, Colin, Eliisa and Sean and 5 great grandchildren, Cameron, Rachel, Emmi, Kellen and Jensen. And although she moved far away, she always remained connected to her special first cousins in Finland and is survived by Raimo and Tapio Peippo and Tarja and Esko Pennanen and their families.
Raili has lived a long and fruitful Life and may she now have the full blessings of peace, love and grace.
Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 23, 2022 in the Chapel of Harbourview Funeral Centre presided by Pastor Jari Lahtinen. Interment in Riverside Cemetery will follow the reception. Visitation will be held on Wednesday evening, June 22 from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. The service will be livestreamed and archived at www.harbourviewfuneral.ca where condolences may be offered as well.
The family would like to acknowledge the staff at Southbridge Pinewood and Dr. Janhunen for the excellent care that was provided to their mom.
Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to her favourite charity, Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief.