On Friday, February 1, 2019, our family lost a husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and father-in-law.
Mr. Toivo Seppä, known to those who loved him as Topi, was born in Alavus, Finland in 1934. His mother Jenny and father Valto met in the 1920's in Montreal where they later wed and had their first two children Aino and Maila. During the depression of the 30's they relocated back to Valto's village of Alavus where Toivo and his three other siblings Helvi, Paavo and Pentti were born.
During the 60's Toivo and his wife Laila moved to Sault Ste. Marie with their two boys, Vesa and John, where soon after their daughter Anita was born. Toivo and Laila forged a life together facing all the challenges that immigrant families experienced in Ontario during the 60's through to the 90's.
Toivo always said Canada is a good country and the place he wanted his ashes to be scattered. He cherished the Finnish language and culture. After working in the forestry industry during the week he would come home, go to the Thunder Bay Public Library and take out a number of Finnish novels and books to carry him through the weeks of work to come. Although he had read the Bible a number of times during his lifetime he was an independent thinker, choosing not to affiliate himself with any congregation in particular. He respected all holy scriptures and writings and acquainted himself with the Talmud and Koran alike. He appreciated art and music and often sang at home in a lovely tenor voice.
Toivo had a critical and questioning mind that longed to connect with like-minded thinkers. He was an avid radio listener. He possessed a wry sense of humour and at times was brutally honest. He loathed pretence. From an early age Toivo worked to earn his keep. He provided well for his family and shared generously from what he had, never asking for anything in return. In addition to this generosity he had the ability to stand his ground and live life as he saw fit.
Towards the end of his life he had a chance to rekindle his relationship with his siblings in Finland. His frequent and unhurried Skype conversations with his brother Pentti were extremely important to him. Toivo was always ready to accommodate any of us who wished to stay with him. Above all he loved his family, home and yard.
His grandchildren gave him great pleasure and he enjoyed every moment spent with them. He pampered them at every opportunity and took great interest in their well-being and life events. He engaged in lengthy conversations with them and was genuinely interested in their thoughts and opinions. He encouraged them in every way possible. What good he had, he gave to them. His gaze was full of love and admiration. They brought out the best in him.
We'd like to thank some of the people that stood by Topi through his solitary last years, Meghan his personal caregiver, Saara Vuorela, Tarmo Pihlaja and a number of other people from Hilldale Lutheran Church. We'd also like to thank the staff of Bethammi Nursing Home for their care of our loved one.
His loyal friend Tarmo was by his side when, after a lengthy and complicated illness, he serenely passed away on February 1st. For this we are forever grateful.
According to his own wishes, Topi's ashes will be returned to the forests of North Western Ontario where he spent most of his adult life working. Arrangements have been entrusted to the EVEREST FUNERAL CHAPEL, 299 Waverley Street at Algoma.