VENICE, Fla. - Hilkka Annikki Juntunen, 85, of Venice, Fla., and formerly of Finland, Hancock, Lake Worth, Fla., and The Bluffs of Houghton passed to the church triumphant on January 13, 2014.
She was born in Suomussalmi, Finland on February 23, 1928, to Helmer Karl Juntunen and Matilda Emelia (Kyllonen) Juntunen.
She and her husband, Johannes, wanted to find a better life for themselves and family, so they immigrated to the United States in 1958. Through their persistent drive, Sisu and work ethic they became very successful entrepreneurs. They began the Finlandia Bakery and Restaurants in Hancock and Marquette, known as the Suomi Bakery and Restaurant in Houghton and John's Bakery in Lake Worth, Fla. They also owned the Kaleva Cafe in Hancock. Hilkka was a veteran of the "Winter War," and learned her baking and cooking skills as a lumber camp cook in Finland. She began her cooking career in the United States as a cook for Suomi College in the fall of 1961.
Hilkka was a beautiful person, a very loving, patient and caring wife, mother and grandmother. She tirelessly gave her family and friends her time, her love and the most delightful home cooked meals and bakery imaginable. We were privileged to have shared our lives with "Mummu."
She is survived by her children, Tuula (Stan) Pakula of Venice Fla., Marja (Richard) Salani, of Hancock, Sirkku-Liisa (Gary) Niemela of Marquette, Leo (Claudette) Juntunen of Spartanburg, S.C., and Lea (Rick) LaRocque of Venice, Fla.
She also leaves behind 14 grandchildren, Shana Bickel, Jason, Christopher (Melissa), Eric-Jon (Amy) Salani, Stephanie, Josh (Sara), Lara and Luke (Jenny) Niemela, Layla, Calvin-Johannes, and Haleigh Juntunen, Niki Lee, Alena Spencer and Dana LaRocque. There are also 13 great grandchildren; and her brother, George (Anna-Maria) in Sweden; sister-in-law, Eila Juntunen; along with numerous cousins, nieces and nephews in Finland.
She was preceded in death by husband, Johannes; daughter, Mirva; her parents; three brothers and two sisters in Finland.
Funeral services will be held at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Venice, Fla.
A memorial service will be held at a later date, to be announced, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Hancock.
Memorials may be directed to Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 1000 W. Quincy St., Hancock, MI 49930.