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Born May 30th, 1918 in the township of Muolaa located in the province of Karjala in Finland, Grandpa (Ukki) passed away Monday, May 2nd, 2011 just shy of his 93rd birthday. He was the second child of Hilma and Antti Juvonen joining a two year old sister, Anna. His father was killed before he was born during the Civil war that broke out that same year. Antti was raised by his mother and grandmother on the family farm located on the shore of one of Finland's beautiful lakes. After his schooling, he helped on the farm until he was called to defend his country at the age of 21. He served as a sergeant in the army at the front lines during the 105-day Winter War following Russia's invasion in November 1939. He was a true Finnish Hero and was awarded the Medal of Freedom #1 and #2. Finnish "sisu" (intestinal fortitude) sustained him in the harshest of environments during one of the coldest winters on record, hunkered down in dirt and snow hideaways with very little to eat or keep them warm. Although outnumbered, the Finns won battle after battle, but sadly eventually lost a portion of their country to Russia. Unfortunately Grandpa's farm was located in that portion and his family was forced to flee along with 450,000 Karelians. Grandpa mourned the loss of that land and longed for it till his dying day. After the war, he was a mercantile shop owner for a brief period of time and then went to work at a cement factory and was employed as a driver for the corporation officers. He married Aino Juvonen, our Grandmother, at Christmas time in 1950 and were married for forty years. In 1956 they moved to Canada to be close to their daughter and her family. There they became caretakers for a large estate with Grandpa being the groundskeeper. In 1964 they once again followed the family to California and by this time he had become a "Finnish" finish carpenter. In 1966 the entire family moved to Spokane where he continued his craft working for Bouton Construction until his retirement. Grandpa was extremely proud of the work he completed at Sacred Heart Medical Center and other commercial sites. A co-worker and friend, Toivo Vaikonpaa, recently wrote in Grandpa's 90th birthday card that there was no better carpenter than Grandpa. Grandpa was an avid outdoorsman spending many hours hunting and fishing with his wife, Aino and his family. His retirement years were spent gardening, woodworking and traveling to his homeland. He also loved dancing his whole life with the Tango being his favorite dance. Wherever Grandpa lived he built an authentic wood-burning Finnish sauna in his home and Saturday night saunas were a tradition in our family as we grew up. He was a member of the Finnish War Veterans; American Finnish War Veterans in British Columbia; Fraternal Order of the Eagles, Aerie No. 2 in Spokane; the Southside Senior Activity Center and the Inland Empire Chapter of the Finlandia Foundation. Grandpa was preceded in death by his wife, Irene Coryat-Juvonen. He is survived by his daughter, Eila Parviainen of Burnaby, Canada; granddaughter Eija Parviainen-Silver (Scott) and their daughters, Kaelja (three children) and Kirsten; granddaughter Anne Hoesly (Dick) and their children, Toby Looper (Erin), Graem Looper and Lauren Looper; granddaughter Tuija Wilkening (Paul) and their son, Christopher; grandson Andy Parviainen. Relatives in Finland are his niece Raija Isbom (Mauno) and their daughters Mari and Anu and her baby daughter; his nephew, Matti Turkki and his family. We, the family are heartbroken over the loss of our patriarch. A funeral will be held on Saturday May 14th, 2011 at Heritage Funeral Home at 3pm.
Published in Spokesman-Review from May 8 to May 9, 2011