Eleanore Marie Keranen, 80, of Kalkaska, passed away on Wednesday, July 10, 2013. She was born in the Hokkanen farmhouse to Weikko John and Olive Irene (Strang) Hokkanen in Green, Mich.
Eleanore grew up attending Ontonagon Area Schools. She was nicknamed "Chickie" in kindergarten because she was so tiny. Eleanore was an excellent student and even skipped the 3rd grade. Eleanore participated in school activities such as High School Band, Choir, and Drama Club. She played the Melephone which looks like a French horn. Eleanore graduated High School at age 16 in 1949 as Salutatorian of her class.
She was awarded a $98 scholarship to attend college and received a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from Northern Michigan University. Eleanore played in the marching band and sang in the choir at Northern. She was also a member of the Delta Sigma Nu Sorority. Later, she continued her education and received a double Master's Degree at the University of Michigan.
Eleanore taught kindergarten at age 18 in Mass City, Mich. and continued teaching for several years in Wisconsin and Newberry, Mich. She retired from Farmington Public Schools in 1988 after teaching for 39 years.
Eleanore married Eero Benhart Keranen in 1955. They had three children, John, Colleen, and Steven. Eleanore liked to volunteer for the community and was a Sunday school teacher for many years at St. John's Lutheran Church in Redford and at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Kalkaska. She and her husband Eero devoted hours of time promoting their Finnish heritage through various Finnish organizations, including the Finnish Center in Farmington Hills. Eleanore sang in a variety of Finnish Choir's at festivals and performed several times in Finland.
Eleanore was known for her cooking. The grandkids would often come to her house looking for her delicious Finnish pasties or blueberry pie. She made the best pie crust from scratch, never using a recipe. She just "knew" what was needed. Eleanore's passion was doing crafts such as quilting and weaving rag rugs. She was a talented artist and had numerous paintings hanging in her home.
Eleanore is survived by her loving children, John Keranen of Kalkaska, Colleen Kowaske of Brighton, and Steven Keranen of Madison Heights; her cherished grandchildren, Tiffany, Kyle, Brittany, Kendra, Anelise, and Lily Eerolynn; a future great-grandchild due in October; her dear sister Eileen Leggatt; her sisters-in-law, Elsa Robb and Judy Hokkanen; and several nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held for Eleanore on Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 11 a.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church with Pastor Chad Hoover officiating. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service.
Memorial contributions may be given to the grandchildren's education fund payable to Colleen Kowalski, c/o 106 S. Cherry St., Kalkaska, MI 49646.
Condolences may be left online at www.wolfeoneill.com.
Arrangements were made by Wolfe-O'Neill Funeral Home, our family serving yours.
Published in The Leader and the Kalkaskian on July 17, 2013