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Anna Liisa Scharf


1934 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Anna Liisa Scharf Obituary
Early Saturday morning, June 4th, 2016, Anna Liisa Pylvanen Scharf passed away with her son by her side after living gracefully with a cancer diagnosis for the last year and a half. She had recently turned 82. Anna Liisa was born in Helsinki, Finland on May 3, 1934, the daughter of a family doctor and nurse. Her father died when she was only two years old, leaving her mother to work full time and raise Anna-Liisa and her two older half-brothers. Her experiences as a young girl during World War II, living apart from her mother who had to work away from home caring for soldiers, created a stoicism and sensibility that remained with her throughout her life. She enjoyed relaying stories of life in Finland, both in Helsinki where she was raised, and Kangasniemi where her family still owns a rustic lakeside house. Anna Liisa enjoyed a decade long career as a Medical Technologist in Finland, and in 2008 attended the 50th anniversary meeting of the medical technology field in Helsinki as an honorary guest representing the first graduates of the program back in 1958. In 1964 her work brought her to the Boston area for a job working at Mass Eye and Ear, and it was there that she met Bertram Scharf on a weekend ski trip to Cannon Mountain in NH. Two months later Bertram would become her husband with whom she raised a family and was married to until his passing in 2011. They raised their two children, Riitta and Lauri in Brookline, MA, and also spent several years as a family living in southern France where they eventually lived in retirement during the winter months until Bertrams passing. Anna Liisa enjoyed reading, gardening in her home in Campton, NH, spending summers at her lake house in Finland, playing Scrabble, cooking, travelling throughout the world, visiting with her grandchildren, quilting, and Ryijy, a form of weaving. She is survived by her daughter, Riitta Liisa Burri of Bern, Switzerland, and her son-in-law, Jurg Burri also of Bern, her son, Jonathan Lauri Scharf and his wife, Liz Bohn Scharf of Middlesex, VT. She leaves behind 6 grandchildren, Jan, Livia, Niels and Ellen Burri of Bern, Switzerland, and Ethan and Eric Scharf of Middlesex. She is survived by numerous loving nieces and nephews and their children who reside in Finland and the U.S. She was predeceased by her two brothers of Finland. In addition to her family, she leaves behind her Scrabble and dinner girlfriends Joan, Dorothy, and Norma who kept her busy during her brief years as a widow, and her dear long-time friends Heide, Hilkka and Mimi. Anna Liisa will be remembered for her generosity and kindness, her delicious cooking, her beautiful woven Ryijy and quilts, her gardens, her Fringlish (French, Finnish, English) Scrabble words, and her very tidy home. The Scharf family would like to extend their appreciation to the Visiting Nurses Association of Greater Boston to whom donations can be made in her name, and to her friends and family who spent time with her during her last few months. An open-house style celebration of her life will be held at her apartment on Saturday June 25th from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. For details, contact lauri. [email protected]
Published in The Brookline Tab from June 14 to June 23, 2016
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