William T. Tuovinen (1931 - 2016)

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  • "Leslie and Family, My sincere condolences on the loss of..."
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William "Bill" Toivo Tuovinen, 85, passed away at home with family at his side on Sept. 10, 2016, after a period of declining health caused by metastatic melanoma. Born in Hartford, Conn., on Jan. 19, 1931, Bill was the only child of Toivo (Jim) and Jyynia (Anne) Tuovinen. The family moved from Hartford to Lunenburg, Mass., when Bill was a young child. His Lunenburg High class of '49 school mates voted him "Most Assertive," mentioning his "very definite opinions" in their yearbook. After graduation, he enrolled at Fitchburg State Teachers College where he met his wife, Carolyn, their freshman year. Bill's life-long passion for aviation began when his father introduced him to airplanes as a young child. He obtained his pilot's license in his teens and after a year of college joined the Air Force in 1951. Wherever Bill traveled he always stopped at airports along the way. He was stationed at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz., and was employed by Hughes Aircraft in Tucson after his discharge. Bill and Carolyn were married in 1953, and settled in Tucson where their daughter, Leslie, and son, Mark, were born. They built their own home on Ajo Road in the Tucson Mountains. They enjoyed traveling in the United States, the U.K. and other parts of Western Europe and Scandinavia. The family moved to Anchorage, Alaska, in 1969 "for a year or two" and stayed. Bill worked for ERA Aviation as a helicopter mechanic until his retirement in 1996. His job afforded him a bird's eye view of remote parts of Alaska, which he said made him a "paid tourist." Bill participated in the Anchorage Suomi-Finland Club and was a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association. In retirement Bill was regularly seen chatting with his coffee klatch buddies at the Northern Lights McDonald's. He continued his passion for aviation by building and learning to fly an ultra-light aircraft together with his cousin, Ed Elliott. Miraculously the duo survived and later donated the ultra-light to the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum. Bill will always be remembered for his wealth of knowledge, mechanical prowess, problem-solving ability and exceptional memory. A firm believer in the importance of educating oneself, he fed his mind by researching innovative technologies, including alternative energy sources. He liked to experiment, whether in the garage or in the garden. Bill had a great sense of humor with a mischievous streak. While of strong opinions, he was also gentle, known as an animal lover and a "dog whisperer." Bill and Carolyn were married for 63 wonderful years. In his wallet, Bill carried a well-worn photo of Carolyn taken in September 1950, on their first date at Cathedral of the Pines in New Hampshire, and another of his children when young, looking at a book together. He readily showed these photos to one and all. Bill is dearly loved and sorely missed by his wife, Carolyn (Capstack); daughter, Leslie; son, Mark and wife Diana; grandchildren, Colin Ede, Julia Sheffield, William Tuovinen and partner Elisabeth Kruger; along with his four-legged family members, Wally and Maggie, all of Anchorage. A Celebration of Bill's Life was held on Oct. 1, 2016, at Aladdin's Restaurant in Anchorage. Memorial donations may be made to the or Providence Hospice.
Published in Anchorage Daily News on Jan. 1, 2017
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