It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Evelyn Vaananen in Castlegar BC, on August 30, 2015, after a brief respiratory illness.
Evelyn was born in 1907 in Hibbing, Minnesota. When she was a young girl of nine, her family immigrated to Canada to homestead in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The family moved to Cobalt, Ontario during the 1920’s where she met her future husband, William (Bill) Vaananen, whom she married in 1931.
Evelyn and Bill lived in the Sudbury area where Bill spent his entire career with Inco. Evelyn was a homemaker and enjoyed baking, gardening, and watching sports on TV–she particularly enjoyed curling and the ‘Leafs’. Evelyn was also a member of the Eastern Star. At the age of 102, when she decided that she couldn’t live alone anymore, she moved to Castlegar, BC to be closer to family. Evelyn enjoyed the many visits and letters from family and friends while living in Castlegar, although she always missed Sudbury. She moved to Extended Care after sustaining serious injuries in a head-on car collision, but like a cat, she seemed to have nine lives and amazed us all when she would recover just when we thought that she was on the brink of death. She maintained her feisty spirit and kept those around her on their toes! She was sharp of mind until the end and regularly beat everyone at cribbage.
Evelyn experienced many technological changes during her lifetime. She was born during a time when she still travelled by horse and buggy (the Model-T Ford came in 1908), cooked on a wood burning stove, milked the family’s cows, and indoor plumbing, electricity and telephones were a household rarity. Up until recently, she flew on a plane, cooked in her microwave oven, and skyped with her grandchildren. It is possible that the world has made more technological advancements during her 100 plus years than in any other point in history.
Evelyn was a strong and independent woman, who was a positive and inspiring role model for her entire extended family for an incredible 107 years! She will be fondly remembered as a gentle, kind, and generous lady with “sisu”… the stamina, perseverance and stoic determination that typified her Finnish spirit. She will be sadly missed by all who knew her.
Evelyn was predeceased by her husband Bill in 1974, her parents Hilda and Mattias Lahteenmaa, her sisters Mae Anderson (Miles) and Helen Tikkanen (John), and her brothers Ted (Mary) and Bill Lahteenmaa.
She is survived by her son Ronald (Marney Miller) of Denver, Colorado; her grandchildren Keith (Brenda Derochie) of North Bay, ON, Sheila Vaananen (Chris Johnson) of San Jose, Mexico, and Paula Vaananen (David Larocque) of Castlegar, BC; her five great-grandchildren: Braden, Kiersten, and Graeme Vaananen, and Noah and Simon Larocque; her sister-in-law Elnora Lahteenmaa of BC; as well as many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Many thanks to the staff and doctors at Talarico Place for their care of Evelyn for the past three years.
At Evelyn’s request, there will be no funeral service. In lieu of flowers the family is requesting
that donations be made to a charity of