Maire Laurikainen (Piironen) nee Simola 1929-2019
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Our dear mother passed away suddenly on Friday May the 10th at the age of 90 doing what she loved. As a volunteer with the Ladies Auxiliary of Finlandia Village she was getting ready for the annual Mayfair fundraiser. She had just entered the Sudbury Credit Union when her heart gave out and she collapsed into the arms of her daughter, Virve. It was a fitting end for a woman who dedicated much of her life to the community.
Maire was born in Helsinki, Finland to Matti and Gerda Simola (nee Grundström) on March 23, 1929. She was an only child but built strong relationships with many aunts, uncles and cousins. After the war she married Onni Piironen (predeceased 1997) in 1948. Two daughters, Tuire and Virve, were born in Finland prior to emigrating to Canada in 1956. The family settled in Sudbury and her son, Hannu was born the following year.
To help support her family Maire cleaned houses and offices. This led to a similar job at the recently founded Laurentian University in 1960 where she was one of the institution’s first employees. Her abilities were quickly recognized and she was asked to work in the fledgling library. During this time she completed a correspondence course through a technical college in Finland and became a qualified library technician. She spent the next 32 years managing the books and periodicals maintenance department.
For over 50 years she was a tireless force in the Finnish community in Sudbury. She organized countless concerts, exhibitions, tours, and student visits and exchanges. In 1984 she joined the Sudbury Finnish Rest Home Society, the governing body of Finlandia Village. She served for over 30 years on its Board, holding every executive position. Maire was the first and only woman to serve as President. She was very active in The Ladies Auxiliary; she ran the Finnish War Veterans Rehabilitation Program for 14 years, and she founded and ran the Finnish student exchange program which facilitated dozens of Finnish students having work term placements at Finlandia Village. At the time of her death she was still volunteering in several capacities at Finlandia Village.
Maire’s achievements have been recognized through many awards including the 50 Years of Finnish Independence Medallion in 1967, the Knight of the Order of the Finnish Lion, First Class, and Finnish War Veterans Association Service Medal. Most recently, on her 90th birthday, she was honoured as a Fellow of the Canada – Finland Institute of Huntington University.
Following her divorce from Onni in 1974, she married Martti Laurikainen in 1979 (predeceased 2017). She is survived by her three children, Tuire Walsh (husband Patrick), Virve Tremblay (husband Guy), and Hannu Piironen (wife Susan Bruce), her six grandchildren, Chris Tremblay, Patrick Walsh, Mary-Anne Moore, and Katie Zollerano, Miia Piironen and Mikko Piironen, and her one great grandchild Giovanna Grace (Gigi) Zollerano.
A celebration of Maire’s life will be held on Saturday, May 18th, 2019 in the R. J. Barnard Chapel at Jackson and Barnard Funeral Home, 233 Larch Street at 12 noon with words of remembrance at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Maire Laurikainen Bursary at Laurentian University, www.Laurentian.ca/give or to the Finlandia Village SISU Fund, www.finlandiavillage.ca
For donations or messages of condolence, www.lougheed.org