Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Memories of Peter

We've been hearing all kinds of funny, sad and happy stories of our grandpa, dad, and dear friend. If you have a memory of Pete that you'd like to share, please comment on this post or email Andrea: theranch @wcta.net

109 comments:

Andrea said...

Papa always called his grand kids his "spoiled brats" and that's what we'll always be.

Anonymous said...

Like the boys said at the visitation, they heard a lot of Pete's motorcycle stories. Back when i was about 10 yrs. old, we were going to have a baptism at home for my youngest sibling. We were ready, and just waiting for the minister to show up. We were visiting w/the neighbor kids outside and filling them in on what was going on at our house. A bit later, a motorcycle comes cruising down the road, driven by a man in a suit w/his tie flapping behind in the wind. It pulls right up to the house and it was Peter! We were in awe! The neighbor kids couldn't believe it was our minister! We were feeling pretty cool at the time impressing the neighborhood w/our cool minister. :)
God's Peace,
Laura (Hermanson) Kangas

Anonymous said...

His memory was a little too good! In confo, I wouldn't answer him if he called me "Rebecca". At the time, I hated it and only responded to "Becky". Well, each time one of my kids reached confo, Pete told the story of their Mom to the whole class! He loved to tease.. if we could still have him among us a while longer, I maybe wouldn't even mind if he DID put his threatened junkyard next door! Thank you all for sharing your Dad with us. It can't have been easy to be limited on family freetime, with a Dad busy preaching, but our lives have all been enriched because of your patience! Love & God's Peace, Becky Anderson

Juliana said...

When Tina and I stayed at your Condo on South Padre. You we're so generous to take us to Mexico and lots of bumming all week. I remember him asking us if we knew the old Calumet cheer. We didn't. So he pulled over and demonstrated the cheer in front of the minivan, in front of a highway. I think you said, "Oh, Peter!" :) Lots of fun. But, I think what made him so special is how he didn't have any pretense about him. When we feel our own poorness, we seek the truth. And he had a gift to remind of us that!

Anonymous said...

I think of Peter every time I have an active toddler in church. Because once when he was up in the pulpit at Atlantic Mine church, while another minister was speaking, he was amused by our little boy trying to escape my reach. So he started putting his hands out, and when I gave a little shake of my head, he grinned and encouraged Carl all the more to come up and sit on his lap. Which of course, being little Mr. Social, Carl did. And Peter bounced him on his knee and looked at me more than a little "smug". He had a grandchild or two up on his lap many times, but I surely wasn't expecting the one on his lap to ever be mine! But that was Peter. ~God's Peace, Nora Olson

Anonymous said...

I remember a hot conformation day in the old Hancock church. Pete said, "it's too hot to think. Let's go outside." We went across the street to the park. He then chose 2 of the fastest boys in the class, Karl Granroth and Colin Parks. He had them race to see who would win. Then he told us about the reference to the race in the Bible. I will never forget it. He had such a simple way of explaining things. We will miss him.

God's Peace. Bette Pieti

Anonymous said...

He surprised me by driving his motorcycle to confirmation class in Calumet but my memories of Pete are from his visits to CO. One time he told us how he was pretending to be a retard, with Ellen as his mom, at the Villa Italia shopping center. Then he also told us he was amazed hwo many dark Finns aka Hispanics there were in Denver.

Another time he and Mr. Lampinen, first name might have been Ed, were trying to quit smoking. They had bought the smokeless cigarettes so they could "smoke" inside. It felt too weird for them, so they had to go outside anyways.

My deepest sympathies to all of the family, I didn't get a chance to catch you at the visitation prior to the funeral.
God's Peace! Kristi Kesti

Anonymous said...

PENCIL SHARPNER PETE
In high school, Pete had had a class taught by the quirky physics teacher, Ellerth Overboe. During tests, the edict was SILENCE - not even any questions. Pete raised his hand, and when Oveboe noticed him, Pete stuck his finger in his mouth, and made a circular motion near his ear. Overboe nodded, and Pete sharpened his pencil. Makes you wonder what might have been signaled if Pete had to go to the bathroom.

Earl Kangas (brother-in-law)
Santa Clarita, California

Anonymous said...

I was at the meeting of the boards when they talked to Pete about the minister's job in Calumet. The chairman of the meeting, Ralph Bekkala, said we have to provide Pete's daily bread. Pete spoke up from the back of the room: Don't cut the loaf too short!
God's Peace, Rick

Tina H. said...

Papa was the best grandpa ever. Andrea's right - he did call us "spoiled brats". He used to take us to church with him, let us buy candy on the way there. Then he would tell everybody he was visiting with: "these spoiled brats were whining and bawling and begging to come with me, so finally I let them come along".

I also have memories of him bragging about his grave site he had all picked out. I had never heard anybody speak so light heartedly about dying. Walt says maybe he was trying to soften the blow for all of us who miss him so dearly. I suppose also that he was looking forward to his Heavenly home. Love you Papa!

Anonymous said...

I remember one time when I was about 10 years old in Fulton church St. John's. It was hot, and the church doors to the outside were open. The addition wasn't on yet, so if you turned around, you could see right outside to the summer evening. For some reason, I decided to sit with my mom and dad for that service instead of my friends. I had a folding chair at the end of the bench. It was a full church. I sat there and listened to Pete's sweet message, and the tears just streamed down my 10-yr-old face with joy. And I didn't even feel dumb because I think everyone else was wiping their eyes too. God's Peace, BH

Anonymous said...

One of my memories (there are 100s) of my Dad were when we moved up to the Copper Country. I got to ride in our old car (56 Chevy) with him. He had taken the back seats out of it and had hay in the back for our 2 goats, Josephine and Marianne, to haul them to Michigan with us! I felt so proud riding in that car with those goats! Love you, Dad! Care Bear

Gram said...

Wow, tears flow as I read all the sweet memories. I remember him standing at the casket at Vaari's funeral with a great big grin. He was just sooo happy that his dad had finally won the victory. He was a calm & loving counsellor to so many of us during fiery trials. Words just can't say......
Barb Heinonen

Anonymous said...

What I'm writing about is both imagination and hearsay concerning Peter.
I can well imagine Peter when getting ready to go on a mission trip to Finland & Sweden, would hunt up a paper bag into which went a change of underclothes, a toothbrush, and a blade for shaving, and into his pocket he put $35.00, in cash. I have been told that he still had the money when he returned home.
We bless the memory of all those former saints who have been obedient to the command of Christ.

God's Peace,
Chester Ylitalo

Greta Kinnunen said...

My Papa was the best! One time Papa paid Ev and I to walk all the way from 8 mile(house on torch lake)to Lindells in Lake Linden! He told us if we could walk all the way there we could buy some food! I'm wondering know if perhaps we told him we were bored one too many times and he was just looking for some peace and quiet!

Gail Wickstrom said...

Pete and the Prune meaning me were chums going all the way back to 1944 when the Wickstroms moved to Laurium from Heights. From the 4th grade on through high school we shared all the same classes together. We both took the commercial course that we might “engage in commerce.” What was good enough for Pete was good enough for me.
We had a few scuffles along the way (Stinky was involved in some of these) and later some serious discussions. Through the thick and the thin we were friends to the end.
Pete liked to play tricks on me, especially when we were still in grade school. I remember once in Miss Grierson’s 6th grade class (had her for the 7th grade too) Pete asked me if “I smelled something.” “Yeah,” I said. “Well I don’t,” Pete said with a grin. I was too slow-witted at the time to say, “What I smell is you.”
For when we got in high school Pete and I would have contests to see who would wear the same shirt the longest or even the same pair of socks. Some went over a week running. And back then it was only one bath or sauna a week for everyone. So as you can guess everyone stunk whether they knew it or not.
I’d planned to visit with Pete and Ellen at the Casita when I was up in mid-May. Pete had just left for his surgery before I got in town. We planned on having another picture of me standing on the rock boat just down from the Casita with me pulling a Chicago Drape. These young bucks got to know what a classical drape looks like.
Sadly I never got to see Pete up there in Heights. I will be seeing him in heaven.

Gail (the Prune) Wickstrom

Anonymous said...

Some kids were nervously awaiting confirmation to start outside the old calumet church. No adults were there, just more kids getting dropped off. After a while, here comes a guy on a motorcycle with coat tails flying in the wind. He pull into the parking lot with a full face helmet on with a cigarette sticking way up at a drastic angle by his nose. It was Pete, puffing away on a butt with smoke pouring out of the face hole in the helmet. They all knew it was going to be ok.

Anonymous said...

I have two comments. I was in Pete's second confirmation class in 1968. Whenever he'd say breaktime - whether hour break, lunchtime or end of day we'd usually say, "Not yet." God sure gave him a gift, to even keep 60 confirmation kids attention and words to speak. Also in 1993 with two-month old twins fussing at Fulton St. Johns I had to leave and with Pete sitting nearby he was trying to get me to let him take them. He's not even my relative and he wanted to take care of crying babies!

God's Peace! Shirley Josephson

Anonymous said...

One memory of Pete was back about in '81 or so when I was up for St. John's weekend. I stayed the weekend with Dave, and we got in I'm sure around 4 or 5am Saturday night,after haps and extra late haps. Needless to say, we didn't just bounce out of bed when Pete hollered for us to get up for morning church. About 10 minutes after that while still sleeping soundly, we received a glass full of ice cold water right in the face. We were not late to church. On a more serious note, he certainly always had time to ask how things were and how the family was when you'd see him at services. And what a "rock" spiritually. He'll be missed. God's Peace. Mike Raisanen

Anonymous said...

Back in the "olden days" kids were able to start school when they were four years old. (much like kids going to headstart now) Peter and I both had birthdays in March and started school in Sept. when we were still four. Kids could also start in either September or January and the year was divided into "A" and "B" grades, depending on when you started school.

Apparently the "A" group was too large when Peter started, so he claimed the principle told all the kids to put their heads down on the table. Those who kept them down got moved up a half a year. He was one of the obedient ones and kept his head down, and moved up to the B grade.

Then a few years later they decided to eliminate the A and B stuff, so they moved all the kids in his B grade up another half a grade. That is how he caught up with me - and graduated from high school at the ripe old age of 16.

The teachers in the school knew there were twins in our family, and apparently they thought Peter and I were twins too, since we were in the same grade. One day the principle called me into the office and wanted to know how it happened that Peter and I were twins and yet we were born 10 days apart - my b.d. being on the 8th and Peter's on the 18th. They thought the birth year for one of us was wrong.

Lana Heinonen

I also remember that Peter had a pet crow that used to follow him to school and sit on the window sill outside the school and wait for him.

Anonymous said...

There are so many memories .... which one do I share......

The Torola kids had their own unique name for me -- Colen Catey and most of them still refer to me by that name yet today.

ok ... now the memory ..... we saw Pete, Ellen & kids in a store in the Marquette area ..... Pete knew it was near my birthday, and in the middle of the checkout line, he said "c'mon guys .... we have to sing Happy Birthday to Colen .... and they proceeded to do so.

Love you all!!!
God's Peace,
Colen

Ellen said...

i guess i have to remember funny times as well...when colin told us the birthday story, it reminded me of the time that we were in florida with some of our family. andrea and tina were with me and pete, while others were shopping, and we went to a Cracker Barrel restaurant to have a bite to eat. when we were seated, pete told the girls that if you go up front by the fireplace and ask for the microphone and sing happy birthday to gram, I will pay your entrance into Sea World. So to my amazement, they DID....and everybody clapped and looked at me and pete way in the back. talk about embarrased. and it wasn't even my birthday!

i could go on and on, but here's just one more for now

pete was preaching in atlantic mine church one sunday, and had 3 grandboys along, i think one was gordon helminen, and maybe even russell, and one of carrie's... (approx 7 or 8 yrs. old.) the boys sat on the balcony steps and really were goofing off bigtime. so pete, while preaching, proceeded to get up and go down the altar steps to shut them up, and he fell flat on his face! I guess somebody helped him up. No big deal...he went back to the boys, gave them the what-for, and went back up to continue to preach....while the boys continued to goof off. when pete got home from church, he told me, "you're never gonna believe what happened in church today!" Boy, my pride says I was sure glad I wasn't there!

Anonymous said...

It was just this past Mother's Day - there were a few of us at Slim's for dinner after church. After we were done eating Peter began to sing "Have I told you lately that I love you?" to Ellen. Everybody in the room stopped to listen and clapped when he was done - and someone hollered "sing the second verse!". Ellen's reply was "if he does I'm leaving". We all had a chuckle over it.

Lana Heinonen

pamtorola said...

Papa always used to read us stories down at 8 mile and at the end he would begin... " and that's the end of the stoow-ryy..." and we would finish, "like Papa always says!"
God's Peace Pamela Torola

nitorola said...

Whenever Papa and Gram took us to Louies or Hardees, they would tell us not to open whatever we got until we got home. Once when we went to Louies i didn't listen and opened my candy! I got scolded and after that i felt so bad that i didn't listen to him and Gram.
Papa was in my dream last night! and i hugged him!:D
~Nina Torola

mommyloon said...

We ran into Pete and Ellen at the Hut, several owners ago, on Pete's birthday. He sang Happy Birthday to himself in the lobby before he left.

Ev said...

I remember that 4 mile walk with Greta to Lindell's. Seems I was wearing dress shoes... Papa was always either pushing us kids to do something crazy in public, or doing it himself—keeps life interesting that way, doesn't it? I wrote some more of my memories on my blog here: http://travelingev.blogspot.com/2010/06/memories-of-my-grandpa-march-18-1937.html, and posted a collage of pictures.

Anonymous said...

I have this confirmation memory of Pete. Once when he was in the middle of a sermon, a boy in our class set off a laughbox, and much to our surprise, Pete started laughing right along with it! And he laughed 'til he had tears streaming out of his eyes, until the box shut off. Then he resumed talking like nothing ever happened. He was unique like no other! I was proud to have known him.

Anonymous said...

the last time i saw papa was last november. i came up from kenosha to pick up my moms car. we arrived at night so we went right to bed. in the morning i awoke to papa making us breakfast... pancakes, bacon and orange juice. I didnt realize it was orange juice with no sugar added. i sipped it slowly, and it wasnt all that bad...but it sure gave me the giggles! woweee!
i have never met anyone so patient and kind. he set such a great example for me and his faith and love for God have been incredibly encouraging.
with much love and God's peace
ashley

Anonymous said...

test

Wally said...

Memories of dad include; The black VW bug that didn't have a starter but could be started if he parked it on a small slope, his ability to light a stick match with his thumb nail with one flick and then light a camel straight. It smelled great. He let me drive that bug from Mohawk to Lac La Belle pretty much everytime we went there, I was only 12. He had me go to Illinois to pick up a van from Uncle Allen. I went with two younger siblings. We rode a bus and then drove it back. Never drove in a city before and made it back on only my permit. He used to pull our homemade cart behind the scout. He let us ride on the bumper on the front of the scout and or ride on the back like a fireman. He brought us on some survival trips were we learned to survive on frogs and a bird. He never suggested anything to us but probably watched out for any danger to our health. We did not ask what to do because he had this thing about him that made you try to figure it out on your own. We did the best we could but ended up going back to the camp the next day very starved. Oatmeal cured all. Dad used to smoke quite a bit. I borrowed some of them smokes. Mom had a good nose and no matter how much we wiped our selves on pine branches we could not get rid of the smell. When mom was scolding us dad would be behind her with that trade mark smirk. Then she would say Peter, Tell them how bad it is to smoke. Well, he would try to but his voice would be an octave higher and he had a hard time to keep that smirk off his face especially with his back to her. We knew he was on our side. He let us chew tobacco and on any occasion would stop at the store so we could get some more.When i got older we had our go a rounds. He always won. He had the gift of being able to not berate you but help you see how it should be. Of course I would try to fight back but I always painted myself into a corner. He never said See, I told you so but say in a few word Learn from it. With him you learned quickly. How to put in words his ability to put a person in his place but save face and integrity is hard but I thank him for that. Dad would like to debate with me. I always felt that I was being picked on but later realized what he was doing. My ability to express my opinion was lacking but with his poking questions, i got better. I like to think he rather enjoyed picking peoples brains. I had moments where I know that I wasn't the most responsible person. I choose not to do much at home while I was unemployed. He would wake me in the morning and quickly leave the room but not before saying something in only a few words. One realizes very soon that it is time to do something with my life. Thanks dad for all the patience when I thought I was right, the patience to let me learn to drive the bug, tractor, van, thanks for letting me know of my faults when there was no one else around, thanks for blessing me of my sins, thanks for teaching me that to fail is good, thanks for teaching me work ethic, thanks for teaching me how to grow a garden, thanks for sharing some of your patience, thanks for being my dad, I love you. wally

Anonymous said...

When I was in my teens, I remember one warm summer Sunday Runneberg had services and Pete was there, probably to preach. He was standing in front of the church and visiting with an elder. I overheard him ask “How are your knees?” I thought that was such a peculiar and funny question! So, a little while later I asked Pete, “How are your knees?” I felt so embarrassed when he responded “Great!”, and pulled up a pant leg to reveal that his long johns were still on and proceeded to explain why. I told him he could cover up his knees and it wasn’t important that I needed to know. The fact is I now see nothing wrong about asking someone about their knees!!Janet (Johnson) Mattson

Anonymous said...

I was in confirmation class in the old Hancock church, in 1982, I guess. My grandpa Otto and Pete were teaching. I was a very, very quiet boy and hardly said a word when riding down from the north end with Grandpa every morning. One day Pete asked a question, and when no one answered, he for some reason picked me to answer! The question was something like: "Is Communion an OK place for an unbeliever to receive a blessing.?" I wasn't sure where he was coming from, and answered, "No." Just to err on the side of caution. So Pete had to tell our class that the answer is actually "Yes", and gave a brief explanation. I felt pretty bad for giving the wrong answer. Years later, I related this memory to Peter and he said something like he was probably trying to just keep people on their toes and paying attention.
Pete also once said to my Mom, "Is Tim your boy who never talks?"
Also, in 1972 or so, Pete drove a Jeep, and one day when I was a preschooler, I saw Pete turn around at the end of our driveway which was a dead-end. I went in the house and told Mom: "Mom, I saw God outside." (When the ministers talked at bible class, I assumed that one was God, and the other guy, Jesus.)
-Tim Eskola

Anonymous said...

I was leafing thru' my family history book, with lots of memories. I found this one school essay written by Carrie and Deck's daughter Christi in 1998...don't know how old she would have been.

Nobody can really say what makes a person such a great person. Maybe it's their never-ending smile, their jokes, their words of wisdom. It could be anything. But my Papa, Peter Torola, has always, in my mind been a great person. Again, nobody can say how somebody is developed into a good person. Maybe it was Papa's dad that taught him many wise things from his ninety-five years of life. Or maybe Papa just learned everything himself! Whatever the trick, he's got a great sense of humor, and always a smile to give out to a grandchild crying over a scraped knee.
"you don't know EVERYTHING, Dee Dee!" Papa exclaims to me. I smile and turn around, giving him a big bear hug. He asks how I've been altho I just saw him four days ago. His brown eyes twinkle underneath the crooked brim of his tattered gray derby hat. His hat is always on, hiding his mop of brown hair.
My cousins and I are all laughing at him as he tells one of his stories. I never know when to believe him because half the things he says aren't true. At the camp, he tells a bedtime story around the fire every night. Sometimes it's a funny one, and sometimes scary.
Today is Saturday and my cousin Andrea and I are going golfing with Papa. We're about to leave, when he realizes he forgot his red suspenders. The best part of golfing with Papa is that he always lets you drive the cart. It's a long course, so we're falling asleep on the 9th hole. papa tries to keep us awake by making us join him in singing "smokey the bear"....that is the grandkids "theme"" song that grandma taught all of us!
"Ow!" I yell as a plastic ball hits me in the head. We're at McDonald's. All ten of us. After eating Happy Meals complete with Barbie toys in them, we all ran to the play room to have "Tee" contests. Papa throws a golfing tee in the ball pit, and we all jump in at once to fine it. Darn, Tina found it. Now she gets to ride in the front on the way home. After playing the game two more times to see who else gets the front, we leave with me in the back seat.
Late in August, and we're at camp again. Papa thinks up something for us to do. He tells us he knows of a magic trail in the woods. After a short walk, we reach a trail with a huge tree stump at the beginning. Papa tells us to leave something on the stump and when we get back, it"ll be gone. He says the "Magic Fairys" will move them for us. So that's why we called it the Magic Trail...which we went on time and again. He says the magic fairies will take what we put on the stump. Of course, we all believe him and eagerly collect mushrooms and leaves to leave on the stump. He always left a dime. Then we all run down the trail. In about 5 minutes, Papa tells us he forgot his coffee cup by the road. so he makes us wait while he goes back to get it.
After hiking about 10 minutes, Papa says we can return to the stump now. To our surprise, all the things on the stump were gone!! Nobody knew what to think, so we believed Papa that there were fairies! From then on, we went to the Magic Trail once a week, and it never really clicked in my head that maybe Papa was doing all the removing. He always forgot his coffee cup by the road, and we never thought anything of it. That was probably one of the funnest times I had at camp with Papa, my siblings, cousins, and grandma.

Anonymous said...

Christi's essay, continued...

Well, I'm older now and times are changing. I miss the younger days, but I try not to too much, because I know I can't relive them again. I'm always glad when my little brothers go somewhere with Papa, because I know that they're developing some "memory days". And I'm glad Papa's wisdom isn't being wasted on nobody, but rather, is being used on more young kids willing to believe every story, tall tale, and laugh from him!

Anonymous said...

Once when Peter was our way I showed him one of my creations. His only comment was, "It's beginning to look like I'll be be able to go through my life without putting up with any of this kind of B.S.!"

God's Peace,
Chester Ylitalo

Anonymous said...

ellen remembers:
One day a while back, we had a few kids in the van with us, went to houghton, and on the way back, Peter noticed that the little red plane dubbed the "cigar butt" flew over the highway by the airport. It always turned around and headed over the road again. So he told the kids, "watch, Papa can make an airplane fly over us!" so he proceeded to say abra cadabra and a bunch of mumbo jumbo and flicked his fingers in the air....and LO AND BEHOLD, a little red airplane flew over us! The kids just sat in awe! Papa was magic! How did he do such a thing! Wowza!
A couple weeks later we were again coming home from Houghton, and one of the kids piped up, "Papa, make an airplane come over us again!" But of course, it wasn't gonna happen....so Pete naturally fudged his way thru that one, gave some silly excuse why it wasn't the "right moment"......and of course, they were satisfied with his answer.

Anonymous said...

Ellen wrote: pete and i were talking to brian bekkala in may, and he (brian) was remembering the confirmation days. Brian and some boys (can you guess who was the instigator?) lifted pete's volkswagon onto the 2 foot high lawn. so pete came out of church, and saw his car perched up there....tried not to smile...and then the boys lifted it down. I don't know who was responsible for putting same volkswagon in the vestibule of the church. Ha!

and why doesn't someone write about the water guns? Pete told us about that, too.

Juliana said...

We were a few days into Confermation classes in Houghton. One afternoon a boy, whom no one recognized, walked in. Pete so calmly asked his name, and said "Have a seat Dennis" (or whatever his name was) and continued on with the lesson. After a few minutes the boy spoke up that "This isn't the drug-rehab program is it?" So he asked for directions. But it was such a nice example for us, how anyone, during any kind of struggles, could come into Faith!
God's peace, Juliana

Anonymous said...

in 1999, tina and greta hyrkas made a song to the tune of the 12 days of christmas for our party:
They began by reading: Once upo a time there were 4 little brats: Andrea, Tina Greta and Evelyn, and they all grew up big, so big that they couldn't fit in Papa and Gram's laps anymore. They wished so hard that they could be little again, but the wish didn't come true. So they decided to sing a song anyway to reminisce so that the good times may never be forgotten.

Remember the tune: Papa & Gram gave to us when we were little a gumball when we ate all gone.

2 special juices'
3 bowls of pudua
4 rides past spooky houses
5 trips to "Mac And Don's" supper club
6 candies for church
7 bedtime stories
good times at super 8
9 Turner's donuts
10 birthday spankings
11 birthday spankings
12 precious memories

Then in 2008 they made another one, also to the tune of the 12 days of Christmas::

Papa and Gram gave to us when we were small
A werther's when we ate all gone
2 painting lessons
3 times in the magic tunnel (in case you're wondering, it was the car wash)
4 pizza parties
5 pictures on the homeless page
6 candies at church
7 new comics
8 sleepovers
9 times of swimming
10 gingerbread houses
11 ice cream cones
12 trips to BK (burger king, of course)

Ellen was looking over her "family history book" and found these pages.

Anonymous said...

Ellen: I just had lunch with ruth pietila and we were remembering this:
we stayed at their house when the kids were much younger, because we were godparents for katrina kangas, as well as for services.
Art said, "boy, your beard and mustache look just terrible! You should shave it off!" (I always told Pete he looked like Ayatola Komeini with that scraggly beard.)
Pete said, "Go ahead!" And Art DID....shaved the whole works off!

Anonymous said...

Six years ago or so, when Travis was in 6th grade, Pete came and stayed with us in Menahga for Fall Services. We were sitting at the supper table when Trav all of a sudden says, "Hey, I gotta interview a Veteran for Veteran's Day, it's due tomorrow!". I looked at Pete and said, "You were a Vet weren't you?", knowing full well he wasn't. He said "Oh Yeah", and commenced to telling Trav all about his experience in WW 2 as a soldier named Dewey Harrington , which Trav wrote down and even drew a cartoon drawing of "Dewey", Pete coached him through the whole process. It was a contest that the Vets of Menahga do every year for Veteran's Day. Travis didn't win the contest, we knew they'd be on to us. Shucks anyway! But he sure had fun sitting there fabricating this fictional soldier with his Uncle Pete for the interview. It's a fun memory of Pete. He was so good at telling stories to the kids.
Love and God's Peace, Betsy

Click here to see picture.

Anonymous said...

Before Edney and Betsy Kangas moved to the copper country, Ellen and Pete stayed a couple times with them when Pete had services in Menahga. They had a chicken who thought it was a people, name of "Marcie". It would be at the back door each morning clucking to say hello, and leaving a few deposits on the door step. Pete was taking a nap and when it was time to get up, Ellen and Travis went upstairs to wake him, Travis carrying Marcie in his arms...she liked to be held. So they woke Pete up with the chicken. He sure got a chuckle out of that.
Another time they visited, Betsy told Ellen that Marcie is so restless, we don't know what's the matter with her....Ellen said maybe she needs a nesting box, altho it was a wild guess. So Edney got a cardboard box and put straw in it. Lo and behold, Marcie jumped in and eventually laid a couple eggs! Up to this time, Marcie laid light blue eggs in the doghouse, not the chicken coop with all the "lower class". Edney and Betsy came up for St. John's services a couple months later, and told Ellen and Pete that Marcie's chickens hatched, and they named them ELLEN AND PETE! They even brought a picture of Ellen, didn't get one of Peter, because he "disappeared"....???

Andrea said...

I don't know how accurate this story is, but this is the way I remember hearing it...
Papa was in the hospital and needed to give a urine sample. The nurse brought in a sterile cup. When she returned to get the sample for the lab, she was appalled to find Papa drinking the yellow liquid out of the cup. He had poured his apple juice in it! Yummy!

Anonymous said...

Dear Gram...Papa's death was very hard on me and it is hard to believe that he is gone forever. He will be in my heart, thoughts, and memories. He was many things to many people, including you and I, he was a husband, a friend, minister, father, finlander, brother, christian, a good person, and the most important to me....he was my grandfather and I loved him so much with all my heart.
Elliot Marvin Torola
(this is a very loving portion of a letter from Doug's son)

Anonymous said...

Ellen: Reading memories brought a ton of stuff...this one takes the cake:

When the kids were all young, maybe 2 to 10 or there a bouts, we had a dilly of a snow storm one saturday. the house was a terrible mess, toys all over the place, snowcat suits and boots and mitts all over the floor by the back door, laundry on the dining room table. Pretty relaxing day, so Pete went upstairs to take a nap. All of a sudden, Leah looked out the window, and hollered, "mama, here comes a bride!" I looked out the window, and sure enough, a bridal party was getting out of their car......I yelled to Pete, "Did you forget there's a wedding here today? Get up! They're on their way into the house!" So I could hear a thump as he jumped off the bed, and was rummaging around, putting his suit on...I yelled to the kids, throw all the boots and snowcat suits down the basement, throw all the toys in the den, and I threw the laundry into the den as well! When there was a knock on the door, the house was "clean", and Pete was coming down the stairs, straightening his tie, so nonchalantly! So the wedding went on in our "clean" house. After they left, we had a horrible cleaning session, retrieving everything that we threw hither and yon!
One more time Pete forgot to tell me, but remembered 20 minutes ahead, so that was a piece of cake.

Then there was the time, when we moved from Minneapolis, as Pete was the minister in the Copper Country. One of the kids asked at lunch one day, "Dad, ain't you NEVER going to work?"

One day the phone rang. Doug, who was probably 5 or 6 answered. The person asked for Reverend Torola. Doug took the phone off his ear, and looked at it like it was crazy, and asked it, "Revren Torla, WHOZZAT?" I grabbed the phone from him, and it was the Calumet Hospital calling. Red Face, alamode.
I had to explain what kind of job Pete had, and what a reverend was.

Anonymous said...

When we were young, us boys would be rough housing upstairs instead of going to bed like we were suposed to. We could hear mom say "Peter, go up there and make those boys settle down and go to bed". Shortly dad showed up in the doorway and in his sternest voice he would yell "BOYS, settle down and get to bed, right now". To try not to smirk, he would hold the "W" on his lips and never look us in the eye because he knew he would never be able to keep a straight (smirk) face. Then he would mumble on his way out "go to bed". We did settle down but only after a chuckle. Even when he caught us smoking he would only say to us that we should chew instead because we can't burn down the barn with snuff.
I only beat him at golf one time. We started golfing at the same time and he taught me tons about golf. The biggest reason he beat me was his psychology. He would tell me, "don't even think about that water hole up there, just hit the ball, or don't think about the bunker or dog leg or trees or whatever". I could drive the ball 75 yards further than him anyday but with his psych game, he would always find a way to beat me. The time I finally beat him was when we played with an older couple who were by the book on ettiquete. I stayed right by the old couple and he didn't have a chance to psyche me out and I beat him by one stroke. He was a great golf partner.
Dave

Anonymous said...

When we were kids we went out west for a vacation. While in AZ, we went to a place called the Old West or something like that where they put on old fashioned gun fights and such. Some of us went on a stage coach ride. Near the end of the ride, out jumps an old fashion bandit complete with a bandana over his face and using his fingers as guns to "hold up" the stage coach. It was dad being silly. after we got off the stage coach, someone alerted us that the bandit had a big booger stuck on his face cuz he used his hankie to cover his face.

Ellen said...

Here are some memories in some of the cards received. I will not put the names with the messages. We appreciate people's thoughts and memories.

This one message, with the only name is from Judy and Jogi Kilpela:
I'll never forget when Pete took Matt and Mike Lasanen along with his Hyrkas grandsons to McDonald's. When Matt came home, he said "God took me to McDonald's!"

Ellen said...

1.
Our hearts are mourning with you. Recently I talked to Pete about sadness with death. He told me that we feel joy and pain at a loved one's passing because "It hurts so much to love." He loved all of you.

Ellen said...

2. During this time of your great sorrow, we wish it could help for you to know that many share your grief, and also share the hope for the happy days in heaven. Over the past many years, you and Peter have been a big part of our lives and shared many precious times. Now we pray that some of what God has revealed through Peter will continue to remain in our minds, and altho now the way seems scary, we know that Jesus will carry us home.

Ellen said...

3.Pete was a friend & mentor to so many of us who grew up enjoying him. He will be greatly missed. I recall the many cups of coffee at our home and around town where he always had a positive word of encouragement.

Ellen said...

4.I'd like to share a couple of memories I have from Peter's sermons that really touched me.

I remember him speaking one time about how this walk in the kingdom of God so differs from a race at a track field. His thoughts were something like this. When you're in a race on a track, you are out there to beat everyone else, not worrying about anybody else falling far behind, or even coming up with a small injury to prevent them from finishing. But here in the kingdom of God, when a fellow traveler falls behind or is troubled by sin and even leaves the kingdom, we as christians, stop and encourage that child to walk beside us and believe their sins forgiven, so that together we may get to heaven. What a beautiful grace message.
The other words I remember him saying is how he lamented how hard it is to speak to your own unbelieving children, to return to living faith. So dear children, keep the faith, and if you have lost it, today is a day of grace. Repent and believe your sins forgiven in Jesus name and precious blood.
May God continue to bless you and keep you in His tender loving care.

Ellen said...

5. I will never forget graduation...Pete was driving the van which was filled with christian friends headed to LacLaBelle. The whole way I was mesmorized by his stories of christian love and forgiveness. I can still see his smile and I felt so at ease and I felt "yes, I am home now", no more searching. I will miss him dearly for even if I wasn't talking with him when he entered a room, he would bring me back to that wonderful time.

Ellen said...

6. My memories of Pete are many...when i hear his voice in sermons, it reminds me of my childhood, growing up in Calumet church and confirmatiion. I have many special memories of times at LacLaBelle with Leah and your family. Leah and I would also go with Pete to Wakefield and L'anse church, playing "church" in the van.

Ellen said...

Pete used to sub in school for a couple years. One time he subbed at the kindergarten class in the Mohawk school. We had 3 grandkids in the class at that time, who, naturally called him "Papa". So by the end of the afternoon, the whole class was calling him "papa"...he sure got a kick out of that! He came home smiling!

Anonymous said...

Another memory from a card received:
"When I heard that Pete had died, I could only thank God that you both had come at Easter time, so I could ask Pete to visit Uncle Herman Heltunen in L'Anse. Now both of them are healthy & happy, having gained that eternal life. Still makes me close to tears to think of it. Do you remember being at the big services in Finland in 1972, and you were sitting off on the side of the area sketching? We were talking, and could hear the people singing and many rejoicing. You mentioned how you'd wanted to hear those "summer birds" praising God, that you'd always thought that's how they must sound. Now Peter is among those, and what joy to a weary heart! God will be with you and give you strength!"

Anonymous said...

I've been printing out these memories and bringing them to my 91year old mother who is in a nursing home. She said she loves reading them and that she reads them over and over again. I hope there will be many more memories posted so I can print them out for her. Keep 'em coming!

Ellen said...

I was visiting with Janet Pietila Tolkkinen today, July 22...she remembered when we stayed at her house and as we all came home from church, gathered in the living room. She said Pete remarked, "I thought Ellen turned catholic tonight." Art said, "why?" Pete said "As I sat down up front when we were still singing the first song, I saw her looking like she was making the sign of the cross, when all of a sudden it hit me...she was motioning for me to take my tie out of my pocket and put it on!"

Ellen said...

ellen will put a few more memories from cards the family has recieved:

This is part of a letter:

We here in Sweden and Finland miss Peter very much, it feels that there is so huge empty place after him. For me it was such a support in editing the Finnish paper to know that I can always ask advice from him. And for all christians in Finland an Sweden he was a dear friend and preacher. He, as all christians there, was so close even tho we live other sides of the sea. He came here so many times and we were hoping that he could come again, even tho we knew about his health problems. But it was God's good will to take him Hoe now and we can be happy about that. Peter doesn't need to believe anymore. He can see his Father and Savior face to fact. There are no more trials and pain in Heaven, only joy. May God keep all of us i faith, so we'll also one day move to Heaven and meet there all the Saints who went there before us.
with lovee and God's Peace, Anne-Maaria & Juha Saransalmi & family

Ellen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ellen said...

Memories from Finland:
Peter had gone to book store inquiring from an older shop assistant in English if there would be a book there he was looking for. Because the older shop assistant did not speak any English, she got some younger English speaking one to whom Peter did the same inquiry in Finnish: "Well, I only would like to have asked if you had that book..."

Another time Peter had gone to cafe´in Ylivieska and had started to chat with some man. The man listened to Peter's talk and after a while had asked where Peter came from. Peter had answered he was from Haapajärvi (where Walter was from) and continued chatting. The man had asked many times where Peter's home was and Peter always had answered "Haapajärvi" until finally had let the man out of a fix and told he is American-Finnish and his origins are in Haapajärvi.

love & God's Peace, Anne-Maaria

Ellen said...

Another excerpt for the children and grandchildren:
Your dad/papa was an exceptional person in that he openly showed his love by spending his days bringing joy to your lives. We could see you were the light of his life. He left a legacy of many things but showed us all, what a dad/grandpa could be.

Gram: I'm thinking of you as we all are, as we try to come to terms with losing Papa. But we'll only not see him for a little while until we meet him in Heaven. I'm sure he's up there, happy and waiting for us. So I think we should be happy for him. I'm sorry for the loss and I am thinking of you, and I love you very much, Papa, too. Love and God's peace, your grandaughter

A grandson wrote, I miss papa, but he is a piece of my heart. I'm thinking of you and Papa, yet, I have great memories of what we've done together. I really love you.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

A funny story about vaari who of course was dad's dad. We were kids at lac la belle for the summer and old enough to know what beer was. We were playing in the yard and along comes vaari, putt putting into the yard in his trusty pinto. He hops out and on his head was one of those knitted, full brimmed hats with a bunch of budwieser cans sewn into it. We just smiled and greeted vaari likeusual and he ambled on his way. I told my dad about it and he waited a while so we could enjoy his mistake for a while. Dad finally mumbled something to vaari in finn and then vaari's eyes lit up and with a smile he said, in the classic vaari way, "EESAT SO?". Then we all got another chuckle when he turned it inside out and wore it the rest of the day.
Dave

Anonymous said...

this is something that Margie gave to papa from the boys a few yrs ago...we were giving lock boxes to 5 yr olds, he would make them and i would paint on them:

PAPA
A papa's nice to have around, and if you've any doubt
Just ask a boy who has one, What a papa's all about.
He'll tell you papa's very good at finding things to do,
That keep him out of mommy's hair, and make him happy, too.
Perhaps the brand new lock box he points to with such pride
The one that papa gave him the Christmas he was five.
But whatever he may tell you, it's pretty sure to bet,
His papa isn't someone he'll easily forget.
And there isn't any question, that the most important part,
Is knowing what a special place he holds within my heart.

Ellen said...

Since Dave put the story of Vaari wearing the beer hat, which i am sure he found on the road...i have a few more to add...I think Pete inherited a few traits of Vaari:

When we were "going steady", we used to fish a lot...yes, we did! We went on Rice Lake or Portage Lake. He took to wearing his mother's cast off hat. But that's ok, because I probably didn't look like a fashion plate myself.....I had my hair in pincurls (which the young ain't got a clue), plus my "huivi", or kerchief on my head.

Ellen said...

Once we were garage saling in Zion with Al and Rea (we were married already)..He had Al slam on the breaks at somebody's garbage can, and started rummaging in the can and came up with a tan ladie's hat, which he promptly put on his head and wore it for months. It was a pillbox style (like Jackie Kennedy), except it was real high...I think he pushed it way up. somehow it "mysteriously disappeared."

Often he would pull a U-ee or back up on the road because he spotted something "good"!
He didn't care how beat up it was, he would get it....often he would wear it, and sometimes they just collected. Sometimes, they "mysteriously disappeared."

He couldn't bear to throw anything away, even old socks, nylons, wrap around bands after a blood test, find an old shirt on the road and cut it up in strips, all for just in case he needed to hold up a plant in the garden. Some of those "mysteriously disappeared."

We have found many things on the road, one a new sleeping bag, a penney's bag full of brand new baby clothes (which somebody probably left on top of the car). We advertised on the radio, but didn't get any takers. Pete picked up wrenches, hammers, gloves, screwdrivers, swim trunks, a jacket, but the hats always topped the list.

About a year ago, I gave about ten hats to the grandkids, left five in the basket, and he never missed any, because there were always a few left.

Ellen said...

Once Pete had an old red wool shreded hunting jacket, which i had patched.....but it was in dump mode already, I thought. We had a gang over to sing hymns one night, and he brought the jacket out to show them that my wife refuses to patch this jacket, Isn't that terrible??? Everybody laughed so hard. Pete asked Hulda Kauppila to patch it and she said it's beyond repair. But Vaari took it home and patched it by weaving thick yarn back and forth. Of course, Pete was pumped.

Pete took to wearing my dad's old denim jacket after my dad died, and the jacket was already in bad shape. He loved it cuz it was old and raggedy. The family called him "Resu Pekka" when he was young, which means "raggedy Peter"...and he didn't change all that much. He always hated suits. (His last suit was probably the most expensive suit he had, it was five bucks from the goodwill store in Kenosha, but it was well made, and fully lined. He said this will last till I die, it's the last one I will buy.)
Well, back to the denim jacket. The jacket got so bad that I patched it in many places, so that there maybe was more new denim than the original. Finally after another year or two, it was REALLY awful, and I said it's in dump-mode again, and I didn't patch it anymore. So he hired Stanley Helminen (8 years old) to patch it for twenty bucks, and patch it he did, with denim patches sewn on with half inch stitches, by hand, so it was kind of precarious already. It lasted until this spring, and it was in shreds. I am sure he wore it to lunch with his wednesday pals more than once.

Ellen said...

Now his wallet. He got a goatskin wallet in about 1995 from Mortberg's in Sweden from their tannery. (Evelyn was with us on this trip) Goatskin is really soft and fine leather, and he prized it highly. Too highly, I'd say. It began to fall apart, first the clasp broke, so he used a rubber band. Then one of the pockets slit at the bottom, so he didn't use that compartment anymore. There were two left, and he had all his cards, bandaids, papers, etc. all jammed in it. It was dirty and black, but he WANTED TO HAVE THAT wallet!!!
So he had it till he passed away. As we went thru his drawer, we found another identical one.

And there's his bedroom slippers....same thing. I don't know how he could walk in them, they were so shredded. But he insisted that they were so warm and comfy. Holes and all the flaps hanging out. Carrie made us felted slippers for mothers and fathers day, and he finally relented and let us give them to lynn, in case she can use them on her santas.
I guess that's enuf for one night.

Betsy said...

Yep, the hat thing, the stash of stuff we can't part with, and grabbing finds off the road, all sound really familiar. We seem to have those traits going on at this house too. Hmmmm, wonder if it's in the blood? Speaking of finding treasures on side of the road, the Dad at this house (Edney) has even brought home critters he's found on the road. A baby raccoon, we named John, was the most exciting for these kids. Did Pete bring home any surprise pets for you's over the years? We know how much he loved animals! We've been enjoying all these Memories! Brings tears to our eyes, but makes us chuckle lots too. Love and God's Peace, Betsy

Anonymous said...

July 1981. Linda was pregnant for Katrina (our first). Pete & Ellen, Linda & I decided to take a boat ride from Lac la Belle out to Manitou Island. Nice sunny day when we started, but a thunderstorm rolled in kind of quickly while we were on our way back, so we docked at the old Smith's fisheries. Ellen, Linda & I ran to the nearest shelter, the outhouse. Pete ran underneath the carport near the house and started singing, "Storms never last, do they baby" at the top of his lungs. The owners were home, but never came out. I wonder if they chuckled as much as we did. -Paul Kangas

Gail Wickstrom said...

Much as been mentioned about Pete’s later life as a father, grandfather and a man devoted to his faith in God. Being a friend of Pete’s going back to 1944, I can relate to his athletic abilities both as a young kid and a teenager. Pete had as much natural ability as an athlete as anyone I’ve known at that young age, whether it was baseball, football or hockey, the latter two sports in particular. And it’s got to be remembered he was at least a year younger than most of his peers.
He had good sized mitts as I recall making it easy for him to catch a pass or toss a football, which he did effortlessly. His quick, spiral passes were always on target, though the faster ones were sometimes difficult to catch--- I managed OK when he tossed a floater.
As I’d mentioned in a post sometime back, our sandlot football team experienced good success. We lost only one game and that was to Swedetown when we played them up on the hill in Swedetown. We were no match for the Franttis and the Kargelas and some others I can’t recall, but we defeated all other comers including Rambyltown and Bill Jacka’s team near the Charles Briggs School whom we beat something like 48-0. Their coach was an older mean looking kid by the name of “Vervo”, or something like that. But the at-the-time-peg-toothed Ullen sure knew how to call the plays in the huddle leading to our victory.
I think Pete’s major talent resided in his abilities as a hockey player. He could “dangle” effortlessly with the puck and make monkeys out of the rest of us, stick-handling the puck with ease. He was very loose and well coordinated. A favorite trick of his was to hold the end of the stick with one hand, the other hand loose, and with good kick just above the heel, would send the puck sailing as well as any “wrister”. Someone else tried to do that and wound up taking a good prat-fall.
Our major nemesis at the time was Mohawk, but with our crew of Pete, myself, Gordy Frantti, Kirby Frantti, Bob Sturos, Jim and Arnie Peterson, Jim Makela, Fred Juopperi, and of course, the fearless Roy Mukka among a few others, we always gave them a good showing although we didn’t always win. I remember Charlie Kauppi from Gay playing a couple games with us, paired on defense with Mukka. What they lacked in talent they made up for in grit, smashing careless opponents into the boards if they weren’t playing heads up hockey. I remember the two best players on our team being Pete and Jim Peterson, with Bob Sturos not far behind.
Barring his post-teen illness, I believe Pete could have gone far in hockey had he chosen that as his pursuit.

Anonymous said...

since Gail Wickstrom's newest memory, I thought I'd type in a few more also. I know what Gail (Prune) means when he says that Pete was really quick, able,, etc. when it came to sports. I remember skiing at the Porkies one time, and he was told that there was a cross-country trail at the top of the hill. So we went to the top of one of the hardest runs, me with my downhill skis and he with his cross-country barn skis. (none of this modern stuff) The guy at the top asked him, "where are you going with those skis?" and he said "I was told that there is a x-country run up here. The man said, not that I know of. Everything that goes up must come down, they say, so he went ahead of me on the last run to the right at Porkies, going like the wind, barn skis clattering all the way down....my heart was in my mouth as I followed him, but HE NEVER FELL...not even when he couldn''t make the bottom right turn on the trail, but kept dodging trees in the woods....He finally made it back to the chalet...huffing and puffing, and his comment was, "boy was that crazy!"
He caught onto ski-skating easy, too...he skied to Hancock several times and I would pick him up. His ice skating itself was effortless, and he could turn circles, skate bkward, do anywhich angle, no problem.

Ellen said...

When we lived in Minneapolis (lived there for 9 years where pete was a mech. engnr), we lived in Plymouth at the end of Magnolia Lane. Pete first had honeybees, which he enjoyed thoroughly, and used to spend a lot of time sitting near his 5 hives, just watching. we harvested 900 lbs. of honey on the best summer. When we moved to the C.C., he hauled the hives up here in an enclosed U-haul. Pete set them up at Hoog's farm, which is now my son Carl's place...it didn't last long, because a bear got into the hives and broke them all up.
We also had two milking goats, names of Josephine and Marianne. They were so cute and docile and we all enjoyed them very much, and drank their milk. Goats milk is 6% butterfat, by the way.
One fall, Pete wanted to go hunting up north with his friends, so he hired Larry Torola to milk the goats while he was gone...for two days. It seemed to go ok. The following weekend, Pete went again, but Larry wasn't available, so I HAD TO DO THE MILKING!
By this time, only Marianne had milk. So there I was, going grudgingly down to the little milk shed...Marianne obediently hopped up onto the "milking shelf"...and immediately sat down, even tho I gave her goodies to eat and tried to talk sweet to the dumb thing. She just wouldn't budge, she just looked at me and I could swear she smiled. Her teats were hanging over the shelf, so I fixed her....I milked her while she sat down. I was so mad I was spitting tacks.

Ellen said...

At some time during the summer, I caught the goats in the front of the house....they escaped their fence somehow. They had eaten over half of my flowers, all the beautiful tuberous begonias, and lots of the impatience! Pete just came home as I discovered this and caught me screaming and beating my fists on the goats....Pete bust out laughing and hollered over my screaming, "don't hurt my goats!" UH! SPIT TACKS AGAIN!
When we moved to the CC, I drove 6 kids in our stationwagon, and Pete took 2 kids and 2 goats....He had a 1960 ford galaxy...he took the back seat out, lined it with plastic, and made a bed of hay for the goats. So he followed me all the way up....we stopped at a gas station, and in those days, an attendant would come out and pump your gas. The guy was almost done pumping the gas in, when one of the goats went "baaaa" from the back seat.
The guy's eyes bugged out, he did a double-take, he was so shocked to see two goats smiling at him from the back seat of a car! Too funny for words. He never had such a clean neck!
The goats were enjoyed at our house in Calumet. We had them in the field by us, fenced in. The neighborhood kids and also the headstart kids enjoyed them. Calumet Hospital got goats milk for one of their patients. Marianne went to "visit" in Hubbell, and she had a little baby, cute as can be and the kids called her Fluffy. The kids and Pete had all kinds of fun with her, and she even came into the house now and then. (for a VERY short while). We have a photo of Fluffy and Doug sitting on top of Pete's desk. Soon Fluffy started sailing over the fence. Pete would dock up the fence a little more, but it didn't make any difference, she would jump over and go visiting all over the neighborhood and the kids would have to go and get her..

Ellen said...

Pete had to go on a preaching trip for several weeks out east. I told him that he has to do something about Fluffy before he leaves, I can't take care of eight kids and Fluffy who goes wandering all over the neighorhood for several weeks. Pete decided that we had enough goats, so he put an ad in the paper. The first couple that came were kind of rough characters, and didn't seem to look at the goats as "cute" and "pets"....so Pete told them he'd let them know later because another party was coming to see them. The next couple that came were so entranced with them, and were petting them and calling them all kinds of lovey-dovey names....so Pete said they could have them. (can't remember if they were free or did they buy them.) This couple were dressed in old farm clothes, they were very hefty and so was their 10 year old boy. They boosted all three goats in the back seat of their car, with no protection even....and the last we saw of the goats, they were nuzzeling their new keepers in the neck as they took off.

nitorola said...

i remember whenever we went up to the casita to see Gram or Papa, we had to give Papa a kiss on the cheek or he wouldn't let us in the gate!:D So you'd kiss his cheek then he'd kiss yours and in you came!:D
~Nina Torola

Anonymous said...

I never knew Pete much personally, but I have memories of him visiting at our house (must've been fall services) with my dad--sharing polio stories. And as a teenager and beyond, I'd come up for St. John's, and it was always Pete in the pulpit Sunday morning, and we'd be out so late with the kyds, that we'd be falling asleep sitting right up in front of the pulpit. But I have heart-warming memories of both him and Ed Lampinen rejoicing--maybe there were others then, too--someone always rejoiced in Finnish. I don't know if we'll ever hear that anymore much from anyone. God's peace

Carolyn said...

I can't remember if it was when I lived at Ellen & Pete's, or one time when I was visiting ...... I asked Pete that "when you're speaking, do you find something at the back of the church to look at, or what do you do"? He answered that "I look for someone whose eyes are closed and I just watch their face. It doesn't take too long before the eyes open."

Anonymous said...

hi there --- there are so many - but that was in a diferent era. one that immediately comes too mind is one time when is was still living at home (late 40's) we went to richie granroths camp in bootjack for an all nighter. it was well into the morning hours when someone came up with the idea to see how long we could stay awake. the next morning there were a bunch of zombies barely walking around. we tried everything to stay awake because the prize for the winner was a pack of camels. we walked, talked,sang,went in the lake, did some things not mentionable,for the reward was great. pete won by about five minutes, at least thats what he told us when we woke up some 36 or 46 hours later. because he didn't have any witnesses to verify his feat he had to give us each a cigaret. big al

Tina Anderson said...

My Mother-in-law used to tell me how she brought Oreos to Liminga church every Sunday. One week she decided to bake, instead. So when Pete was going through the coffee line and didn't see Oreos he turned and asked someone "Who died?"

Gail (Prune) Wickstrom said...

Many of the younger set undoubtedly recall Pete as an avuncular man of a kindly nature and have many fond memories of him. I welcome this opportunity to relate experiences we shared together when Pete and I were young lads in high school.
I stated in a previous post that we both took the commercial course and had all the same classes together, from start to end.
“If I catch you running down the halls again I’ll box your ears off.” This came from Art Nobles who grabbed us both with his long hairy arms the very first day in high school. That same afternoon to our profound dismay we found it was Nobles who taught our course in ancient history. But after this inauspicious realization it turned out he was one of the best teachers we had. Mr. Nobles had a passion for history that he taught at a college level. Pete and I came to respect him a lot and our ears remained intact.
We were both professed “women haters” back then. And as I’d also mentioned earlier, our manner of dress was not conducive to winning a high school sweetheart (Pete might have had a few secret admirers, but if he did, he wasn’t letting me in on it). Needless to say, wearing the same flannel shirts and socks for up to two weeks running kept potential girl friends at bay. And even if we elected to renounce our disdain for the fairer sex and dress more conventionally, it would not have helped us too much in finding sweethearts. When we entered high school I measured in at 5 feet, three inches and weighed 103 pounds. Pete was not far behind at five two and 97 pounds. So there you are. “Lady Killers” we were not.
Marching in parades with the ROTC, of which we were both members, was not our forte. “Look at those scabnosers,” Pete remarked to me as we stood in front of the Coliseum jeering at the marchers on their way to Fifth Street. As punishment for skipping the parade, “Piggy” or Sgt. Hallstrom, made the half-dozen delinquents have a parade of their own several days later. Included were Pete and myself. Piggy took good notes.
We followed the exact same route that the real parade took, and when we were done marching, went to Coliseum or Armory for calisthenics, duck-walking, running from one end of the rink to the other, doing push-ups, etc. Piggy, who only stood at 5 feet four, jumped on Stewart Secor’s back and rode him for a full length of the rink. (Stewart was quite a bit taller and huskier than the rest of us at the time.) But all in all, it was more fun for us than punishment, and if I had to do it over, I would have again skipped the parade. I believe Pete would have done the same.

Anonymous said...

On our one big trip with the whole family, we went to Lana's in AZ, then on to California to visit Aili and Bruno Lehto and my brother Earl.
The kids had never stayed in a motel before...Walt was a senior at that time, seventeen, and then count seven more a year apart in age. We stopped at a motel in Iowa for the night. Kids had sleeping bags, so we jammed in one room, all ten of us.
In the morning, Pete and I "snuck" out for breakfast as all the kids were still sleeping. On the way back we stopped at the office. Pete asked the office people to call our room, and tell them that they have to be ready to leave in 15 minutes, as there was another party needing the room. The people in the office were kinda wondering about his request, but they did it. The lady asked to speak to the "oldest one" in the room, so Wally answered. The lady did as Pete requested. We went back to our room in five minutes....the kids were sitting on the steps of the room, bags packed, and sleeping bags nicely rolled up. They told us what the office said, real concerned, gotta go quick, somebody is coming to this room. We went inside to get our stuff...and what did we see? The beds were made, towels were hung neatly and all was looking like nobody ever slept there, let alone ten people!
So we went on our way. We traveled all night as we had 4 drivers and we took turns. The song that was popular then was "only sixteen" and we heard it over and over in the night.
The kids didn't find out about the motel business until we were again in Iowa on our way home. Did pete ever get the "razzies" from the kids....but all good natured!
We had gone to Mexico when we were in AZ, and the five boys had leather cowboy hats...david had a cast on his leg, as he had broken it skiing at the Porkies. We stopped in Iowa, like I said...at a Ramada Inn, and 16 and under were free at that time. I told the kids not to come into the lobby cuz I was afraid they wouldn't believe all but one were under 16. I just got thru signing and paying for our room, and the elevator door opened, and there was my gang....5 leather hatted boys, girls carrying bags of food, and each one had their sleeping bag, and Dave on crutches, and Pete!. The people behind the desk laughed when they saw that spectacle, thank goodness....I will never forget that!

Anonymous said...

Had the good fortune to visit with Pete at Easter and he related a story that goes something like this. Seems he was on a bus trip years back up in Canada and had the misfortune to have a drunk take the seat next to him. After many miles of putting up with this fellow, especially when he started using Pete's shoulder for a pillow, what to do?? The bus then stops at a town and the drunk wakes up and asks "where are we?" Pete tells him " I think this is your stop". The drunk staggers out ...problem solved!

Pete also accused me of heresy later that day....no it's not what you think! He comes up from the sauna and had an issue with the rope I have to pull to get steam instead of a bucket and dipper. Also got a lesson in proper etiquette for throwing water on the rocks from him.
I now have a bucket and dipper in there.
God's Peace,
Butch

Anonymous said...

Ellen:

Pete had a baptism at the Ron Rajala home in Chassell long ago. When we pulled into the yard, one of the young boys said, "Get ready, Ma, here comes the guys that does it!"

Anonymous said...

This story is by Paul Jackola of Zion, Ill....remembering the trip from Zion to Laurium, and a couple other things:

This is what I remember about our trip in Pete's model A. I think it was when we were in 10th grade, in 1953. There were 5 of us, Pete, Dave Hillstrom, Quentin Ruonavaara, Leonard Stang and Paul Jackola, (me). We left Hugo Daavettila's house late so we could get thru' Milwaukee with no traffic. That was when you had to drive on 27th street, thru' the city of Milwaukee. We planned to drive till we ran out of gas. we carried a two gallon can of gas, and two gallons of oil. To check oil, Pete would find a downhill and turn off the engine. One of us would get out on the running board on the right side, and when we were still moving, lift the hood and check the dipstick. If we needed oil, we went to the rear bumper where the oil can was tied to the bumper. We added oil, and retied the can to the back of the car. We'd climb back in the car, and away we went. At one point the police stopped us and asked us to move to the shoulder of the road and let traffic behind us get by. It rained and the roof leaked, so you had to nap with your head away from the rear corner. We ran out of gas north of Crivitz, Wisc. and added the two gallons we carried with us. We had to add gas another time at a tavern; in those days the owners pumped the gas, so we had to go into the tavern to get them to pump gas. I think Pete drove the whole trip, which took about 28 hours. On the outside of the car was painted, "Laurium or Bust", "No girls allowed" and few other goofy things. Even had curtins painted in the rear windows.

Anonymous said...

also by Paul Jackola of Zion:

I also remember going to the Ruonavaara camp in Gay area and having a highjump contest. We put two willow sticks in the ground to hold the cross bars to jump over. A few years later I saw that the two sticks that had been left in the ground were growing into trees.

Another day in that area, we chased a bear in our car down the road till it ran into the woods.

When it was time to get back to Zion, Peter, Len and me decided to hitchhike. We started with the 3 of us, but decided it wasn't easy to get a ride with so many. Pete decided to go ahead by himself and Len and I followed in a bit. Len and I got a ride to the south side of Iron Mountain where the road turns south. We got out of the car and heard Pete yell, "what took you so long?" I remember sleeping behind a billboard somewhere along the way, not sure where. At Iron Mt., Pete got a ride, and the driver saw us, too, and said for us to get in, too. I can't remember how long it took to get back to Zion. The route to the U.P. was highway 41 in Zion to 27th st. in Milwaukee, to highway 57 to GreenBay, and then highway 141 to the U.P.

Anonymous said...

another memory popped up as we visited at helminen's today.

When Papa (Pete ) and I were "going steady", i graduated from high school. I sat with one of the class clowns, and of course he had us laughing during the whole commencement ceremony. But when we stood to walk out, the band started playing "Pomp & Circumstance", and I began to get choked up and I feared I would start bawling. As we came down the aisle, I heard this horrendous "honking", like somebody REALLY blowing his nose...and I looked to where Pete was sitting, and there he was, hankie displayed and spread all over his face, and honking his nose as loud as he could, with that devilish look in his eyes! Of course, I couldn't cry anymore, I could hardly contain myself from laughing out loud. We had lots of happy, silly, goofy times, and I cherish them all.

When we were teenie boppers, Pete was known as the bachelor of all bachelors. He teased the new couples mercilessly. Then when we began to go steady, the boys really ripped into him. Our first time out was January 9th, so being winter, where did we go??? To the Jacobsville lighthouse, we walked to the end with a full moon....so romantic, you know?
That was a Sunday night, so after bible class on wednesday, just us teens were left (besides the janitor), and the boys were on their teasing rampage, saying, "boy, all you need is swampers, and a bran-sack scarf, and you get a girl", "you must have it "bad", and on and on. Pete wouldn't get riled up, he just stood there and agreed with them and smiled. I was a lil bit embarrased, but I hadda take it too, all in fun.
Those were the days!

Ellen

Anonymous said...

I recently heard a funny story of Pete's quick wit. It went something like this: Years ago, Ed Heinonen was showing slides of a trip he had taken to Alaksa, at the Liminga town hall. The same town hall also doubles as the Christian's chruch for that locality. As the story goes, the place was packed to the gills - people were standing against the walls, etc. (As I understand, Ed is well know for his photography skills, but perhaps more so for his uncanny ability to recall each shot with vivid details.) However, and to the point of the story, Ed, not wanting to waste the opportunity, gloated of his ability to fill the hall to capacity and even to the point of standing room only. Of course, jokingly implying that this wasn't the case with the church services held each month in the hall. Without so much as a hesitation, Pete retorted "try showing them for 10 months straight and let's see how it goes." This was classic "Pete". Always equal to the task.

Roger Kangas - Calumet

Anonymous said...

Pete told me a story of a time he was fishing. He was standing next to a stump in a beaver pond and he could see a speckies tail swishing back and forth down in the stump. He grabbed it by the tail and threw it on the bank of the river. The speckie turned out to be a beaver! It hissed at him then slid back into the river.

A couple days before his surgery, I ran into Pete at the calumet golf course. He was getting their golf cart ready for ellen. He came and watched me drive a few balls into the driving range, and vowed to teach me how to golf later that summer. The only piece of advice he gave me about my golf is that I am wrong handed. I never got to golf with papa, and have accepted that I am terrible at golf, and someday he will teach me how to golf in heaven.

gods peace, Glenn

Anonymous said...

I see Pete’s left-handed golf clubs are up for sale, not that I’m interested in buying them as I refuse to play the game. My concern is strictly of a technical nature.
Why do almost all golfers use a right-handed grip? And why in baseball and in hockey there are roughly as many left-handed batters and stick handlers as there are their right-handed counterparts? Plus I know that a good many baseball and hockey players take up golf with the natural left-handers adopting a right-handed grip on their clubs.
This makes absolutely no sense. Why not stick to the grip that comes naturally: left or right-handed all the way, regardless of the sport one plays. Do what Pete, a left-handed batter and stick-handler, did and your game should improve significantly, regardless of the layout of the course, whether it be counterclockwise or clockwise (from what I’ve seen, most courses are played counterclockwise; maybe that’s a bias for the righties that could easily be corrected by the lefties putting up a fuss).
On a personal note, one of the main reasons for my dufferhood when I attempted the sport years ago with Lloyd Randell was that the clubs I had to try were right-handed. There were no left-handed clubs available at the time. With a right-handed grip, I’d find it difficult to hit a bull’s butt with a shovel.

Gail (Prune) Wickstrom

Anonymous said...

Pete always made cream of wheat for at least the first half of the grandkids when they came over. The kids would look forward to it, and felt it was such a treat.

~Ellen

Anonymous said...

Ellen:

Peter used to go to L'Anse services once a month on Thursdays. One Thursday, he forgot, and Mr. Koski called him to ask him if he was coming....it was already 7PM. Pete said, "Oh, voi voi, I forgot! You all sing songs for a bit; I will leave right now~" However, one of the kids used the car, so he hopped on Carl's big motorcycle and high-tailed it to the services. He was 50 min. late, but the people sang while they waited and all turned out well.

Anonymous said...

Ellen:

One time, Peter had to go to a certain house to give an elderly lady communion. It was a farm. He got out of the car and immediately a dog came out of the barn and began chasing him, growling and snapping. Pete ran like mad and got into the porch and slammed the door. The dog continued growling behind the door. And continued and continued. Pete knocked on the door, but nobody was home. (the days when no one had cell phones) He was stuck in that hot porch for half an hour before the dog got tired of growling....the dog went ambling back to the barn. Pete opened the porch door and ran to the car, while the dog spotted him again and came running.....but Pete made it! You can be sure that a phone call was made after this, so that when he was going there, somebody would be home and the dog would be tied up.

Anonymous said...

Ellen:

Carrie and Deck's son, Greg, had leukemia when he was young, so that he didn't go to church till he was almost five years old, and healed. The first time he went, he kept craning his neck, looking and looking up at the pulpit and the ministers there. He turned in puzzlement and asked Carrie, "Mom, what's Papa doing up there?"

Anonymous said...

I remember one of the many times that papa brought us to Hardies very well. We got to go through the drivthru. Papa put in our order that we had written down on paper beforehand which we always did. The worker told him to holler if we needed anything else. Papa let him get well away from the window before reaching out and opening it. He yelled at the top of his lungs, "HEY, COULD WE GET ANOTHER SMALL FRY!". We all started laughing our heads off as the worker looked dumbly back at us and turned a deep red. Gram also couldn't believe it and said " o Peter" like she always did when papa did something embarrassing in public.

Anonymous said...

told by dave taivalkoski to ellen:
when I was in finland the summer pete died, i was with karl svahn, and he related a couple funny stories of pete.

we were going to church in houghton, but first we stopped at a restaurant to eat. when we were eating, pete kept repeating, "eat slowly, eat slowly"...so they did. then on the way to church, pete kept repeating, "drive slowly, drive slowly"...and he did. when they got to church Karl asked pete, why do you keep saying everything to be slow. Pete answere, "cuz now church started five minutes ago, and we can sit in the back bench!"

When Karl was with Pete in California, Reuben Anderson took them to a restaurant. There was a long line, so they had to leave their name at the desk. They were told it would be about an hour, but they decided to wait. They asked Pete, "what is the name?" Pete said, "Kennedy". About 15 minutes later, the waiter announced for the "Kennedy party" (special preference for the "K" name)...so they walked thru' the crowd of people, and the people were all gawking at them, thinking they were relatives of the Kennedy's!

Anonymous said...

Told by Ellen.
It was winter after a bad storm, and lots of the roads were almost plugged shut. I had to get to my gallery because I was teaching a class that night. He was going to go to bible class in fulton after he gave me a ride. We came down mine street, and we noticed that a truck had just pulled a car out of the road, which was almost plugged. I said, Pete, we can't go there, look, that car couldn't get through! But he said, This is a scout, just watch me! So he gave it the gun, and POOF! The car stopped dead into the snow, which was all the way up to the windows! The man in the truck was looking at us, shaking his head in disgust. I was so mad, I opened my window and crawled out because the doors wouldn't open. I walked to town and left Pete with the mad guy.

Anonymous said...

Told by Ellen:
We had a mission meeting at our house one winter night. The kids were outside snowmobiling and pulling a sled. Carrie came in with a "crooked thumb"...obviously (spelled wrong?) broken. Her thumb had caught under the sled. Pete kept saying, "let me fix it, I bet I can fix it!" while I got ready to take her to ER....Carrie wouldn't let him fix it. So i took her to Er, where Dr. David Gilbert, who was known for his sense of humor, took care of her. Yes it was broken. As he was fixing her up with a small cast, Carrie told him that "my dad wanted to fix it, but I wouldn't let him". To that, Dr. Gilbert, with a twinkle in his eye said, "Listen honey, tell your dad that the first bone he fixes, I get to preach the next sermon!"

Anonymous said...

(from Mikko)
In Canada this past weekend (9.29.2012) the folks up there were talking stories of different ministers coming to their area in years gone past.

This particular service time Peter was coming. Arlene Bunch (Donny's wife) drove to the Calgary airport (about 1.5 hrs from their home) to pick him up. She got to the airport and sat down on this bench and there was another man sitting on the other end of the bench. They both sat there and sat there. Both waiting for someone they've never seen before.

Finally another man came and sat down on the bench and the two men began visiting. She can't help but overhear their conversation and she thought................ ."Wait a minute, this man (who has been sitting here on same bench all this while) sounds exactly like Allan Torola (who has visited their home for services prior to this ). Could this be the man I've been waiting and waiting for and he's waiting and waiting for .......... me?!"

The two men visit for awhile and she says, "Excuse me, but are you Peter Torola?" He says, "Yes".

They both had a great laugh.

Ellen said...


The story I recall was....Peter was about to go plant a bunch of small trees. Someone came to tell him that Aaron Storm had just passed away and he in Aaron's memory planted these trees in the pattern of Aaron's initials A.S.

Regardless if story is correct or not, it's refreshing to know they had mutual respect for each other (aaron, vaari, otto, etc.) . They all seemed to know "their" role and complitmented each other very well.

God's Peace,

Mikko

Marv said...

When Pete gave me my last communion before I left for Vietnam, he told me he was giving me my last rights (I was in the Infantry, and mabe he thought I wasn't going to make it home)

Ellen said...


when i was little and like any little girl, I thought Dad was bigger than life itself.

What Makes a Dad
God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need.
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it... Dad
-Author Unknown

thought I'd share it because it describes him in my mind's eye....daughter leah

Andrea said...

I have seen pete take the faces of his grandchildren in his big warm hands so gently to talk to them. It always touched my heart to see that.

judy roepke

Admin said...

FROM ELLEN:
one fall pete went to laclabelle for an R & R. His boat was still in the water. It was a 20 foot aluminum and had a canvas cover over the whole thing to keep the elements out while docked. when he went onto the dock, he detected movement in the boat so he lifted a flap, and in the boat was a big black dog who was wagging his tail like mad to see a person. Pete figured that the dog somehow fell into or nosed his way into the boat and then couldn't get out. He also figured that the dog was mighty hungry so he gave him half of his sandwich, which the dog gulped down without chewing. He then noticed the dog collar, and read the tag which said his name was "Tennesee Ernie" and and phone number. The dog willingly came with Pete. Pete called the number and said will you take a collect call from "Tennesee Ernie"? The man said, "Boy, will i ever!"
The man was from downstate and was up in the Copper Country bear hunting. The dog never got back to the hunters, so the men had to leave without the dog, heartsick as the owner was. He was so happy that pete had his dog, he jumped in his car and made a short trip by driving really fast. Man & dog were reunited.

Admin said...

Many of our escapades involve Ullen, Peter and I. Ullen deserves credit, great credit, as much has been already said of Peter. Ullen was a source of inspiration for all of us, quarterbacking our very successful sandlot football team playing in the field behind Aalto’s garage and directing the construction of shacks. Once he and I built a shack with the framework on the outside, so we had nice smooth walls inside. Pete and I looked up to him.
I remember once the three of us were hitchhiking a ride home after swimming at Dreamland when Ullen found a fiver in front of the Dreamland Hotel. Yep that’s right, a five dollar bill. A lot of money in 1947.
Another time Ullen, me and Donny Robinson (my second cousin) were swimming at Dreamland when we got into it with Gordy Baril, who started throwing sand at us. He was with Willy Aho, a real tough kid. We ignored him the best we could, but when we started to hitchhike back, Gordy swung a big haymaker at Donny, which he ducked, and countered with a good right that landed flush on Gordy’s chin. Willy stayed out of it.
Gordy then came at me. I was a good wrestler back then and I got him in a bear hug and dumped him in the ditch along the roadside. He had enough of me too so he went for Ullen.
Inspired, Ullen got in at least six good licks before Gordy quit and started bawling. Gordy deep down inside was a good guy as I later discovered, but like the rest of us, he had to prove he was tough.
Ullen, do you remember that other time when you and I and Donny Robinson were dying of thirst at Rice Lake? We stopped at the Girl Scout Camp and a real homely girl from Hubbell brought us lukewarm water in a milk bottle that hadn’t even been rinsed. Unpasteurized milk at that, there was a ring of gunk in the neck of the bottle and the water was cloudy with ugly scads of cream turning sour. Yuck!

Gail Wickstrom
The Prune

Ellen said...

Several years ago, Pete had services in Virginia, MN. We stayed at Emil and Dorothy Johnson's. Their son, Phil, showed Pete a wooden do-dad thing, told Pete it was a deer call. Kind of looked like a horn about a foot long, and he was instructed to blow real hard on the mouth piece. (it was homemade) So Pete, with his suit on, ready for church, blew with all his might, and got a good puff of flour all over his face and suit!!! And he laughed! (Phil reminded me of this story when I saw him in Cokato in April, 2014. Told him to post it, but he didn't, so here it is.

Andrea Haverinen said...

My Benjamin started whistling at under a year. When he was three, he told his dad to drive faster...said he could whistle better when we were driving so he could build up 'momentumum' He loved big words. At that time, his favorite was the word 'gullible' He was always amazed at how many people could be so gullible-especially when they were with Papa. LOL

~Leah