MARQUETTE - Aili Leah Harju, 89, formerly of 526 Lost Creek, was welcomed into Heaven on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, at the Eastwood Nursing Center in Negaunee where she had resided for the past four months.
"Leah" was born Sept. 23, 1923, in Atlantic Mine to John and Hannah (Bjornfoot) Harma.
Leah had a variety of enjoyable life experiences in her childhood and early adulthood, starting with dairy farm life, skiing to school, becoming a boarder to attend Hancock High School, venturing to the vibrant big city of Detroit, finding industrial work and living with a sister and friends, traveling to Mammoth Cave and other sites with friends and becoming an authentic "Rosie the Riveter" when her auto plant job began producing B-29 Bombers in WWII.
Leah married Ruben Harju of Copper City on Jan. 26, 1952, and they made their home in various U.P. and other Michigan towns before settling in southeast Michigan to raise their five children. With most of the children in school, Leah rejoined the workforce as an industrial sewing machine operator at a GM plant, becoming an original 20th century "Super Mom."
Leah and Ruben retired to Florida and raised their grandson, Matthew there. As a widow, Leah lived in Florida until moving to Marquette in 2010.
Leah is survived by a brother, John Albert Harma of Hancock; a half-sister, Maria (Norman) Durham of Michigan and Florida; three children: daughter, Joyce (Jerry) Tredeau of Marquette; sons, Keith Harju of Michigan and Thomas (Scherry) Harju of Florida; grandchildren, Matthew (Jessica) Selleck of Texas, Torin (Lana) Tredeau of Ishpeming, Alina (Nick) Ruppel of Washington, D.C., and high school senior, Jerad Tredeau of Marquette; two great-grandchildren, Thomas and Emma who brought Leah much joy in her later life; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents; siblings, Eva, Alice, Agnes, Elma and Ray; her spouse, Ruben; and two children, Kurt Harju and Cynthia Harju (Matthew's mother).
A memorial graveside service will be held in the Glen Eden Cemetery in Livonia this coming summer.
The Canale-Tonella Funeral Home is assisting the family where memories may be shared at canalefuneral.com.