NISULA - Stanley L. "Mike"?Pirhonen, 77, of Nisula and Lakeland, Fla. passed away Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, at his home with his loving wife Beverly by his side.
He was born in Houghton, on Oct. 10, 1935, the son of the late Leonard and Saima (Wimpery) Pirhonen.
Stanley attended Laird Township Schools and graduated from Baraga High School in 1953. He earned his certificate as a Millwright through Bower Roller Bearing in Detroit. On Aug. 29, 1985 Stanley met the love of his life, Beverly Reynolds of Marysville, Mich., recently celebrating their 28th wedding anniversary.
Stanley was proud of being a veteran having served in the U.S. Army. After the service, Stanley was employed at Bower Roller Bearing until they closed. He was hired by General Motors Corp. in 1975, retiring July 1, 1998 with 23 years of service. Stanley was a member of the Cypress Lake Veterans Organization in Florida, the VFW, American Legion and the Moose in Zephyr Hills. He loved the game of baseball and was an accomplished pitcher who assisted his all-star team to wins in 1967, 1971, and 1973.
As a young man, Stanley went to Florida to try out as a pitcher for the New York Yankees, pitching alongside pitcher Whitey Ford. Upon retirement, Stanley and Beverly chose their home in Lakeland, Fla. for their winter home. Stanley's love for the Detroit Tigers and baseball enabled him to watch the Tigers practicing, being a Spring Season ticket holder, meeting the players, and people from the North, created special memories through out the years.
Summers were special for Stanley, as he returned to his beloved Nisula. He was most passionate for the outdoors on his back 40. The love of nature, sounds, and beauty surrounded him. Stanley loved to work in the woods, and would spend hours on his Iron Mule or running his tractor. He also enjoyed talking with the local loggers and truckers and on occasion he would find someone to speak "Finn" with. Stanley was very proud of his Finnish-American heritage.
Stanley's greatest joy in life, were his sons. He often reflected on their lives and would tell the story of when he was a pitcher, his son Kim was the catcher, "darn good one" as he couldn't let on how the ball stung. Stanley giving him a smirk when it hit the glove. He admired his son Marty for his dedication to coaching Jr. high football and when Stanley could be there rooting him and the team on to victory. Marty would keep Stanley on his toes on the pro football teams and players as they would bet on the teams to see who would win the game. Marty would come to Florida to watch spring training with his dad on school break to watch games, players, and how they would predict the season.
Mr. Pirhonen is survived by his wife, Beverly of Nisula; sons, Kim (Bonnie) Richter of Harrison Township, Marty (Nicole) Reynolds of Macomb Township.; grandchildren, Abbey Reynolds, Marty's twin sons: Owen and Conner Reynolds, Erika, Joshua, Tim (Rhonda) Richter, Jacqlyn Schneider, and Tracy Mezzone; great grandchildren, Mya Mezzone, and Natealine Richter; sisters-in-law, Debbie (Dennis) Marx, and Janet (David) Smith; mother-in-law, Stephaine Warsinske; nieces, Lindsay and Leslie Smith for the years of baseball growing up and visiting in Florida putting laughter in the air; special niece, Heather for the pictures and cards of things happening with her family in Maryland, Stacy Pirhonen, and Lisa Rossland; and his cousins.
Stanley had too many friends to list but they were special in his heart. He really treasured his special friendships with Bob Gilstrom, Bud Willette, Carolyn Smith, Wesley and Sadie Ann Kemppainen, Red and Lorriane Miller, Jim Hiltunen, and Bob Maki.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Elsie Loraine; and brother, Eugene "Genie."
Funeral services for Mr. Pirhonen will be held at 12 p.m. Saturday, June 1, 2013, in the Reid Funeral Service and Chapel in L'Anse with Pastor Bill Chapel officiating. Interment will take place in the Nisula Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the funeral chapel on Saturday from 11 a.m. until the time of the service. A luncheon will be held in the Harrington Gathering Room, located at the funeral chapel immediately following the funeral service.
Graveside military honors, under the direction of the Baraga American Legion Post No. 444 will be conducted in the Nisula Cemetery on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, the family suggests memorials in Stanley's honor to be directed to Grace Free Lutheran Church, Portage Home Health and Hospice, or Alston Baseball Field. Envelopes will be available at the funeral chapel.
Mr. Pirhonen's obituary may also be viewed and condolences sent to the family at rfsc.net.
The family has entrusted the arrangements with the Reid Funeral Service and Chapel in L'Anse.