ANN ARBOR - Roma Bernadine (nee Niemi) Siller, aged 78, of Ann Arbor, formerly of Arcadian Location and Jacobsville, died August 22, 2013, after a six month struggle with lung cancer.
Roma was born on November 28, 1934, in Hancock, to Kalle (Charles) Einar Niemi and Hilda Sophie (nee Kallio) Niemi. The youngest of their eight children, Roma attended Hancock Public Schools, graduating from Hancock High School in 1952.
Roma's mother died on May 31, 1941. She was fortunate to have three older sisters who each acted as caregivers and mentors for her while her father worked as a miner in the Quincy Copper Mine located in Hancock.
Her father married Jennie Maria Kangas Johnson on April 6, 1943, who also provided a loving home for Roma and her siblings.
After graduating from high school, Roma was admitted to George Washington University in Washington D.C., but was unable to attend due to financial hardship. Roma then moved to the Cleveland area, living with her oldest sister, Julie, and Julie's husband, David Knox. There, she worked as an office receptionist for an insurance agency.
For the 1953 academic year, Roma was awarded a full scholarship to the Garfield Memorial Hospital nursing program, at that time associated with George Washington University. She graduated from the nursing program in 1956.
On October 20, 1956, in Washington D.C., Roma married John Robert Siller of Houghton, whom she had met in the summer of 1950 in an ice cream parlor near Calumet. Roma joined John in Ann Arbor soon after their marriage.
After becoming licensed to practice nursing in Michigan, Roma worked as a nurse at the Mercywood Sanitarium in Ann Arbor after John and his brother Frank established Siller Construction Company/F.J. Siller & Company which specialized in the installation of pipelines and water/sewer utilities.
Beginning in 1961, Roma and John built several duplex rental buildings which they owned and managed until their declining health prevented them from doing so. Roma also worked as a head nurse at Planned Parenthood and as the bookkeeper for Stadium Hardware, Inc. Roma and John enjoyed a large circle of friends in the Houghton, Hancock and Jacobsville areas.
Due to her declining health, Roma relocated to the Hillside Terrace Retirement Residence in Ann Arbor in February 2013.
Roma was intensely proud of her Finnish heritage. Finnish was her first language, she did not begin speaking English until she attended kindergarten. She enjoyed reading, especially books about 19th and 20th century European history. She also enjoyed gardening and watching Pioneer High School hockey games. Of course, her favorite time of year was the annual summer Finn Fest held in Marquette.
She embodied and respected hard work and perseverance. As her health declined, Roma was very grateful for the tender and loving care provided by her children and their families.
Roma is survived by her husband of 56 years, John and their children; Karis (Michael) Kruzel, Kurt (Lynn) Siller and Konrad (Beth) Siller. She is also survived by her grandchildren; Kiersti and Caleb Kruzel, Diana and John Lamb, Matthew and Marie Siller, Benjamin, Katherine and Lauren Siller. Roma is also survived by her great-grandsons, Bennett and Clayton Siller. She is also survived by her sister, Bertha Stalker and Bertha's husband, Robert, of Painesville, Ohio. Furthermore, Roma is survived by several in-laws; Frank and Lily Siller of Ann Arbor, David Boesch of Calif., Helen Niemi of Arcadian Location, Robert King of MD. and Dottie Craddock of Minn.. Lastly, Roma is survived by numerous nieces and nephews.
Roma was pre-deceased by her parents; her step mother, Jennie Maria Kangas Johnson Niemi; her sisters, Julia (Julie) Helen Knox, Viola (Vi) Eleanore Dieter, Gertrude (Trudy) Irene Boesch and her brothers, Armond Carlo (Carl) Niemi, Calvin Harold (Harold) Niemi and John Ronald (Ronnie) Niemi. Roma was also pre-deceased by her brother-in-laws, David Knox, Charles Dieter and J. Campbell Craddock and her sister-in-law, Anna Scurek Niemi. Lastly, Roma was pre-deceased by her step brother, Howard Johnson; her step-sisters, Marie Johnson King and Pauline Johnson Bellavin as well as Pauline's husband, Ignatius Nicholas Bellavin.
A memorial service will be held at Zion Lutheran Church, 1501 W. Liberty St., Ann Arbor, Mich. 48103 at 11:00 A.M. on Tuesday, August 27, 2013, with visitation starting at 10:00 A.M..
Pursuant to Roma's wishes, cremation has taken place.