SOUTH RANGE - Sally M. Ohman, 96, passed away on February 18, 2014, at the Houghton County Medical Care Facility, where she had resided for over a decade.
She was born in South Range on March 3, 1917, to Henry and Margaret (Timonen) Kilpela. After graduation from Painesdale High School in 1935, she moved to Detroit and worked in a factory during the war. She married John Albert Ohman of Baltic, on December 6, 1942, and prior to making their home in South Range, the couple lived in Tacoma, Wash., where Sally worked in a Sherwin Williams store while her husband was stationed at Fort Lewis with the US Army.
A life-long member of the South Range Apostolic Lutheran Church, Sally taught Sunday School for many years and also served as church treasurer. Her strong faith and Finnish "sisu" held her up during difficult times and personal losses. While raising her two children, Sally was active in the Home Extension Club, the Rangers Post 6165 Ladies Auxiliary, and the Jeffers High School Alumni Association. She served as a postal clerk in South Range for almost 25 years, ably and cheerfully serving the residents of her home town.
Having developed a love for color when she worked with paint, Sally enjoyed using bright colors in her home and wardrobe, and each year waited for spring to come so she could plant her brilliant petunias and marigolds. Sally was famous for her sweet-tooth; she loved baking, and always had "goodies" to offer visitors. Nurtured by her father's love of music, as a young child Sally learned to play the harmonica, which she always called her mouth organ. She loved playing her mouth organ while accompanying friends and relatives who gathered in her home to sing hymns.
Sally never learned to read music so she "played by ear". Music was always a joy to her, and her playing lifted her spirits and those of others, including residents and guests at the nursing home.
After Sally's dear husband's passing, Rhoda Reini, a close family friend, taught her how to drive at the age of 68. She loved the independence it gave her. Years later, after being confined to a wheel chair, she began writing her whimsical "stories" of growing up in South Range. Many of her stories were published and delighted both residents and former residents of the town who enjoyed the memories of small-town life.
She is survived by her daughter, Patricia Winthrop (Joel) of Moseley, Va.; her son, John H. Ohman of Ionia, Mich.; granddaughter, Jennifer Noonan (Ed) of Midlothian, Va.; and three great-grandchildren, Althea, Colin, and Cormac. She is also survived by her brother, Tauno Kilpela (Toini) of Atlantic Mine; sister-in-law, Agnes Metsa of PortagePoint; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Preceding her in death were her husband, John on March 3, 1985; sister, Sylvia Hiltunen; and infant sister, Dagmar; brothers Hugo, Eino, Wilho, and Wilfred, and infant brother, Paul; and grandson, William John Maki.
Sally loved her family dearly, was a loyal friend, and will be greatly missed. She will be remembered for her sense of humor, her infectious laugh, and her ability to speak her mind. She had much pride in her Finnish heritage. In Heaven she will be welcoming friends and loved ones with her familiar "Howdy, howdy, howdy!"
The family wishes to thank the staff of the Houghton County Medical Care Facility and Dr. Douglas McKenzie for their years of excellent, loving care.
A memorial service will be held in the spring in the South Range Apostolic Lutheran Church with Pastor Chuck Bylkas to officiate with burial to be in the Mountain View Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the South Range Apostolic Lutheran Church in the name of Sally M. Ohman.
Arrangements are being handled by the Mountain View Mortuary in South Range, Antila Funeral Service, Inc.
Online condolences may be expressed to the family at antilafuneral.com.