Rauha Matilda Salli, age 90, passed away on November 23, 2021, at her home at Woodland Good Samaritan in Brainerd. The former Rauha Korpela was born at home on the family farm in Wakefield, MI on July 28, 1931, to Waino and Hilda Korpela. Born a feisty preemie, she spent her first days in the farmhouse kitchen, in a shoebox on the open oven door of the woodstove. She carried that feisty spirit throughout her life. Rauha graduated from Wakefield high school in 1950. After graduation, she worked as a secretary in Waukegan, IL at the Great Lakes Naval Base. In 1973 she earned an LPN degree from Gogebic Community College in Ironwood, MI and worked at local nursing homes and as a private nurse.
On April 12, 1952, she was married to Oiva Salli at First Lutheran Church (now All Saints) in Wakefield. Rauha was a member of All Saints for many years. She was proud of her Finnish heritage and had been a member of the National Finnish-American Festival. She devoted herself to cooking, sewing, and handwork, and after she and Oiva took over the family farm outside Wakefield, they enjoyed planting a huge garden every year.
Survivors include two sons, Robert of Eau Claire, WI and William (Laila) of Sun Prairie, WI; three daughters, Donna (Bruce Eastman) of Brainerd, Doreen (Chris Nelson) of St. Louis, MO, and Diane (Steve) Crang of Ann Arbor, MI; six grandchildren, Alisha, Alexander, Justin, Eliot, Michael, and Samantha; and great-granddaughter, Addison. Rauha is also survived by brothers Ernest (Janice) Korpela and Otto Korpela; sister-in-law Liola Korpela; and numerous nephews, nieces, and cousins, many of them in Finland.
Besides her parents, Rauha was preceded in death by her husband Oiva in 2012; brothers Carl and Waino “Bill” Korpela; sister Mildred Dahlbacka and brother-in-law Toivo Dahlbacka; sister Ingrid and brother-in-law Bill Allen; and sister-in-law Helen Korpela.
Cremation has taken place. There will be a gathering to celebrate Rauha’s life back home in Wakefield in the summer of 2022.
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