Leila Karen Aalto (Knuuti)


Leila Karen Aalto (Knuuti) was born May 19, 1937 in Keimi, Finland to Toivo and Aune Knuuti. She passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on October 18, 2021. 

Leila immigrated to America in 1950 on the Queen Mary with her family shortly after WWII. They settled in Keewenaw Bay, MI. It was a long, tough journey here but they all had that SISU to get them through. America was not kind to them when they arrived. There were many barriers and they all wanted to go back to Finland but eventually, they all found jobs. 

Leila started working as a waitress at Restaurant 101 in Houghton. Leila was fluent in Finnish and Swedish. She was a talented knitter. She loved cross country skiing, bowling, golfing, polka music, and dancing - attending every Finnish festival. She volunteered at various places throughout her life. One place she volunteered at was especially important to her, the Hanka Homestead. Leila was also an excellent baker. Please enjoy her famous recipe in remembrance of our loving, caring, SISU-filled mother: 

           Finnish Pannukakku

    -Beat 4 eggs

    -Add 1/3 cup sugar and beat

    -Add 2/3 cup flour w/ 1/4 tsp salt

    -Add 1/4 lb. melted butter

    -Add 2 cups milk and beat

    -Bake at 425 degrees in greased 

     9x12 pan for 25-35 minutes

Leila was preceded in death by her parents, brothers Wilho and Helge Knuuti, her late husband Walter Luukkonen, her second husband Aarvo Aalto, and her son-in-laws Derek Stewart, Farrell Kurlish, William Ormston Jr. and James Kubala.

She is survived by her brother Paul (Leila) Knuuti; sister-in-laws Helen and Gladys Knuuti; her five daughters, Karen Kubala, Cheryl Ormston, Shirley Baillie (Randy), Terri Luukkonen (Gerry), and Roxane (Nick) Simenson-Karl; grandchildren, Keith Kubala (Tracy), Bridget Kubala, Mike Kubala, Brett (Annie) Ormston, Carmen Ormston (Alec), Robert (Renee) Baillie, Candice (Jason) Vee, Alexandra (Matthew) Haskins, Maiya Stewart, Gunner Karl; and great-grandchildren, Wesley, Ava, Colburn, Obie, Claire, Crosby, Ben, Vivienne, Daniel, Otto. 

In lieu of plants and flowers, please make donations in remembrance to Hanka Homestead. 

         Hanka Homestead Museum 

         20351 Askel Road 

         Pelkie, MI 49958

A memorial service will be held at 5:00pm at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lake Nebagamon on Saturday, October 23rd. Private burial service to be held at a later date in Keewenaw Bay, MI.

Be kind to immigrants.