Leroy W. Lahti


Leroy Wayne Lahti, 59 of Oulu WI passed on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, with his favorite girls, holding his hand. He was born in Superior on September 18, 1963, the son of Rodney and Mary Ann (Tyykila) Lahti and worked as a Laborer/Operator for Harbor City Masonry.

Leroy graduated from South Shore High School where he participated in band, basketball, and ran track at the state level and held school records. He started playing the accordion around age 5 and then took lessons and played with the Duluth Accordion Aires. On weekends, Leroy and his brothers played at many celebrations throughout the USA including weddings, anniversaries, reunions,  funerals, Finn fests, the Smithsonian Institute, as well as, in Finland and Romania playing as the Oulu Hotshots Band. They recorded four CDs and are also in the Smithsonian CD Collection.

Leroy attended UW-Superior majoring in Media and Communications, where he also ran cross country and received MVP all four years. In between school, work and music, Leroy enjoyed running area 5 and 10K races. In 1983, he ran the 5-mile race in the 1st Finn fest USA in Minneapolis and won first place! The fest goers, band members, family and friends were waiting for him to finish so he could play with the Oulu Hotshots after the race. Leroy did not miss a Packer or Badger game and followed women’s basketball for the Badgers and the Iowa Hawkeyes. He was a proud dad, taught himself the Finnish language and played several instruments.

In his mid-30s, Leroy’s sight was taken away from him due to diabetes. Many health challenges followed over the next 26+ years, but Leroy took them on, “Head on.” Leroy dealt with blindness, five organ transplants, triple bypass, both hips replaced, GVH, cancer and chronic pain.

Leroy had what the Finns call “Sisu” and he used it to get through his health challenges, he never gave up. He was a gentle, kind, and good-natured person and an inspiration to all. Leroy was a dedicated person in all he tried, did and accomplished, he always gave 110%. He did not let health problems limit his involvement. He kept in touch with friends and family, could tell you most any area sports score, what was happening locally in the news, update you on celebrity info, what is going on in the soaps and what was going on the scanner. He could answer many questions on Jeopardy and was once told that he was going to be their “phone-a-friend” if they got on the game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire. He kept the many doctors, nurses, and hospitals on their toes- they were amazed with his continued positive strength and character. Leroy was featured in just about every form of media, he was interviewed and played on the TV program Finland Calling and the Chmielewski Fun Time. He was featured in Whitetail Magazine for his blind hunt success. He made the newspaper with writings about his races won, health challenges, awards, and accomplishments. He won the Viola Turpeinen Award for accordion playing. Leroy played on Minnesota Public Radio on the Prairie Home Companion, and he has been written about in a few books. Leroy held records in his running and at the time of one of his health issues he was one of four people in the United States to have GVH.

“So, when Leroy gave himself, he gave it his all.”

Leroy is survived by the mother of his baby girl, Toni Nicoletti Lahti, his daughter Tiiara Lahti, his parents Mary Ann and Rodney Lahti, his brothers Archie (Kathy) Lahti, Glenn Lahti, and sister Lisa (Mark) Hokkanen. Friends and family members, Judy Johnson, Tammi (Don) Reijo, John (Mari) Nicoletti, Candi (Brett) McConnell. He also leaves behind many nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death by his sister Terry Ann Lahti.

Leroy, you will be missed by all you have touched. Näkemiin daddy, I love you.

Visitation will begin at 1:00 PM on Monday, May 29, 2023, at the Iron River Community Center, 8275 E. Mill Street, and will continue until the 3:00 PM Memorial Service with Pastor Scott Stai officiating. Burial will be in Hillcrest Cemetery at a later date.

The Lenroot-Maetzold Funeral Home, 1209 E. 5th Street in Superior, is assisting the family with arrangements. To leave a condolence or sign the guestbook, please visit

Modulist Image