The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Elsa Irene Keranen (Lukkari) Robb


HANCOCK, Mich. — Elsa Irene Keranen (Lukkari) Robb, a long-time resident of the Houghton County Medical Care facility, ascended to glory on June 22, 2017.

She was born on Jan. 4, 1925, in Wainola to parents John and Anna Keranen. She grew up on the farm with her nine siblings and graduated from Mass High School in 1943. After graduation, Elsa worked in Detroit, inspecting airplane parts at a Packard factory and readying them for use in World War II.

She returned home, met, and married Hugo Lukkari and they settled in Rousseau, where they began to raise their three children. After Hugo’s untimely death in a mining accident in 1956, she married James Robb and they moved first to Sept Isle, Quebec, and later to Wabush, Labrador, and after seven years relocated to Aurora, Minn. They returned to Michigan upon their semi-retirement, first to their farm in Rousseau, then to Houghton and following Jim’s death, to Ontonagon.

Elsa’s life revolved around her family, her church, her music and her Finnish heritage. As a young girl she was often asked to sing solos and duets with her twin sister, Helmi, at church occasions and other gatherings. Raised in the Lutheran faith, she was a childhood member of Wainola Lutheran Church, and after returning to Michigan, an active member of Grace Lutheran in South Range and most recently Siloa Lutheran in Ontonagon. She sang with the choirs of churches wherever she lived in addition to actively participating in other parish activities. An accomplished seamstress, the banners that she made representing the “seasons” of the church calendar continue to grace the walls of Siloa’s sanctuary. Elsa also was skilled in handwork, furniture restoration, carpentry, and many other skills learned during her years on the farm.

Fluent in the Finnish language, Elsa sang with groups such as Summer Singers, performing at numerous statewide and national Finnish events. To promote and advance her Finnish heritage, she joined the Ladies of Kaleva, Ainon Tupa 13 of Mass City in 1971. She was an active member in both local and national Kaleva activities, and for over 10 years was an officer in the Grand Lodge of Kaleva, ascending to the position of Grand Matron in 1992.

She was preceded in death by husbands Hugo Lukkari and James Robb; her parents, John and Anna Keranen; twin sister, Helmi Myllymaki; and sisters, Erma Heltunen, Della Saaranen and Gertrude Lahikainen; and brothers, Arthur, Reino, Carl, Weikko and Eero.

She is survived by three children, Bradley Lukkari, of Arizona, Gary (Carol) Lukkari, of Ontonagon, and Dianne (Don) Bolander, of Ontonagon; grandchildren, Lori Lukkari, Michael Lukkari, Kristina Guindon, Eric Lukkari, Jeremy Aho, Corey Aho and Ryan Aho; great-grandchildren, Luke, Taylor, Seth, Collin, Connor, Owen, Sam, Lily, Isaac, Ella, Lily, Annika, Jaxen, Landon, Yvonne and Aleyah; and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.

Funeral services will be held at Siloa Lutheran Church on Friday, June 30, at 11 a.m. with burial to follow at Maple Grove Cemetery in Greenland, Rev. Jay Welshonse officiating. Friends may call one hour prior to the services.

The Cane Funeral Home in Ontonagon is assisting the family with arrangements.


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