The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Sylvia Marie (Palomaki) Aho


May 11, 2018

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Sylvia Marie (Palomaki) Aho, 97, passed away on Tuesday, May 8, 2018, in Willimantic. She was born on Jan. 30, 1921, to the late Mary (Sjoman) Palomaki and John Palomaki in Ramsay, Mich.

Her father was a hard rock miner from Finland and her mother was the daughter of Finnish immigrants. She grew up in a mining town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and received a degree in home economics from Michigan State University. She taught home economics at Middleville, Mich., and later obtained a master's degree in education from the University of Connecticut, where she worked as an instructor. Sylvia was co-author of a pioneering publication that gave practical advice for handicap-accessible kitchen design. She later worked for the state of Connecticut in social services.

While at Michigan State, she met and married William Aho who was also from the Upper Peninsula and of Finnish heritage.

Sylvia is survived by her husband, Bill; daughter, Janet Burns of Cambridge, Mass .; son, Paul Aho and his wife, Elena Sevilla, of Storrs; grandson, Jason Burns and his wife, Bronia Clifton, of Cambridge, Mass .; granddaughter, Susana Aho of Brooklyn, N.Y .; and great-granddaughter, Ripley Burns, currently residing in Quebec City, Quebec.

Along the way Sylvia was an avid reader, deacon at the Storrs Congregational Church and a member of Connecticut Planned Parenthood (a perk was meeting Paul Newman). She learned to land an airplane and enjoyed skiing and swimming well into her 80s. She travelled extensively around the world with her husband and with friends, but there was nothing quite like returning to Michigan for special events, such as A.D. Johnston High School reunions.

A memorial gathering will take place on June 2, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Parish House of the Storrs Congregational Church.

The family would like to thank the staff of Vanderman Place of Willimantic and the caretakers of Home Instead for their compassionate and respectful care.

For an online memorial guestbook, please visit


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