December 3, 2021
BRAINERD, Minn. - Rauha Matilda Salli, age 90, passed away on Nov. 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, Michigan, 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 wood stove. She carried that feisty spirit throughout her life.
Rauha attended Ramsay Elementary School and graduated from Wakefield High School in 1950. After graduation, she worked as a secretary in Waukegan, Illinois, at the Great Lakes Naval Base. In 1973, she earned an LPN degree from Gogebic Community College and worked at local nursing homes and as a private nurse.
On April 12, 1952, she was married to Oiva Salli, of Kimball, Wisconsin, at First Lutheran Church (now All Saints) in Wakefield. Rauha was a member of All Saints for many years and was part of the Mary Circle. She was proud of her Finnish heritage and had been a member of the National Finnish-American Festival in Kimball. 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, Wisconsin, and William (Laila) of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin; three daughters, Donna (Bruce Eastman) of Brainerd, Doreen (Chris Nelson) of St. Louis, and Diane (Steve) Crang of Ann Arbor, Michigan; six grandchildren, Alisha (Kevin), Alexander, Justin, Eliot, Michael (Morgan), and Samantha; and great-granddaughter, Addison. Rauha is also survived by brothers, Ernest (Janice) Korpela and Otto Korpela, all of Washburn, Wisconsin; sister-in-law, Liola Korpela of Ramsay; 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; brother and sister-in-law, Carl and Irene Korpela; brother, Waino "Bill" Korpela; sister and brother-in-law, Mildred and Toivo Dahlbacka; sister and brother-in-law, Ingrid and Bill Allen; and sister-in-law, Helen Korpela.
After she was widowed, Rauha spent a few more years on the farm and then moved to Brainerd to be close to daughter Donna and her husband Bruce.
Cremation has taken place.
There will be a gathering to celebrate Rauha's life back home in the U.P. in the summer of 2022.
Arrangements are with Brenny Funeral Chapel of Baxter, Minnesota.