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Peter Pinola of Cranberry Portage, Manitoba passed away Friday, February 9, 2024 at the Flin Flon General Hospital at the age of 84 years.
A Celebration of Life for Peter Pinola will be held Thursday, February 15, 2024 at 12:00 p.m. from the Chapel of Grant Funeral Home, 120 Highway 10A West, Flin Flon, Manitoba with Bob Hay officiating.
Please click on the above link to preregister to view the livestream ceremony and video. If you have any questions or would like assistance please call 1-877-895-2739.
If friends so desire memorial tributes may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, 235 Yorkland Blvd. Suite 1201, Toronto, Ontario, M2J 4Y8 or to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, 20 Eglinton Avenue W. 16th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, M4R 1K8.
With family by his side, Peter (Pekka Johannes) Pinola slipped peacefully away on Friday, February 9, 2024.
Peter was born on Monday, May 8, 1939, in Kärsämäki, Finland to Selma (o.s. Ojalehto) and Antti Pinola. He was the first surviving sibling and was followed by six more brothers and sisters. He came to Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay), Ontario, alone, when he was 17 years old. He started his life in Canada by becoming a “bushwhacker” around NW Ontario, but eventually heard about the good jobs available, working underground in the mines. He made his way up to the sparkling new city of Thompson, Manitoba and got hired on at the newly built mine as a diamond driller.
There was a bit of a Finnish community in Thompson, at the time, including a woman named Salme that caught his eye. She was already married, with 2 young kids, but the marriage was not a happy one, and when they parted ways, Peter made it known that he wanted to be with her. Peter and Salme married in 1965, and happily welcomed 4 daughters over the next 11 years. He was a devoted family man and was so proud of everything that his wife and kids accomplished. He delighted in watching his kids and grandkids grow up – listening to and teaching them and making them laugh.
The family moved quite a few times, around Manitoba and NW Ontario, usually following Peter’s work in the mines. Being a miner might have paid the bills, but Peter loved to say that he was a “Jack of All Trades” and never was that more clear than when he decided to build his own house in Kaministiquia, outside of Thunder Bay. He drew up the blueprints, and he and Salme did much of the work by themselves. When the family, again, followed Peter’s work and landed in Manitouwadge, he set to work building an addition and a sauna in the house they bought.
He built 10 saunas, over the years – both for his houses, and for other people. His saunas were well-built. He never asked for payment for his help. He enjoyed lending a hand to people, if he could. He didn’t mind heights, and when others were scared to work on the tops of buildings (whether at Highland Tower in Thompson or at Saalem Church in Thunder Bay), he’d gladly climb up to the top to get any job done. He didn’t mind getting into close spaces, or getting dirty, either. However, when the job was done, he would clean up until not a speck of dirt remained. He also hated litter, and in retirement could often be seen with a bag, picking up garbage along the side of the road or in empty lots.
Peter was forced to retire early when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was treated, and faithfully made sure to have his PSA levels tested. The cancer did go into remission, and he was able to enjoy most of his retirement, especially once Salme also retired.
He believed in the restorative power of a hot sauna, lots of fresh air and exercise, and good, healthful food. He always kept decent sized gardens with many rows of potatoes. Fishing was a passion, whether in the summer, or on the ice. He enjoyed getting the home-made smoker going and making smoked fish with his catches. In the summer, he’d get his old charcoal grill going, and make his famous burgers that even the pickiest person enjoyed. He delighted in eating delicacies like boiled fish eyes or his homemade caviar.
Peter was a man of quiet and steadfast faith. He was not the one to stand and testify or lead a prayer, but he studied his Bible, and tried to follow its’ teachings. He relished in letting his voice soar when there was a song he recognized, and he took great pleasure in listening to old hymns and choruses.
Peter only had a basic formal education, as post-war Finland was an impoverished place and everyone who could work had to do their part. After grade 5 ended, it was time to start making money for the family! He was sent to live with various uncles so he could work on digging canals, helping at farms, and doing anything else that a healthy young boy could do. By the time he got to Canada, he’d already been working for years. Just because he didn’t have much in the way of a formal education didn’t mean that he wasn’t smart. His kids will all tell you that he was the smartest man they knew. Even after a hard day of work, he’d always make time for reading, and there was always a book or newspaper beside his favourite chair. He read voraciously about all kinds of topics, and he delighted in having a full set of encyclopedia in the living room.
Peter loved to be remembered and would often be the jokester in the room to see if he could catch peoples’ attention. He was tickled whenever anyone would recognize him, especially if they recalled his name. He was also a “bird whisperer” and relished his little talks with the crows that would come to speak with him. The story goes that when he was a little boy in Finland, he made friends with a little crow and taught it to say his name.
Peter was predeceased by his parents, his brother Antti 3 months before Peter was born, his brother Arvo, and by his first-born, Satu-Maria.
Left to cherish his memory are his wife Salme (nee Ojala); daughters, Sonja Doiron (Mike), Sari-Emma Pinola, and Saara Murnick (Richard); step-kids - who he was just as proud of and loved like his own - Saija Parthenais (Leo), and Ari Lahdekorpi (Laura); grandkids Stefan, Davis, Ysabel, Alex, Jacob and Emma; siblings Anja Anttila (Aaro), Heikki (Maija-Liisa), Maija-Liisa Hakkola (Matti), Lea Pietila (Ari), and Rauha Appelberg (Bjorn), plus many nieces, nephews and extended family in Finland and Canada.
Thank you to the doctors, nurses and aides that looked after Peter in the Flin Flon ER over the past couple of weeks, and to Dr. Henein for his good care and concern over dad the past couple of years.
He was admitted to long-term care exactly 3 weeks before he moved on to his celestial home. Even though he had dementia, and it was no longer safe to live at home, he very much decided that the nursing home life wasn’t for him. He had always been so vital, and had lived such a full life, so he made it abundantly clear that he did not want interventions and he did not want months of pain, healing from a broken hip. His last words to Salme were “nähdään taivaassa” (see you in heaven). He was sure that his reward awaited him, and that his beloved Satu would be waiting to greet him on the other side.