Joann Carol Laitinen Hall, 76, of New York, N.Y., and St. Petersburg, Fla., died on Nov. 10, 2018, at Arden Courts Memory Care Center in Seminole, Fla. Joann graduated from Mackenzie High School in Detroit, attended Wayne University until one semester from graduation, then—on the strength of a great cultural experience in Norway during an American Field Service year—moved to New York City to be on staff at AFS. After 18 years there she then served as Executive Assistant to five national directors of the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. She was preceded in death by her parents, Finn Campers Uno and Elsie Laitinen, and her sister, Barbara. Survivors include her husband, David R. Hall of St. Petersburg, and her brother-in-law James Ahnemiller and his daughter Janice Finney and his sons Jason Ahnemiller, Craig Ahnemiller, and their families. Joann was an active member of her local United Methodist churches and volunteered all her life in activities involving international families. She was an avid knitter, gardener, book club member, traveler, and caregiver.
Joann loved Finn Camp and her “Pikku Tuppa” (tiny cabin) there. Her grandfather John Laitinen was a founder of the D.F.C.S.C.A. Contributions in her memory can be made to Finn Camp at www.finncamp.org. A memorial service will be held Saturday, January 26, 2019, at First United Methodist Church of St. Petersburg, Fla., at 11:00 a.m. Anyone considering attending, however tentatively, is encouraged to be in touch with David (see contact information below) by December 1, to help in securing rooms in nearby hotels. (Some financial assistance may be available to help defray your lodging cost.) You can reach David at firstname.lastname@example.org or text or call to 917 204-6494.
Esther Cobb (nee Santti) died age 98 peacefully at home on April 23, 2017. Daughter of Eli and Alma Santti, among the founding members of the Finn Camp, she spent her summers at Loon Lake in those early Finn Camp days of canvas tents for camps, outhouses and no electricity, with morning milk fetched by hiking up Hopkins hill. Beloved wife (and life-time golfing partner) of the late Wayne Cobb, son as well of founders, they raised their children with summers in the camps from the day school ended in June until it resumed after Labor Day. She is the cherished mother of Ken Cobb (Betty), Pat AlFaiz (Brahim) and the late Bev Aaltonen (Scott) and the incredibly supportive and loving grandmother of Amal, Michael, Rebecca, Leila and Miriam and proud great-grandmother of Parker and Riley Boyle, Djibril Curley, Cooper Cobb and Samir Al Faiz-Eaton. And last surviving sibling of brothers Onne, Karl and Arne Santti and sister Eleanor Mustonen. Our condolence to the family.
Many of us Finn Campers have known Edwin as a long-time member (since 1953) and for his work with the Tax committee (chairman since 1996) and Audit committee (member since 2000). But perhaps you don’t know the story about Edwin’s last name, which doesn’t sound very Finnish. Years ago, Edwin’s grandfather and great-uncle were in the tombstone-polishing business in Quincy, Massachusetts. Many of their Irish and Italian customers had a hard time pronouncing their Finnish last name, Hirvimäki. So they changed it to Elkhill, from the Finnish hirvi meaning “elk” and mäki (“hill”).
Edwin was born in Highland Park, Mich., on May 6, 1933, to John (“Toivo”) and Hanna Elkhill. His parents were Finn Camp founding members who built camp 118 in the 1940s. Edwin is said by others to have spoken fluent Finnish, though he didn’t make this claim for himself.
Edwin graduated from Northwest High School in 1952, following which he attended what was then Lawrence Institute of Technology, at Woodward and Puritan in Highland Park, before being drafted into the army in 1956 and serving in the Yukon Command at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska. After being discharged, he served in the reserves at Fort Wayne, Mich., and continued his studies at Acme School of Design Engineering in Highland Park. Edwin worked for many years in the automotive industry, for Stellar Engineering in Warren and James Tanuery Associates in Troy. These firms worked closely with Fisher Body, then General Motors in their body shops. Edwin’s functions included serving as senior checker, writing engineering summaries, performing cost studies, monitoring tooling operations and reviewing and writing specifications for body shop operations in the assembly plants.
Edwin served on the Wixom senior citizen commission as well as doing all he did at Finn Camp, where he was known as being an avid swimmer.
A memorial will be held at Finn Camp’s clubroom on January 7 at 1:00 p.m.
The Finn Camp like to express our condolences to the Solin family.
Maryann “Sam” Solin (nee Granfors), age 86, of Wixom, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on November 3, 2016 in West Bloomfield. She was born and raised in Northwest Detroit on July 26, 1930; the only daughter of Walter and Tyyne Granfors. Maryann graduated from Cooley High School, marrying Reynold Solin shortly after. Maryann and Reynold remained married until his passing in 1996. Throughout her children’s adolescent years, she would have been described as the gregarious mother of 4 raising her children at the Finn summer camp in Wixom. Maryann found her professional calling in 1971 when she began her career as the front desk girl in a Detroit doctor’s office where she earned her nickname, Sam. It didn’t take long for her to take charge of the office; a position, among many others, she held until consumed by her illness a few short weeks before her passing. She dedicated over 45 years to the Lewerenz Center for Health and Wellness and the Lewerenz Medical practices. She enjoyed spending time at the library and book clubs; having many friendships built around trading books. Sam’s legacy will not be left at the medical practices or the library, she will be remembered as the decisive matriarch she was. Sam was an impeccable role model to her family, friends, colleagues and every person that crossed her path. The earth has lost a beautiful soul. Mother of Reino (Tammie King) Solin, Kris (the late Fred) Lewerenz, Eric Solin and the late Karen Lee Solin; grandmother of Freddy Lewerenz, Jimmy Lewerenz, Greg Lewerenz, Sasha (Chris) Mueller and Joseph Solin; great-grandmother of Freddie, Logan, Kilia, Kegan, Keilani, Ross and Shea; best friend of Norma Bean; and 2nd mother of Darlene Arnot, Tanya Lehman and Oksana Strelets. Maryann did not want a service, but asks that you remember all the memories shared with her instead.