(November 22, 1926-October 23, 2019)
Kirsti was born at home in Detroit Michigan, the only child of Frans Mattias and Saimi (Mikkola) Bucht. Her parents were recent immigrants from Sweden and Finland, who met each other in Detroit’s Woodrow Wilson area, where many similar Finnish-Americans lived. Like others, she grew up often visiting the Detroit Finnish Cooperative Summer Camp in Wixom Michigan, where her father eventually built a cottage home. Kirsti met her future husband, Walter Niemi, at one of the Finn Camp’s regular Saturday-night dances. They were married in 1948. Kirsti and Walt had four children, who valued their Finnish heritage and continued involvement at Finn Camp.
Kirsti attended Commerce High School in Detroit and graduated from Wayne University (now Wayne State University). A stay-at-home Mom until her children were old enough to take care of themselves, she then began working to contribute financially to the family and helping her children to attend college. After working sales and clerical jobs, she passed the civil service exam to become social worker for the State of Michigan, attending to the needs of dependent children and senior citizens in Detroit.
A month away from her 93rd birthday, she died peacefully in her sleep, in her own home, of natural causes. She is survived by her four children: Karen Riley (husband Neil), Barbara Niemi, Steve Niemi, Dave Niemi (wife Kiya), and her grandchildren Matt Riley (wife Toni), and Lara Riley.
Kirsti was a beloved wife, mother, and grandmother, devoted to her family. She leaves a legacy of kindness and compassion for others with a strong attachment to her Finnish-Swedish roots. Kirsti’s smile will be missed by all who knew her. Rest in Peace.
The family will welcome friends Saturday, November 2, from 1-5 PM at Kirsti’s home: 28212 Greencastle Road, Farmington Hills.
Our condolences to the Niemi family.