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1926 Eleanore 2020

Eleanore Maki (Tormala)

July 22, 1926 — December 16, 2020

South Range Eleanore Marie Magdelena Maki (Tormala) passed away December 16 due to complications brought on by COVID-19. She was born July 22, 1926, to Andrew and Minna Tormala in Hancock, Michigan, at the now-long-gone Finnish Hospital, which was located above the stairs on the north side of the Portage Lift Bridge. Eleanore spent most of her life in South Range---during its vibrant years when the community was at its finest, with stores, taverns, restaurants, bakeries, a theater, and the lively spirit that boom times bring with operating mines. She aged through its slow decline that follows when mines close and families move away. As such, Eleanore is a reflection of South Range, having lived in her childhood home until 2014, when she moved to The Bluffs and finally Canal View Nursing Home when she could no longer climb stairs. Eleanore had an independent spirit that may have come from being so late born in her family and having an influential 15-years-older sister. Some might even call her headstrong. She knew what she wanted and went for it. By age 12 she was working with her lifelong friend, Helen Hartzle, at the Finnish American Bakery on the corner of Fourth and Champion streets, earning 25 cents a day cleaning and having bread to take home. With the extra cash, she and her first boyfriend, Tom Bahti, and her friends would sneak to the balcony at South Range's Star Theater to catch the latest movie. As the war drew young men to Europe and the Pacific, she worked greasing cars at the former Mobil Gas Station on the corner of Baltic and Second streets. In autumn 1943 at a dance at the South Range Community Hall, she met her future husband, Eino Maki. The following spring, after Eino was drafted into the Navy, they eloped and were married in L'Anse---shortly before she graduated from Jeffers High School. Eleanore seemed to live in two worlds---one of old Finnish ways and the other seeking the conveniences of modernity. Neighbors always knew there was coffee hour each morning at her kitchen table. And when she left the house on errands, a broom was placed across the doorway to indicate no one was home. In the summers, she, Eino, and the kids spent their time at The Camp on Keweenaw Bay trolling for lake trout and with South Range friends having saunas and dancing Saturday nights at her brother Toivo's cottage next door. Over the years, she and Eino raised their two children while both working part- and full-time. In that quest, Eleanore followed Eino to schools and teaching jobs in Ames, Iowa, Marquette and East Lansing, Michigan, and New Haven, Connecticut, and finally back to South Range in 1958, along the way working---as in today's two-income families---early on as a Finnish translator to Dr. Nikander at Soumi College, as a CNA at Marquette General Hospital, as a gas station jockey in Charlotte, Michigan, and finally in the late 1950s back in South Range, where she served in elected positions for 30 years with Adams Township and the Village of South Range. Eleanore was preceded in death by her parents Andrew and Miina Tormala, her husband Eino Maki, her three siblings, Kauno Tormala, Tovio Tormala (Miriam) and Aili Prout (John), her sister-in-law Sylvia Gagnon (John), her nephew Robert Tormala. She is survived by her son Paul (Louise) Maki, of Brooklyn,WI, daughter Carol Salo, of Chassell, MI, granddaughter Jennifer Pindral (Chris), three great grandchildren, Dan Salo and Alyssa Pindral of South Range and Joe Pindral (Emily) of Trimountain, as well as niece Betty Howe (Ed), of suburban Detroit and nephew Mike Gagnon (Linda) of Chassell. A private family memorial will be held in the future. She will be buried in Mountain View Cemetery in South Range. In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, the family asks that memorials be made to the Copper Range Historical Society. To view this obituary or to send condolences to the family, please visit www.memorialchapel.net. The Memorial Chapel & Plowe Funeral Home of Hancock is assisting the family with the arrangements.
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