Hilda Larson Nikkila passed into eternity March 9, 2013. She died at her home in Chardon at 91 years old.
Born April 12, 1921, in Cleveland, to Henry and Anna Lovisa (Mackey) Larson, Hilda grew up in Cleveland Heights and graduated from Heights High School in 1939. She then went to Dyke College for secretarial training. After her graduation, she began work at University Hospitals as a secretary to the Director of Nursing.
Attending the National Suomi Synod Convention in Duluth, Minn., in 1942, Hilda was elected the secretary of their newly formed National Luther League. She acted in this capacity for six years until her marriage to Aatos M. Nikkila of Warren.
Hilda met Aatos (""Nik"") when they were 14 years old, at a summer church camp, Camp Luther in Conneaut. They were married June 26, 1948, at First English Lutheran Church in Cleveland Heights.
Hilda was a faithful helpmeet to Aatos, supporting him in his role as coach, teacher and community servant. First living in Perry, they moved to Chardon in 1952, where they resided until the end of both of their lives.
Molly, Howard and Jane were born to them within three years and Hilda was a stay-at-home mom for their first 11 years. Then Hilda began working part-time at King's Grocery Store on Chardon Square. She began studying at Lake Erie College and graduated with a degree in education in 1968. Halfway through college, she started teaching at Opportunity School in Newbury, for special education students. She continued at what became Metzenbaum Opportunity School in Chester Township until her retirement in 1981.
Through all the years, Hilda led an active life in church, Girl Scout leading, travel and visiting with friends. A member of Zion Lutheran Church in Fairport Harbor since 1948, she was on various committees, a Sunday School teacher, and behind the scenes minister to women. Hilda acted as secretary for Lake Erie Suomi Conference, was a Girl Scout leader for 25+ years and a member of Delta Kappa Gamma teachers' sorority for over 40 years. She enjoyed camping with her family on summer trips all over the U.S.A., went to Finland twice, to Alaska, wintered in Florida for 30 years with her husband and visited her grandchildren in Washington State yearly. Friends will remembermany visits with the Nikkilas at various homes or restaurants through the years.
Hilda is survived by her daughters, Molly of Chardon and Jane (Mark) Sterland of Centralia, Wash.; grandchildren, Matthew, David, John and Laura Sterland, and Katherine (Joel) Cummins; brother-in-law, Hans Lanner; and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Aatos; son, Howard, both in 2011; and sister, Mildred.
Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Monday, March 25, at Zion Lutheran Church, 508 Eagle St., Fairport Harbor.
Calling hours will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday, March 24, at Potti Funeral Home, 538 Fifth St., Fairport Harbor, and at 10 a.m. until the service Monday at the church. Burial will follow at Chardon Municipal Cemetery.
Contributions in Hilda's memory may be made to Camp Luther's ""Luther Bluff Fund"" in care of Molly Nikkila.