With deep sadness, our family announces the passing of Erkki Olavi Keski-Salmi, Wednesday July 11th in the Intensive Care Unit of the Kamloops Royal Inland Hospital at the age of 79 years young. He is fondly regarded as a man of strength and character, who lived every moment to the fullest.
Erkki is survived by his wife Aira and daughter Anne, along with many extended family members in Finland as well as Canada.
Erkki was born March 13, 1933 in Kuortane, Finland. He was the oldest son of Arvo and Selma Keski-Salmi and brother to the late Tapani Keski-Salmi and Maire Kokkila. He was eighteen years old when he met his future wife and life-long partner of fifty four years, Aira Jaatteenmaki. While he had a deep connection to the land as a farmer in Finland, he believed that Canada would offer more opportunities to his wife and young son Reino.
He first arrived by himself July 5, 1963 in Revelstoke, BC, with nothing but fifty dollars in his pocket, not a single word of English; yet, armed with a steadfast determination, drive, and resolve to chisel out a life for his family. These characteristics would be evident throughout his life and were reflected in his beloved children. Three days after arriving in Canada, Erkki began work with the Canadian Pacific Railway and was later joined by his wife Aira and son Reino six months later in Sicamous. Eventually the family moved to Canoe, a daughter named Anne arrived and the family moved to Salmon Arm. During this time, he gained employment with the Federated Co-op Sawmill, where he was employed for forty seven years until retiring at the age of sixty three. The story of his retirement was when he was offered an armchair for retirement gift he replied, “Thanks, but a mountain bike would suit me better!” this gift would continue his enjoyment of biking and belief system of keeping fit and staying young.
Erkki is remembered for his strong will, work ethics and values, which enabled him to provide a wonderful life for his family and instill these values in his children. He was seen as a “young soul” and would be often heard saying, “I’m only seventy-nine years young!”, and his laugh lines would crinkle into his characteristic big grin. In so many ways Erkki demonstrated his deep love and dedication to his family. His love of nature and outdoor activities was evident in his daily walks about Salmon Arm, his weekly hikes with Markku, time spent at the family cabin at Gardom Lake fishing and cross-country skiing up at Larch Hills. Skiing was a passion and he was one of the founding members of the Larch Hills Ski Club and never missed a memorial Ski Loppet for his late son Reino. He loved his home, his garden and neighbours and often said he never wanted to move. Erkki was full of life and always on the go. He was much loved and will be sadly missed.
Funeral Services were held at Bowers Funeral Home, Thursday morning July 19, at 11:00 am. Interment followed in the family plot at Mount Ida Cemetery; a reception followed at Bowers, catered by the Larch Hills Ski Club. In Lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that any donations be made to the Larch Hills Ski Club, for the continued support and development of youth in sport and for the continued maintenance and development of the Larch Hills Ski area.
Online condolences can be sent through Erkki’s obituary at www.bowersfuneralservice.com
Arrangements are in the care of Bowers Funeral Home, Salmon Arm.