Sylvia M. Koski

HANCOCK – Sylvia M. Koski, 86, a resident of Hancock, died on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 at Portage Health following a short illness.

She was born in Liminga on Aug. 1, 1926, a daughter of the late Emil and Jenny (Leppanen) Koski. She attended school in Redridge and was a 1944 graduate of Houghton High School. She attended Suomi College in Hancock for one year.

Sylvia was the longest-serving employee to date at Suomi College, now Finlandia University in Hancock. She retired April 17, 1992, after 45 years at the college. Sylvia completed a Suomi Commercial Department certificate in 1945. She was hired as a permanent college employee in Nov. 1946, by V.K. Nikander, who was president from 1937 to 1947. Sylvia served under nine Suomi presidents. Her first position at the college was as a secretary.

After a few years, she became the college bursar (bookkeeper), remaining in that position for more than 25 years. She also worked in the library, the mailroom and as secretary to Ralph Jalkanen, Suomi president from 1960 to 1990. Sylvia’s life was her work and it meant everything to her to be able to serve the college for 45 years.

Sylvia was a faithful member of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Hancock where she was a member of the Quilters of the church and Suomi Kerho.

She also enjoyed attending events sponsored by Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly. She loved cooking, sewing, canning and gardening, especially her flower gardens.

Surviving are two nephews; one niece; as well as several great-nieces and great-nephews; and one great-great-nephew: Charles “Charlie” (Lisa) Jukkala of Tapiola and their children, Derek and Krista; Kathleen “Kathy” (Scott) McNelis of Florence, Wis. and their children, Staci and Kyle; Jay (Angela) Jukkala of Jesup, GA and their children, Christopher (Jamie) and their son, Simon, Benjamin, Micaiah and Bethany.

Besides her parents, Sylvia was also preceded in death by a sister and brother-in-law, Ruth and Jack Jukkala; and an aunt, Vieno Lehto.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Hancock with Rev. D.J. Rasner to officiate. Visitation will be one hour prior to services on Tuesday in the church. Spring burial will be in the Liminga Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 1000 W. Quincy, Hancock, MI 49930 in Sylvia’s name.

Arrangements are being handled by the Jukuri-Antila Funeral Home, Antila Funeral Services, Inc. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at