Shirley Jean (Sakkinen) Koskiniemi died on January 19, 2022 at the age of 85. She was born September 27, 1934 at the Runeberg Township home in rural Menahga, MN to parents, Eddie and Jennie Sakkinen.
Shirley’s early school years were spent in a one-room schoolhouse where her lifelong love of learning began as well as her passion for becoming a teacher. Shirley graduated from Menahga High School as a Salutatorian in the class of 1954. She continued to receive her education at Bemidji State Teacher’s College, Bemidji, MN, and St. Mary College in Xavier, KS. Shirley was able to fulfill her dream of being an elementary school teacher by having her own classroom for 7 years as well as as a substitute teacher for 10 years.
On February 16, 1958, Shirley married Ernest Koskiniemi and took up residence in Arlington, Virginia, where their two daughters, Cheryl and Connie, were born. They then lived in Kentucky, California and Kansas before returning closer to home in Minnesota. Shirley’s home was in Park Rapids from 1980 until she moved into Green Pine Acres Nursing Home in Menahga, MN in October 2015.
Shirley enjoyed visiting family and friends, traveling and taking photos to share her adventures. At home, she enjoyed reading, creating crafts or sewing projects, watching television series and game shows, and listening to music.
Growing in her personal relationship with Jesus Christ was important to Shirley. She was baptized at home as a child and confirmed in the Apostolic Lutheran Church. As an adult, she professed a personal faith in Christ, attended some denominational and non-denominational churches, and participated in women’s Bible studies.
Shirley is survived by her daughters Cheryl (Don) Main of Morris, MN and Connie (David) Strandquist of Park Rapids, MN; grandchildren Rachel (Zach) Anderson, Chanel Strandquist, Daniel (Sara) Strandquist, Ariel Strandquist and Jacob Main; 6 great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her parents Jennie and Eddie Sakkinen, her sister Elaine Sakkinen and her grandson Justin Main.
There will be a funeral on Monday, February 7 at Jones/Pearson Funeral Home in Park Rapids. Visits will begin at 1:00 p.m. with service to follow at 2:00 p.m.