February 19, 1938 – September 30, 2019
Ossi Vesa Valdemar Launonen was born in Pielavesi, Finland. After working as a mechanic for FinnAir in Helsinki, he emigrated to Canada in 1970 to help build the paper mill in Kitimat, BC. He met the love his life, Sisko (nee Marttinen), in Burnaby in the 1970s; they were married in 1980. In 1991 they moved to Courtenay, where they shared their quiet home in the woods with a succession of beloved cats until Sisko’s passing in 2016.
All his life, Ossi showed us what the Finnish word “Sisu” means: extraordinary perseverance in the face of obstacles. While his health declined, he and Sisko continually redefined “camping” so that they could keep enjoying nature. They would drive to one of their favourite beauty spots and he would make coffee in the camper while she walked, then they’d drink coffee together and talk about what they’d seen. His connection to the natural world also found expression in beautiful woodwork and photography. After Sisko’s death, Ossi was lovingly cared for in the Glacier View Lodge until the end of his life. Despite many challenges, Ossi always kept his sense of humour and his quiet, compassionate heart.
Ossi was predeceased by his wife, his parents, his brother, and his sister-in- law. He is survived by a half-brother in Finland, a nephew in Saskatchewan, and a niece in New York state. Also mourning his passing are many dear lifelong friends in the Finnish community including Ritva Makkonen, Jaakko Aaltonen, and Sirkka and Anssi Kivinen, who introduced Ossi and Sisko; special friends Evelyn Bowers, Helen and Denis Benard, and Gail and Albert Ballaan; and many friends and neighbours.
A private celebration of Ossi’s life will be held at a later date. If desired, a memorial contribution in his name can be made to a charity dear to his and Sisko’s hearts, the SPCA: https://spca.bc.ca/.
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