Cover photo for Leslie Axel Knuttila's Obituary
Leslie Axel Knuttila Profile Photo
1919 Leslie 2015

Leslie Axel Knuttila

April 15, 1919 — October 26, 2015


Leslie Axel Knuttila, age 96, of Christmas, passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home on Monday morning, October 26, 2015. He was born on April 15, 1919 in Gwinn, Michigan to the late Axel and Olga (Hakkala) Knuttila. Leslie grew up for some time in Gwinn before moving to Koski Road, where he attended school at both AuTrain and Ridge Road. He started working with his father in the woods at a young age using horses to haul logs. Leslie met Annie Sharron, and they were married on January 11, 1941. In November of 1942 he enlisted in the United States Coast Guard, and was honorably discharged as a Motor Machinist Mate Third Class in October of 1945. Leslie returned home and worked on his family's farm and logging. He then started working with Frank Carr logging, and eventually partnered up in purchasing the old Munising Woodenware property to develop the area for new businesses. Then while driving logging trucks for Ed Buckman, Leslie and Annie built and operated the Munising Motel from 1957 until 1974. Leslie and his son Charles started Knuttila Forest Products, they worked contracts for CCI, Benson Forest / Shelter Bay Forest, and for many private land owner across the UP from Seney, Grand Marais, Big Bay, Grand Island, and Christmas. He even went to work for his grandson David at Mannisto Forest Products, Inc. driving a skidder until he was eighty-six. Leslie enjoyed reading, deer hunting, bobbing for lake trout, and watching some TV shows you may not have expected: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, WWF - Monday Night Raw, and Married with Children with his great-granddaughter Amanda. He was a proud member of the American Legion Post #131. Leslie liked working on equipment in his garage, and he really enjoyed spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren. He will be missed.

Leslie is survived by four daughters - Sandra (Bob) Sikkila, twins - Linda Knuttila and Judy Knuttila all of Reed City, Michigan; and Rita Mannisto of Christmas; three grandchildren - Tina (Jan Golisek, Jr.) Mannisto and David (Missy) Mannisto all of Christmas, and Mark (Angie) Sikkila of Kalamazoo; great-grandchildren - Amanda Leslie (Brandon) Vanderschaegen, Ashley Ann Mannisto, Austin Charles Mannisto, and Alex Massey; one great-great-granddaughter on the way, expected in March; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife - Annie Knuttila; son - Charles Knuttila; brother - Waino (Dorothy) Knuttila ; parents - Axel and Olga; mother and father-in-law - Daniel and Catherine Sharron; and brother and sisters-in-law - Alfred Sharron, Margaret Anderson, Jennie Lindquist, Frances Touranjo, and Genevieve Anderson.

Visitation will be on Thursday, October 29, 2015 at the Bowerman Funeral Home from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. Pastor Ann Gonyea will conduct Leslie's funeral service at the funeral home on Friday, October 30 at 11:00 a.m. Interment will follow at Maple Grove Cemetery, where the American Legion and Vietnam Veteran Honor Guard will conduct military honors. Leslie will be escorted by David L. Mannisto, Austin Mannisto, Jan Golisek, Jr., and Ted Brown.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Leslie Axel Knuttila, please visit our flower store.


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