Helen Marion Maki, age 95, of Eben Junction, Michigan died Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at the Eastwood Nursing Center in Negaunee. She was born on July 18, 1925 in Knox Township, Wisconsin to the late Matt and Fina (Leppakorpi) Pokela. Helen grew up in Brantwood, Wisconsin and graduated from Tripoli High School in 1942. She was introduced by her brothers to Walter Alvin Maki and they were married on September 5, 1943. In 1948, they moved to Eben Junction and purchased their farm on the corner of Ferguson and Country Lane Roads. This is where they raised their six children and ran their dairy farm for nearly thirty years. Helen was an amazing supporter of both the Eben Eagles and Superior Central Cougars. She rarely missed a game, meet, or race that her beloved teams were a part of, and for her dedication she was named Cougar Fan of the Year. In the mid 1950’s, Helen joined the AuTrain Recreation Area Volunteers to create a swim program for the area youth. The site on AuTrain Lake was cleared prepared and later turned over to the Forest Service to maintain and give the kids a place to swim. Helen and Walter were integral parts to the Hiawatha Slopes ski hill. They were involved in the prepping of the land for the ski area, fundraising for the tow rope, lights, and other necessary equipment, and managed the hill for twelve years. In that time, Helen gave lessons to hundreds of local youngsters teaching them how to ski. She also loved cross country skiing which she did into her eighties. In 2001, Helen was named the Alger County Woman of the Year. Helen loved the outdoors and was always active on the ski trails and walks in the woods. She also enjoyed bowling in the Chatham Bowling League and was a member of the Home Extension Club. Helen and Walter enjoyed traveling together. They had many great trips around the United States and cherished their trip to Finland.
Helen is survived by her three daughters - Kathy Kolpack, Judy Gerken, and Della (Bruce) Davey; three sons - Dan (Kathy) Maki, Bill (Robin) Maki, and Randy (Lynne) Maki; 16 grandchildren – Duane (Julie), Dale, Kim (Kevin), Holly (Bob), Nichole (Andy), Jason (Erica), Brandi (Mike), Daniel (Jackie), Elizabeth (Matt), Kyle (Mariah), Brittany, Trevor, Cody (Taylor), Ryan (Jessica), Lukas, and Nicholas; great-grandchildren - Fahren, Senia, Kiirsa, Emmett, Ellie, Tyler, Max, Sylvia, Brenden, Emma, Mikey, Isaac, Kate, Matthew (Adriana), Ashley (Matt), Stan, Stephanie, Walter, Wade, Maeve, Ferguson, Lennon, and two more on the way; great-great-grandchildren – Auri, Isabelle, Abigail, and Stassi; brother-in-law – Paul Wollemann; numerous nieces and nephews; and friend and neighbor – Irene Swajanen. She was preceded in death by her parents - Matt and Fina; husband – Walter; great-grandson – Josh; son-in-law – Curt Gerken; siblings – John (Pearl) Pokela, Wilho (Verna) Pokela, Leo (Martha) Pokela, Wayne (Lily) Pokela, Carl (Agnes) Pokela, Urho (Marian) Pokela, Arne (Tuddy) Pokela, Kate Pokela, and Norma (Leo) Heikkinen; sisters and brothers-in-law – George Maki, Richard (Fannie) Maki, Senia (Hugo) Henderson and Sylvia Wollemann.
Visitation will be on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at Sion Lutheran Church in Chatham from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Pastor Paul Kelto will conduct Helen’s Memorial Service at 1:00 p.m. Per Michigan’s Gathering and Face Mask Order those who are not fully vaccinated will be asked to wear a mask.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in Helen’s name may be made to Superior Central Sports Boosters (P.O. Box 148, Eben Junction, MI 49825) or the Eastwood Activity Fund (900 Maas St., Negaunee, MI 49866).
There are angels that walk on Earth and they work at Eastwood Nursing Center. For almost three years they gave our mother the best care, and we are forever grateful. Also, a special thank you to the home health crew from Commission on Aging and dear friends and caregivers Cindy Kallio and Mary Ellen Kolpack. Your love and support gave mom the freedom and confidence to stay in her home as long as she was able.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Helen M. (Pokela) Maki, please visit our floral store.
Superior Central Sprots Boosters
P.O. Box 148, Eben Junction MI 49825
Eastwood Activity Fund
900 Maas Street, Negaunee MI 49866