April 03, 1927-August 09, 2014
Leonard’s earthly body died with great dignity on August 09, 2014 and his spirit continues on in his legacy.
He is survived by Evelyn, his wife of 47yrs; sons Paul (Stephanie) of Mississauga, ONT; Gavin (Carolyn) of Williams Lake, BC; Adrian of Trail, BC; daughter Sarah of Edmonton, AB; brother-in-law Stan Baxter of Edmonton, AB; grand & great grandchildren, Alyssa (James) & sons Weston, Riley; Dyane & daughter Charlie; Ryan and Brooklyn; nephew Marvin (Berniece) Toma & sons Brad and Mark of Sherwood Park, AB.
Leonard survived the loss of both parents Henry and Saima and older brother Oiva. He leaves the remaining member of his immediate family, older sister Helvie Atkinson of Fort Saskatchewan, AB; many cousins in Finland and the USA from both sides of his lineage and of the Ollikka clan to carry on the memories of the family farm located off of Hwy 831 in Waskatenau, AB.
Dad burst into our worldly existence on April 03, 1927 in Smokey Lake, AB. He was strong, proud and mischievous all of his 87.5 years. Many of his memories revolved around his 47yrs in Waskatenau, AB to where he was raised on the homesteaded farm his parents immigrated to from Helsinki, Finland in 1922 leaving behind electricity and running water for a life of greater opportunity and potential. Like most immigrant families, Dad learned to make the best with what he had; enjoying hunting, fishing, softball, barn dances (of where he stole Mum’s phone number from a friend) and the memories he took with him. Dad was a bit of stickler when it came to waste or opulence and his fashion sense was sponsored by GWG work wear. He was basic in his needs and wants, ever mindful of sustainability and earthly imprints. He provided a hearty garden bounty each year, a wood-heated home and enough monies for all four of children to keep them with pocket change earned. He always worked hard for his family and did his level best to provide the best way he knew how; with hard work, determination, skill and doggedness so much so that Dad’s tremendous work ethic would place him in the University Hospital in Edmonton for 2 weeks each harvest with a bad back.
It was during their honeymoon in 1967 to Vancouver Island that put in motion the move to Errington in 1974. Life continued on, rocks were picked and life resettled. Dad was versatile in his employment, and he was most fulfilled with his work with BC Parks, allowing for great adventures, skills learned and many stories of his days in the war of 1812, canoeing with Louis Riel and losing the coin toss to name the mighty Fraser River. He was famous for asking “do you need any potatoes?” 2 minutes before leaving for any ferry. It was his way of saying “I love you”. He was most fulfilled in the outdoor elements with a piece of wood in his hand, much to the chagrin of his kids who spent many weekend mornings hauling wood out of the deepest forests, uphill both ways. He also possessed the natural ability of husbandry, of which was a godsend to any farm nearby.
He was a proud Canadian who didn’t have an itch to travel, but got to through the adventures of his family nonetheless. The only international travel he did was through the exhibits at the world’s Expo’s, of which he thoroughly enjoyed.
The staff of Qualicum Manor have been godsends the last 7 years of Dad’s life providing the required extensive care after his 2007 stroke and allowing him a social calendar he hadn’t had in years, of which the Laukkanen family are forever grateful. He loved seeing ‘The Old Time Fiddlers’ play often at the manor, which were his favorite and he could never keep his foot still, until now. He will be missed by those that loved him and knew him best. We’ve all been blessed to have him grace our shadows, to give us life and show us how to carry on. Thank you to all who’ve offered kind words and condolences along the way.
Family remembrance will be quietly acknowledged with a drink and a moose story. Potatoes will be offered, and received. Say hi to Nana for us.