Rachel Amanda Huotari, 94, passed away at Ecumen Scenic Shores in Two Harbors, MN on September 3, 2015.
She was born in Kauhajoki, Finland on July 23, 1921 to Jakob (Jaakko) and Fanni (Talvitie) Rajamäki. Rachel (Raakel) went to school in Teuva until her father who had been working in Ontario, Canada for 5 years arranged for the family to emigrate to Russia in 1933. With her mother and sister they met Jakob in Leningrad and traveled by train to a lumber camp to work north of Petrozavosk. Illness forced Rachel to move to a hospital in Petrozavosk and her family followed later to live there.
In 1938 Rachel was adamant about returning to Finland, but only her mother could return with her. Father and sister were forced to remain. She married Martti and arrived on the HMS Queen Mary in October, 1948 to live in the Two Harbors area. She was treated for tuberculosis at Nopeming for 6 months in the early 1950s. From 1957 to 1961 they owned the Big Noise Tavern north of Two Harbors until Martti’s death. Rachel also lived for a few years with her daughter in Lake Worth, Fla. but returned to live in Two Harbors. Her “SISU” and strong heart allowed her to survive many surgeries and hospital stays.
Rachel was preceded in death by father Jakob, mother Fanni, sister Taimi, and husband Martti.
Rachel is survived by children Esther Freeberg, Peoria, AZ; John and Dorothy (Kowalik) Huotari, Sun City West, AZ; grandsons Joel Udenberg of Superior, WI, and Matt Udenberg of Phoenix, AZ.
Celebration of Life will be held from 1:30 – 3:30pm Thursday, Sept. 10 at Ecumen Scenic Shores 402 13th Ave., Two Harbors, MN. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be given in her memory to Ecumen Scenic Shores.