Range Funeral Homes


Esther Sainio Brunfelt

08/16/1929 - 02/12/2019

Esther Sainio Brunfelt, the youngest and last surviving child of Toimi and Taimi Sainio, died peacefully of old age at the Cook Care Center on 12 February 2019. She was 89. Esther decided to forgo a funeral. An inurnment at the Florenton Cemetery for Esther and Richard will take place in the near future. In lieu of flowers, memorials for the Brunfelt-Sainio Fund through the Vermilion Community College Foundation, 1900 E. Camp St, Ely, MN 55731 is preferred. Arrangements are with Range Funeral Home in Virginia. To sign the online guest book or to send condolences, please visit www.rangefuneralhomes.com.

Born at home in Wuori Township on 16 August 1929, she lived in a small community of Finnish immigrants in what she referred to as the perukka. She attended school in Virginia and was the first member of her family to graduate in 1947 from high school.

On 2 April 1949 she married her best friend, Richard Emil Brunfelt, and together they built their house in Britt. She supplemented the family income throughout their marriage. She worked at the Cluett-Peabody shirt factory and for years at the ElRoy Supper Club, first as a dishwasher and then as a short order cook. She later started her own business cleaning her clients’ homes until she retired in 1987. She also volunteered for 25 years at the Quad Cities Food Shelf.

Esther loved music and dancing. She and Rick danced in halls all across the Range. They also loved travelling in the1978 Chevrolet van that they customized into a camper. She was proud of being Finnish and visited family in Finland four times. She accompanied her son’s family on a trip to Ireland and Finland in 1994, and in 2003 she went on a tour of Finland with her daughter.

She loved Lake Vermilion, and she and Rick bought a boat that allowed them to explore the lake. They both enjoyed spending time together and with family at Hinsdale Island. They spent their honeymoon on the North Shore, and every year thereafter they visited the shore and camped in a tent and later in their van.

She spoke Finnish fluently all of her life, and over the years she and Rick danced at Mesaba Park and the area Finn Halls and took part in Finnish festivals. After Rick died in 1990, she began going to Kaleva Hall where she soaked up as much Finnish culture as possible.

Esther is survived by her children Belinda; Debra and her daughter Amanda (David and their children Khloe and Lincoln); Pamela; Scott (LouAnn and their daughter Tallie and her husband Bryan); and Priscilla and her son Fred. Others survivors include numerous nieces and nephews; her sister-in-law Helen Koivanen Sainio; and numerous cousins in Finland.

Preceding her in death were her husband Richard, her parents Taimi and Toimi Sainio, her siblings Miriam, Olavi (Bill), Tuovi, Waino, Toimi (Tom), Alli, Urho, Lauri (Larry), Tynne, and Ensio; and her father-in-law Oscar Odet Brunfelt.

3 thoughts on “Esther Sainio Brunfelt”

  1. Phillip and Corey Stephenson says:

    The memories of Auntie Esther are too great to even try to put in words. She will be missed. Thoughts and prayers to all the family. Love you all.

  2. Carol AnnSherek says:

    I so enjoyed meeting Esther on our trip to Finland in 2003.
    My deepest sympathies to Pamela and the family.

  3. Melody Swenson says:

    So sorry for your family’s loss. I had the pleasure of meeting Esther (and Pam) on our Finland trip in 2003.

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National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association

National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association