Range Funeral Homes


Larry Harold Saukko

10/24/1948 - 11/12/2018

Larry Harold Saukko (70) of Duluth, formerly of Tower and Bemidji, passed away Monday, November 12, 2018 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth. Services will be held at United in Christ Church of Eveleth at 1:00 pm Saturday, November 17, with visitation 1 hour prior to the service. Pastor Art Dale will officiate. Arrangements by Range Funeral Home of Virginia. To sign the online guest book or to send condolences, please visit www.rangefuneralhomes.com.

Larry was born in Virginia, MN, on October 24, 1948, to Oiva and Irene (Neimi) Saukko, the second of four children. He began a lifelong love of music and performing when he was named to the All State Orchestra in his junior and senior years of high school. He graduated as an honor student in 1966 from Eveleth High School. Larry attended UMD and graduated Cum Laude with degrees in German, French, and English. While in college, Larry signed on to work on the Great Lakes ore boats. He was assigned as second cook, and of course he had to go ashore at the first port and buy a cookbook.

Larry began his teaching career in Tower, MN. After 9 years, he purchased the Tower Hotel and Café and incorporated traditional Finnish dishes into the menu. In 1988, he began his career at the Concordia Language Institute at Turtle River Lake, Bemidji, as a Dean of Instruction in the German and Finnish villages and as the Dean of Salolampi.

Larry was an accomplished musician, playing the violin, button accordion, mandolin, and tuba. Larry traveled around the country to several Finnish Festivals and with a variety of groups, including Alexander’s Old Time Band, which he played with his father, and the American Pojat Brass Band. He was also in various community orchestras, usually as first chair.
In 2017, he sold his lake home and moved to Duluth and most recently resided at Marywood Assisted Living at the Benedictine Health Care Center.

Larry is survived by sister Leone (Millard) Kendrick and their children Chris (Kelly) Kendrick, Julie (Mike Koskovich) Kendrick; brother Richard (Jane) Saukko and their children Ben (Annie) Saukko, Lindsey (Edward Downs) Saukko, and Michael (Kelly) Saukko; sister Anni (Mike) Knutson and their daughter Beth (Paul) Giddings; and many great nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

36 thoughts on “Larry Harold Saukko”

  1. Riina says:

    Rest in peace, Lauri. You will be missed. Your witticims and charisma were some of the best things about Salolampi, and your magic shows were always such a hit.

  2. Nick Busse says:

    My sympathy to Larry’s family. I was a student at Concordia’s Institute of German Studies in 1989-1990 where Larry was the business manager. He was always a lot of fun and I worked with him at Waldsee later as well. I will always remember his jingle “Im Laden, Im Laden gibt es Sonderangebot!” I am from Duluth and didn’t realize his many connections there. Peace be with you!

  3. LaRon Croft says:

    Heinrich–so many memories of so many years at Waldsee.
    Rest in peace, my friend.

  4. Tracy (Josefiina) Matteson Ray says:

    I knew him as Lauri, dean of Salolampi. I spent 10 joyful summers as a camper while he was dean, and he was always happy when making butter knives out of wood (voiveitsi) or playing the accordion. He helped make learning Finnish fun, and I am so grateful for my experiences under his leadership at Salolampi. Kiitos paljon

  5. Carol Hepokoski says:

    My husband, John Berquist, played in Alexander’s Old Time Band with Larry. I remember Larry well from the trip the Finns from the Palo Laskiainen made to the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. in 1980, I think it was.

    My thoughts are with you.

  6. Nina Pietila says:

    I was one of the many kids that attended Salolampi when Lauri was Dean. He was always kind but authorities, and ready to help or give a little lesson. He will always be a part of my Salolampi memories!

  7. John Jussi Hanson says:

    Lauri Washington a wonderful man. I feel a great loss with his passing. The last time I saw him face to face he was teaching us to make salmon soup. I think of him as a teacher, story teller, musician, and a friend. He gave us the wonderful gift of his time, talents, personality. He worked closely with the board that gave scholarships and support to the Finnish Language Village at CLV. John Jussi Hanson, President, Salolampi Foundation.

  8. dagmar says:

    Lauri, my memories of that first-year staff introductary class on teaching through immersion helped me be a better staff member in my years working as Skogfjorden. It was always a pleasure working on I-day committee with you (and sneaking off to an early-morning sauna!) your spirit lives on through all the lives you’ve touched and i am grateful to have known you!

  9. Essi says:

    It breaks my heart to see that Lauri has past! He was the ultimate patriarch of Salolampi and, as a 9 year camper, defines my childhood summercamp memories. I feel so lucky to have known him. I can still hear his booming voice say, “Tervetuloa!” Hei-hei, Lauri!

  10. Sami Tulonen says:

    Suuri Suomen ystava on poissa. Olet vaikuttanut oman elamani kulkuun monin upein tavoin – olen kaikesta sinulle ikuisesti kiitollinen.

    Lauri Saukko, hieno mies – paras alla taivaankannen.

    Muistoasi kunnioittaen, Sami

  11. Paul Riedesel says:

    I knew Larry as a teacher in the adult program at “Waldsee” in the Concordia Language Villages. Even as ill health slowed him down, his love for language and music was steadfast and will be fondly remembered.

  12. Anita Smiley says:

    I’ve observed from a distance over the years as Lauri has touched countless lives in a very positive way. His contributions to Finnish-America in various venues have drawn praise and admiration. I’m thankful I had the pleasure of meeting Lauri and observing his love of that accordion and his love of life itself. Thanks, Lauri.

  13. Gloria McGinnis (Piirto) says:

    I met Larry at a Finn Fest I think was in Illinois. He impressed me as such a good man and he so loved Salolampi. May he rest in peace.

  14. Amanda Witman says:

    Paljon kiitoksia, Lauri. Your enthusiasm, your teaching, your love of all things Finnish, and your music (your music!) significantly changed my life. I will never forget a spontaneous dance at the just-built new Salolampi, with your infectious accordion playing and encouragement. I am so sad that your dance couldn’t continue a bit longer. Wherever you are, I hope you are enjoying some very good piirakkaa. Love always, your Annikki.

  15. Peter Birmanns says:

    Thank you Larry. Your soul will live on. You made peace and brought joy and laughter. It is a blessing to have known you.

  16. I will always remember Lauri as an enthusiastic accordion
    maestro playing dance music at Salolampi for Family Week
    programs where I took my grandchildren Madeline and Stephen on several occasions along with my parents Verner and Ann Anderson of New York Mills, MN. What really stood out during our visits was the attention to providing truly quality ethnic Finnish foods during camp. Your investment in cookbooks really paid off!! Your support in hosting Soiva Music Camp at Salolampi starting in 2008 was an inspiration that lives on today, 10 years later. Kiitos from hundreds of students and all faculty!
    Dennis M. Anderson
    Soiva International Music Camp Director

  17. Arlene (Sikkila) Tervakoski says:

    I met Larry when Walter Alt, John HIll, Jr. and I joined him at Alex Hietala’s for jam sessions as Alexander’s Old Time Band. Larry was a fantastic musician and an all-around nice guy. Such fond memories! He will be missed.

  18. Joyce Tamminen Besser says:

    We will miss you Lauri. Will always connect Salolampi with you _ you made learning fun. Your spirit and your music were infectious.

  19. Cyndie House says:

    My mother and I attended the Finnish Adult Week 5 times together. We really enjoyed the cooking lessons and Lauri’s stories that always went along with each recipe. I make Lauri’s Salmon Soup often for guests in my home. I chuckle each time when I remember his admonishment to use evaporated milk, not condensed milk! Lauri made each visit to Salolampi enjoyable. He will be sorely missed.

  20. Lisa (Work) Ganguly “Outi” says:

    I worked for Lauri every summer in college at Salolampi 1989-1992. He has an incredible heart and cares deeply for everyone around him. He helped guide me down my academic path and was a huge influence in my life during my college years and his words, enthusiasm, and dedication have inspired me and continued to live with me in the years after I worked for him. I can imagine him now, playing his accordian with a big bearded smile on his face, in heaven. We love you & will miss you greatly, dear Lauri ❤️❤️

  21. Virginia Peterson Clement says:

    Dear Leone & family, I am so sorry to read about Larry’s passing. It sounds like he was quite an adeventurer. Prayers for all of you that God will give you comfort during this time. Virginia

  22. Virginia Peterson Clement says:

    Dear Leone & family, I am so sorry to read about Larry’s passing. He sure was a busy man. Prayers for comfort and peace duing this time. Fondly, Vitrginia

  23. Jim Mead says:

    I know you are in good company and most certainly enjoying a drink with your good friend David Erceg! You were my head cook at the German village, but more importantly a mentor of mine. You embodied what it meant to be a cook at the language villages. May you rest in peace and I pray to God that they have Finnish saunas in heaven!!!
    You’re friend, Jakob

  24. Von Strasser says:

    I first met Lauri at a Finnish banquet.I loved to hear him play the accordion! He was such a mild-mannered gentleman.I had just visited with some Finnish campers at Concordia Language villages about how he was doing. I was going to get his address and write to him. However,procrastination defeated me…my condolences to his family. I’m very thankful to have known him.Cordially,Von/ CLV

  25. Jim Wiinanen says:

    My sympathy to Larry’s family. Larry and Iwere roommates at UMD. Larry did so well in all his classes and it seemed to me he hardly studied,ever. So smart, and he always had a smile and a wry wit. When i needed companions for a winter camping trip, Larry offered to join the group. We pulled toboggans with our camping gear and snowshoed the Lac La Croix trail off the Echo Trail. Bitter cold but warm comraderie. A good man who followed his own trail in life. He will be missed.

  26. Helen McMahom says:

    I met Lauri my first time at Salolampi adult week, May 2001; I am still attending Salolampi adult weeks. Several years he was my teacher.His dedication and devotion to Salolampi made everyone around him proud of their Finnish heritage and wanting to learn more. His music and storytelling were prized talents. He enriched the lives of everyone who knew him.
    Lucky will be those who welcome his talents in his new life.

  27. Helen McMahon says:

    I met Lauri at my first Salolampi adult week, May 2001; I continue to attend Salolampi adult weeks; I was also in his class a number of times. His dedication and devotion enriched everyone’s Finnish heritage. I shall miss his music and storytelling talents knowing they will bring joy to his next audience.

  28. Marlene Banttari says:

    Lauri, Salolampi has become an historic Concordia Language Village during your many years as a talented leader, dean, musician, and personality. All, who were fortunate to have worked with you treasure those times and thank you for the rich exposure to Finnish language and culture. Marlene, Sanomat Editor

  29. Wolfgang Schnitzler says:


    so viele gemeinsame Jahre in Waldsee mit wunderbaren Erinnerungen und Erfahrungen, die mich mit Dankbarkeit erfüllen, Dich gekannt zu haben. Ruhe in Frieden.

    Wolfgang aus Köln / Deutschland

  30. d salin says:

    I remember knowing Lauri from his UMD days and sitting on his roof deck/patio of his rental house on the Duluth hillside on a beautiful April day and having beers and watching the ore boats come in while having great discussions and listening to his marvelous Finnish jokes!!! He was a truly unassuming guy and good friend to all who knew him. I was just one of the many people who had the pleasure of having him in our lives throughout the years.

    The importance of Lauri’s contributions to Salolampi cannot be measured. He became part of that wonderful institution and will always be a part of Salolampi……..
    With Deepest Sympathy-Tanu

  31. Ove says:

    Lauri, pidä lippu korkealla! Kiitos kaikesta ja nähdään taas.

  32. LaRon Croft says:

    Heinrich. So many fond memories when you were Dean at Waldsee and my instructor in the Adult Program. Your knowledge, your smile, your music…I could go on and on.
    God bless you. Liesl, die Krankenschwester

  33. Lolly Loomis says:

    I am so sorry to hear of Larry’s passing. My husband, Gary, and Larry were best friends for a long time. They met on the ore boats in the mid 60’s and have been great friends ever since. When Gary died in October of 2016, I was very pleased and surprised to see Larry there. He was not in the best physical condition, but he said he had to come. I just found out today about Larry’s death quite by accident. I would have been at his funeral. However, the funeral is today, and I will miss it. Just to let you know that Larry was the best man at our wedding. Our kids loved when he would come to visit for his music and his humor. My condolences to all his family.

  34. David Weulander says:

    Rest in peace my friend.

  35. Denise and Russ Pesola says:

    Lauri was Ameriikan Poijat’s first tuba player, performing with us at our initial gig at Finnfest in Lake Worth, Florida. For that reason, and many more, he has held a special spot in our hearts. What a delightful, fun man! We all have such fond memories of him. He was a remarkable person, musician, educator and special friend. We are so saddened to lose Lauri.

  36. Jim Richards says:

    For some reason the site of Mesabi Daily News popped up on our computer and I just per chance was shocked to see the OB of Larry. I am at Maplelag cross country ski resort and in the summer for some 45 years we have hosted Concordia Language Camps and once we had Finnish Camp and I think that it where we crossed paths and what a delightful gentleman he. Always willing to share his thoughts and so much in love with Finnish Culture. His music was an utter delight and I could never get enough of it. A few times he came to Maplelag to perform and I still cherish those memories.
    As a Non Finn, I was always interested in Finnish culture, and I have moved 3 log buildings here to Maplelag from the Range, and in fact now live in a Finnish house that I moved from the Palo area,
    I also remember Larry and his love of learning and teaching and he truly was a great educator.
    My one Finn classic story that Larry loved and helped me understand is one I still smile about. For 25 years I did blasting of wetlands to make wildlife ponds. One day the job was on a farm near Meadowlands and as I pulled into the yard, my radiator was over heating. The older Finn gentlemen called to his wife to bring a pail of water. She came running out with a mirror and when all sorted out, they were laughing as was I . She thought he said peili and he really meant pail This is one Finn word I will never forget!
    He will be missed and I extend my sympathies to his loved ones.
    Jim Richards
    Callaway, Minnesota

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11/17/2018 at 1:00 pm
United In Christ Lutheran Church, Station 44 Road, Eveleth, MN, USA

Visitation begins at 12:00 pm