Range Funeral Homes


Sylvia Arola

06/12/1927 - 08/08/2020

With sad and heavy hearts, our Mother, Grandmother and Great-Grandmother. Sylvia Arola passed away on Saturday, August 8, 2020 at the age of 93. Sylvia was born on June 12, 1927 to Jacob and Tilda (Tillie Kuusi) Erkkila in Hubbard County.

Sylvia attended Kuusi Country School near her home. She spoke fluent Finnish and taught her children at a young age to speak the language and used it as the primary language in the home. “Mina Rakastan Sinua” was a special “I Love You” that Sylvia and her family shared. She loved hearing these words from her Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren in Finnish and always gave them the best “bear hugs” ever.

Sylvia was not given a middle name at birth because her father decided that she didn’t need one. She will be remembered for her “Grandma Bread” which the children enjoyed right out of the oven with peanut butter, the love of farming, going fishing and camping with Pa in Canada, blueberry picking, canning, cleaning the garage, Sauna, making and drinking coffee in the middle of the night and her dislike of venison. She loved to sing little jingles to the children in Finnish and English.  It was also well known “Where Pa went, Ma went.”

Sylvia grew up on the Erkkila farm in Blueberry Township in Menahga, Minnesota. She has shared stories with her family about having to help her mother with the farm chores after her father passed away. Sylvia was a young girl at this time. Sylvia was very much like her mother (Mummi); a brave, tough, stubborn Finnish women with lots of Sisu. Like her mother, she was always barefoot.

Sylvia married Walter Edwin Arola (son of Gust and Elma Arola) on July 2, 1945.  They were married by the Justice of the Peace in Park Rapids, Minnesota. They moved their young family to the Iron Range for better employment opportunities and resided in rural Mt. Iron (Cherry area). Walter preceded her in death on April 9, 2011, enjoying 66 years of marriage. She always referred to him as “her Walter” as she laid her hand over her heart. Together they had ten children with six of them surviving her, four boys and two girls.

Son – John Walter Arola (Kathy) of Duluth, MN and their son David (Peggy) Arola and children Natalie and Kristin; daughter Amy (Jon) Kotch and children Brodie and Sylvie; son Ryan (Pamela) Arola and son Henry.

Son- William Donald  Arola (Twila) of Zimmerman, MN  and their son Jesse Arola and  his children Cassandra (son Logan), William Arola and Jacob Arola; daughter Heidi Arola (Bruno Ribeiro) and son Julian.

Daughter – Judy Elaine Bidle (Ralph) of Mt. Iron, MN and their daughter Julie (Mark) Trunzo and daughter Kaitlyn; son Aaron (Alice) Bidle and their children Camden, Emilia and Davin.

Daughter – Alice Marie Skaudis (Jeffery) of Mt. Iron, MN and their son Dr. Darin (Amanda) Skaudis and their children William, Audrey and Eleanor; son Wade Skaudis and children Bradon and Alaina; daughter Marjia (Derek) Jorgenson and children Livia and Kade; son Edward (Dawnelle) Skaudis and children Landyn and twins Braxton and Dawson.

Son – Clifford James Arola (Nancy) of Duluth, MN and their daughter Darcy (Dan) Kane and children Carter, Christian, Elise and Gabriel; daughter Jennifer (Yancy) Lemone and children Autumn, Ashley and Ian; son Jake Arola.

Son – Glen Eugene Arola (Maureen) of Mt. Iron, MN and their daughter Amanda (Mark) Besemann and children Jared, Eden, Ellie and Joseph; daughter Kristin (Chris) Darr and son Nolan.

Sylvia is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews and other extended family members including a special sister-in-law Theresa Lindula and special nephew Roger Lindula who also shared the same birthday.

Sylvia is preceded in death by her children Howard, Linda Faye (twin to William) and twins Mary and Elizabeth. She is also preceded in death by her parents, four brothers – Arnold, Raymond, Arthur and William and three sisters Impi White, Vivian Ollila and Viola Schindeldecker. Sylvia was the last survivor of the Erkkila family.

Due to Covid 19, a private family Memorial Service will take place at the Green Valley Cemetery in Menahga, Minnesota. Sylvia will be laid to rest next to her husband Walter and their four precious babies. Pastor Liz Cheney (great niece) will officiate.

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Member of the following associations:

National Funeral Directors Association

National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association

National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association

National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association