Category Archives: Niilo health

Murry Jumps In

Hello Joan and Niilo, Sent you a card the other day. Have been getting news of Niilo’s recent trip to hopital and return home from John Culbertson. Also had a great phone conversation with Jay Worley and passed on news to him. He and Pam are in Santa Paula looking after Pam’s 91 yr. old father. He told me that he and Pam were married by Niilo on your property. Lovely connection I didn’t know about.

Just want to wish you well and let you know I think of you so often. My years smokejumping in Alaska were made all the more wonderful by our friendship and the many, many saunas shared Sundays evenings. The love and special feeling of your home was a touchstone for me during times when I needed to feel close to family and the better things in life.

I’ll be in Fairbanks in June of 2009 for the 50 year Reunion of the Alaska Smokejumpers. I’ll be there a week or so and will come by for a visit. In the meantime, know that you are thought of often with much love.

Sincerely, Murry Taylor

2008/05/13 at 7:51 AM

Anna’s Great Fondness


Mitä Kuuluu? I just received a note from Beth this morning that told me that you were in the hospital and was quite distressed to hear it. I want you to know that I am thinking about you and wishing for a strong and quick recovery.

I also wanted to take the time to say Kiitos for all of the news clippings that you have sent me over the years, I feel blessed to have been on your mailing list. In this day and age, with so many serious issues facing our country, I am always thankful to have a reminder of good socialist thinking for troubled times.

Take care of yourself, I know that you are surrounded by your loving family and I have little to add to their loving care but want you to know how much your wisdom means to so many of us and we look forward to many years of sage advice to come.

With Great Fondness, näkemiin!

2008/05/12 at 7:16 AM

Gerry Henkel checks in (Gotta love Finns!)

Hello Niilo and family…
Harri Siitonen emailed me the other day to say that this blog was online, and that I should check it out.
I’ve missed talking with you Niilo – those chats over the phone every once in awhile about politics and Finns in Alaska. (It is so good to see Beth K’s email – if it hadn’t been for you Niilo, I would never have had a chance to talk with her and find out how she’s carrying on good work in Alaska.)
I’ve got a special place in my heart for you (and for your family and friends), and I’m going to keep checking in.
Be well, and take care…

Saturday, May 10th – a Strong Voice

Today would have been a good day for phone calls, as Niilo’s voice was strong. He appreciated having letters read out loud to him and wanted to spend most of the day in the wheelchair at the table with literature, as he has done for the past several years. He didn’t seem at all sore from yesterday’s slip to the floor.

As it was a nice mostly sunny day, Mom and I did some work out in the flower beds and noticed that tulips and columbines are starting to push their way out of the ground.

Chena is slaving away at paperwork.

10:19 and the sun just set in the northwest but the sky is perfectly light still. Buds show on the trees. Summertime…


Kiitos and more from Beth

Hi Niilo and family. I am with my mom and dad, and we all just wanted to say hi and that we are thinking of you all. We all have great thoughts coming your way. It was always fun to hear Niilo and my dad speaking Finnish and discussing great ideas. Great days.

I hope you all have a good Mothers Day, and all our best, Kiitos, Beth Kerttula

2008/05/10 at 4:52 PM

Cod Liver Oil

Diane suggested a cod liver oil and heat treatment on Dad’s tummy, which was a bit bloated and not working perfectly. Wow, things moved right along. So then I left Dad unattended on the toilet as I went to check cookies–briefly and so close by, I thought–but enough time for Dad to land on the floor. I called 911 and Chena Goldstream Fire and Rescue took Dad to the hospital, where Heather helped with the look over for possible broken bones. Nothing seemed amiss, and Dad came home again courtesy of the ambulance.

Meanwhile, Mom and I talked about aging and related issues. I was once again impressed by her grasp of things. A passing discussion was about Cuba, and she related Fidel’s brother was now in charge. Jeez. Here she is still amazing us with memory repair, and Dad is putting us in a different place. Mom puzzles about it too with much concern. She doesn’t know what to do to help him; she finds conversation with him difficult these days.

Sorry folks for my negligence on letting Dad fall. Thanks Alex for helping, to the rescue squad for doing good works again (anyone out there going to tell us some Niilo fire department stories?!!), and Heather for taking care of Dad. Boy, am I ever glad she had a cell phone today.



Ruth Murphy Says:

Hi, Heather,
I enjoyed your comments about the Chena Ridge Militia. This got me to remembering when the Parks Highway went in, which was very high above the surrounding roads. Niilo made a joking comment about the “Great Wall of Chena.” I had this vision of a vast crowd of rugged warriors stationed along the top, armed with various weapons. Somehow we never got around to making a picture. My best wishes to all of you.

Ruth Murphy May 9, 2008 at 10:05 am


Niilo requested more songs sung to him this evening, from Tom Paxton and Woody Guthrie tunes to Quaker and Shaker songs; We didn’t get to any of the Songs To Be Sung In Case Of Emergency by the “Chena Ridge Militia”. (No, they weren’t para-military; rather, they were a militia of irreverent ideas.) Perhaps in the near future…

Thanks to Nancy D. for time spent with Niilo & Joan yesterday evening, and to Nancy S. for running errands today, to Chena as ever, and to Alex for coming to help with transfers, more difficult again….



Thanks Kotty, for your wishes. Tomorrow is a big day for Dad, as he gets a nursing type person coming in to check on him, a massage therapist, and something else I don’t remember now. This is in contrast to today, which was fairly low key. He sat in front of the window, fingering news magazines occasionally but mostly not seeming to be relating to the world. Mom and I played Boggle and Spite and Malice next to him (I think he taught us that card game almost forty years ago), made supper….and I thought of the aspects of help we can give to others.

When Mom was in recovery from her head injury for a couple of months or so in the spring of 1992 in Puyallup, Washington, help was there. John Culbertson came up from his home and young family in southern California to take a stint being family in rotation with Heather, Sanni, Chena, Mom’s sister Beryl from Vermont, friend Nancy from Maryland, Steve Porten, others…Mom was just learning to walk and talk (& scream and cry) and there was a lot we could do to assist her. She’s come a long way. She still needs help, but has grown more able to take care of herself.

Dad doesn’t seem to have as many future hopes. This is Alzheimer’s. It doesn’t seem like the more we do with him, the more we stimulate him, the more he will grow. He spent all his life helping others see new things, and now doesn’t want to look out the window.

Yes, we have help. Nancy Davidian came again this evening after supper to help Heather get Dad ready for bed or whatever else. I then left to join Gary at a movie, but I blew out of that after 45 minutes, thinking “this isn’t what life is all about. I only have so many minutes in a day, and I’ll be darned if I spend another one of them trying to enjoy this Hollywood fare.”

Sometimes I wish for more help as in someone to read to Dad, but then I wonder if I’m in my old “help Mom get better” mode. Even then, I think it was John Culbertson, who overlapped me in Puyallup, who said something to me like “cool out, relax.” Maybe I’m always agitating. So it’s hard to see Dad just sitting in a chair and then when I try to engage his mind, he’s not there. At least Heather can take his blood pressure and monitor his body. I can’t even seem to encourage him to walk very many steps.

Wish I had great news for all of you. I can say that Dad seems fairly healthy as far as basic body. The biggest help I think I was to him today was putting lotion on his arms and legs, massaging his back, and telling him how much I love him throughout the day. Heather read him from this web site. Sometimes that is a huge help to us: knowing you are there. Thanks again.