Niilo’s Memorial Gathering

Niilo’s memorial was Sun. Jan. 5, 2014 at Pioneer Park Civic Center in Fairbanks. About 250 people were in attendance.

You can download the slideshow of photos from Niilo’s life that preceded the program accompanied by a music selection from-or-representative of Niilo’s world.

You can also download the printed program.

Photos from the post-program memorial gathering

A DVD video of the memorial can be made available by contacting

Peace Choir
The program opened with the Fairbanks Peace Choir singing Dona Nobis Pacem and Finlandia/This is My Song

The program was MC’d by Brian Rogers, with the following speakers

Karjala Koponen, Niilo’s oldest son, on Niilo’s time in New York and coming up to Alaska and experiences with Niilo as his father

Karen Parr spoke on Niilo’s efforts to improve education

Dick Farris, on Niilo’s many grassroots activities, had no prepared written remarks, but later posted this.

Sam Cotten on Niilo’s Legislative work

Charley Basham spoke on Niilo’s Quaker activities

Heather Koponen, Niilo’s youngest daughter, read several poems of Niilo’s.

Chena Koponen with speakers Karen, Dick, Sam, and Brian
Chena Koponen with speakers (l. to r.) Karen, Dick, Sam, and Brian
Karen Parr
Karen Parr
Sam Cotten
Sam Cotten
Heather, with background l. to r. Charley Basham, Dick Farris, Sam Cotten, Karjala

Brian Rogers then had a few words to say.

24 people then spoke from the floor about the impact that Niilo had on their lives.

We have also received some testimonials from others who weren’t able to speak.

  • Carl Hild on Niilo.
  • Adjourning to the exhibit hall for viewing the walls of exhibits and light refreshments and, most importantly great conversations.

    Norton Sound trains 1903
    Norton Sound trains 1903

    Some of the exhibits are available electronically below.