About this blog

This page is about the Koponen family in Alaska. When it started, the family was deep into discussing treatment for Niilo as we try to get him recovered from medical issues. Since December 2013 when he died of Alzheimers and related, we have been working on a variety of issues, including archiving a huge volume of information that Niilo collected over decades.

Please post here if your communication is not a comment on a previous post. We will move your communication from here to a “stand alone” post of its own. Because wordpress does not notify people of new postings, more of us reading Koponen News will be able to follow all posts by date if they are not part of the comment section of previous posts. Got that?

Comments are welcome, however, on the most recent/appropriate post on the previous page. koponenalaska.wordpress.com

No matter where you post on this site, the family welcomes your communication and will try to place it appropriately as soon as possible. Thanks much!

Editing this blog is done by the family.  That means that when you comment, we are notified to accept/edit/delete the comment.  If we are not near a computer, that may take a while.  So far, we have accepted all posts as submitted.

You can call the Koponen house 907-479-6782, also heatherkoponen (at) hotmail.com, 907-479-0981 (has message machine) or chena (at) chena.org 907-488-2001.

5 replies on “About this blog”

  1. Dear Niilo and Joan, Heather and Chena,

    Greetings from Vancouver, BC. to you and all your family. The other day, out of the blue, I was thinking of Niilo and Joan and felt compelled to check the web only to find your blog with its concerning news. My thoughts and best wishes are with you all.

    Browsing the blog brings many memories crowding back to me – of Niilo and Joan, the kids and lots of other folks, the homestead, the horses, the sauna, the view, the conversation, the politics, the Friends meeting, and the Ridge, and on and on. It was an intense and significant time!

    You may remember me along with Dan Leen who built the octagonal cabin during 1970-72. I’ve let him know about the blog. Dan lives in Seattle and one of his website includes a couple of photos of the cabin which you may enjoy:
    http://danielleen.org/gallery/v/alaska/web2-ak010.jpg.html and
    http://danielleen.org/gallery/v/alaska/web2-ak009.jpg.html . He also has a few photos from when we spent a few winter months at the Meaders’ cabin at Wild Lake.

    The blog post about the visit to Creamer’s Field reminds me when I worked at the Tanana Valley Fair (Niilo linked me up with Janet Baird who was the manager) and Old Mr. Creamer came into the office to hand over a certificate about his dairy farm behind the fairground. I remember him rather formally calling me “Mrs.”!

    Another time I thought of Niilo was a few years ago when I visited Sointula, a place on the BC coast I had heard him mention because of its Finnish roots. I think I’d bought a postcard but never got it sent. Here’s a link instead: http://www.island.net/~soinmuse/history.html .

    Although I visited Fairbanks briefly way back in 1981 and enjoyed catching up with Niilo, missed Joan who was back east. Alas, I haven’t been back since, and I cannot believe how much time has rushed by! Making another connection, I noticed a message from John Dunker who I believe I met in an anthropology class at UBC in Vancouver.

    My fondest regards,
    Diana Hall

  2. Happy 2011. Has anyone seen the new Finnish documentary’Miesten vuoro’ (Steam of Life)? There is one showing in Vancouver tonight which unfortunately I can’t get across town to see. I’m sure it would evoke fond memories of Sunday evening saunas and conversation over tea with honey and lemon!

    Film description at

    Diana Hall
    Vancouver, BC

  3. Hello –
    My name is Sam Faulkner and I lived in Fairbanks from 1972 – 1991. I have many fond memories of Joan and Niilo (having rented their cabin on Sprucewood Drive and later at the base of the homestead). I spent many a Sunday night in the Koponen Sauna, and had many interesting talks with Joan when we were members of Fairbanks Crisis Line together. I send thoughts and prayers to all in the family and my hope is that life is good to all of you.

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