1919 – Mar. 12, 2014
Aili was born on August 2, 1919, at home, in Turku Abo Finland to Johan Fredrik and Anna Josefina Stenlund. Mom lost her mother shortly after birth. Her life took twists and turns with World War 11 setting her destiny. In winter of 1951 a letter arrived with enough money for a one way boat fare to Halifax and then by train to Red Deer. Mom arrived in July 1952. She was met by Arttu Stenlund, her step brother, who had sponsored her trip. Mom found employment at the Eckville Hospital. Her love of dance took her to local social events and it was there Aili met Oliver Ropsfelt. Oliver and Aili married on March 19, 1954. They took over the family farm, raised 3 daughters, happily managed cattle and crops, and retired to travel and fish. Mom loved her life on the farm. It lent to her passion animals, and animals of all kind were found on the farm, carefully tended to by Mom. Mom worked tirelessly, not one to complain, always caring. She did not share stories of hardship. We do not know much about her life in Finland. We call her our “Mystery Mom”. We are grateful for her love and care. Despite the onset of dementia, a loss of hearing, and a short struggle with cancer, Mom never gave up her tender and loving ways. Her pats on the cheek, her clapping hands showing joy, and her kind words ” I like you”. She liked a lot of people. Aili was predeceased by her step brothers Johan Oskar Stenlund, Authur Anto Stenlund (Arttu), Johan Einar Stenlund, Hugo Alfred Saarinen, Gunnar Aleksander Saarinen, Vilho Mauriz Saarinen, brothers Paavo Nikolai Stenlund, Aarno Jaako Edvin Kateisto, sisters Jenny Maria Stenlund, Anni Elise Stenlund and Aili’s husband, John Oliver Ropsfelt in Oct 1989. She is survived by her daughters, Brenda (Dick Fleetham), Ann (Fred Declerck) and Marlene (Mario Venagas), Tomas and Dion Declerck, her grandchildren Mackenzie and John Fleetham, Aaron, Aili, and Ayla Declerck, and her 3 great grandchildren Stenlund, Maximilliano, and Iker Fleetham. A tribute and honouring of Aili’s life will be held at the Royal Canadian Legion Hall, 4916-50Ave, Sylvan Lake, at 2:00 pm, on March 22, 2014. Anna-Liisa Raatikainen will be giving words of kindness and song. A private graveside service will be held at Kuusamo Cemetery, with David Drews officiating. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you please consider a donation to Medicine River Wildlife Center Box 115 Spruceview, Ab T0M 1V0. Funeral arrangements are entrusted with Rocky and Sylvan Lake Funeral Homes and Crematorium, your Goldern Rule Funeral Homes.