Sonja Anita (Kangas-Salo) Aalto | News, Sports, Jobs

ROCK, MI – Sonja Anita (Kangas-Salo) Aalto, of 941 W. Maple Ridge 37th Road, Rock, died of natural causes on Friday, Nov. 18th, 2022, at Lakeview Assisted Living in Gladstone, Michigan. She was 83 years old.

Sonja was born on July 23rd, 1939, in Suomi Location in Richmond Township in Marquette County, Michigan. She was the daughter of Svea (Johnson) and William Kangas. Sonja was one of seven siblings who grew up in Suomi Location. She graduated from Negaunee High School in 1957. She later married, Raymond “ray” Salo, and the couple had two sons, Mark and Allen. The Salo family lived in Michigan, Minnesota, Massachusetts and North Dakota. Ray died in 1980 and Allen died in 2020.

Sonja worked many years in banking including First National Bank in Manistique, Michigan, and banks in Benson, Minnesota and Amhearst, Massachusetts. In 1978, Sonja and Ray opened the Tall Timber Store in Gwinn, Michigan. She worked at the KI Sawyer Air Force Base Exchange Store. Sonja also worked for the US Defense Logistics Agency in Battle Creek, Michigan, retiring in 2003 after 21 years of service. During her employment with the federal government, she was awarded a plaque of appreciation for saving the lives of 29 sailors after she located a vital component in time to repair the air system of a submarine in the Pacific Ocean. After living with her son, Mark, and his family for a year in Bozeman, Montana, Sonja moved to Harvey in Marquette County.

On July 7th, 1977, Sonja married Howard “Howie” Aalto and they made their home in Rock.

Sonja was a member of the Rock Senior Center, the Rock Bible Chapel Chorus, the Ladies of the Elk in Marquette, and the Sweet Adelines in Battle Creek. She enjoyed singing and dancing as well as reading, swimming, golf, and cross-country skiing.

Sonja is survived by: her husband, Howard, of Rock; son, Mark (Laurie) Salo of Bozeman, Montana; two granddaughters, Whitney (Holden) Jelinak of Gillette, Wyoming, and Jordan Salo of Bozeman, Montana; a daughter-in-law, Christina Salo, and stepgrandsons, Nathan and Justin Quint, all of Maine; five sibings, David (Jackie) Kangas of Gwinn, Diana Peterson of Marquette, Priscilla (Brian) Hammond of Lake Placid, NY, James (Lynn) Solomon of Suomi Location, and John (Shirley) Solomon of Ishpeming, Michigan; and several nieces, nephews and cousins. Sonja is also survived by Howard’s children: Elizabeth “Liz” Coatsworth of Niceville, Florida; Brenda “Bim” (Fred) Ahtila of Gobles, Michigan; Greg “Heck” Alto of Rock; and Jeffrey “Jeff” (Faith) Aalto of Escanaba, Michigan and their families.

Sonja was preceded in death by: her parents; her first husband; and son; and brother, William “Billy” Kangas and a brother-in-law, Don Peterson.

A funeral service and burial will take place in the spring.


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