THE VILLAGES, Fla. - Pearl Regina (Tahtinen) Juntunen DeBoer, 97, passed away peacefully on Jan. 15, 2013, in The Villages Regional Hospital, The Villages, Fla., following a heart attack. She was born in Baraga, Mich., on July 24, 1915, to Erick and Aina (Hogander) Ylitalo Tahtinen, Finnish immigrants who homesteaded in Pelkie, Mich. As a child she attended the Pelkie one-room schoolhouse.
Pearl married Arne Juntunen in 1936 and spent the next 10 years living in Chicago and Detroit before moving to Escanaba, Mich., in 1947. Those were hard years that included the loss of their first child, Duann Karin. A second daughter, Cheryl Rae, was born in 1948. Pearl and Arne owned and operated the Escanaba Public Steam Bath until 1950 when it was sold to another Finnish couple. Mesa, Ariz., was also their winter home for more than 20 years. In 1993, Pearl married Alvin DeBoer in Mesa, Ariz. They enjoyed many years together.
Pearl was a devoted mother and accomplished homemaker. She had the gift of hospitality often inviting friends to share a meal and conversation. She enjoyed knitting and sewing and was a 4-H leader guiding many girls with their skills. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren remember her hugs, soft skin, and her captivating stories.
Pearl Regina (Tahtinen) Juntunen DeBoer
Pearl was a member of Bethany Lutheran Church. Over the years she was active in the Dartball League, The Women's Circle, The Senior Citizens Group, and the Sewing Group. Her friends at church were special to her and she missed them all very much when she moved away to live with her daughter. Her one consolation, however, was living at a Bible College in Waukesha, Wis., where she watched young people learning to become Christ followers. She became "grandma" to them.
Pearl was predeceased by her husband, Arne, in 1989. Also preceding her in death were her siblings, Saima, Ellen, Charles, Hugo, Fanny, Vilho, Jenny, Eileen, Agda, Oiva, Agdrina, Oiva, Herman, William, and Donald. She is survived by one daughter, Cheryl (Jan) Bast of The Villages, Fla.; four grandchildren: Aimee (Steve) Bellingar, Caleb (Carrie) Bast, Joshua (Jennifer) Bast, and Arne Bast; eight great-grandchildren, Taryn, Davin, Dana, and Janaea Bellingar and Seija, Ani, Elah, and Talia Bast; sister-in-law, Bertha Hart; nieces, Olivia LaRue, Anne Juntunen, Joyce Capen, Nancy White; and nephews, Floyd LaRue and Michael Hart; many cousins living in Finland; and former spouse, Alvin DeBoer.
A visitation will be held on Saturday, May 18, from 10 to 11 a.m. at Bethany Lutheran Church in Escanaba. Funeral services celebrating the life of Pearl will follow at 11 a.m. with Rev. Eric Heskin officiating. A luncheon will be served in the church fellowship hall at the conclusion of the service. Burial will take place in the Gardens of Rest Cemetery. Those wishing to offer a memorial in Pearl's honor are kindly asked to consider Bethany Lutheran Church.
The Anderson Funeral Homes of Escanaba and Gladstone are assisting the family and expressions of sympathy and online condolences may be directed to www.andersonfuneralhomes.net.