Obituary of Osmo Olavi SALO

August 15, 1934 – Jalasjärvi, Finland
June 27, 2020 – Calgary, Alberta

Osmo Salo, beloved husband of Patricia Salo (nee Keezer) of Calgary, AB, passed away on Saturday, June 27, 2020 at the age of 85 years.

Osmo’s early life was strongly influenced by war.  His father, Vilho, was a medic in the Finnish Army for 6 years, and fought the Russian Army during the Winter War when Finland, a small country with a tiny population, withstood the invaders.  No family in Finland escaped the loss of loved ones during that time.

In 1950 Osmo moved with his family from Finland to Västerås, Sweden, where he later graduated from ASEA, a technical college of repute.  He enjoyed his time in Sweden and often spoke of his bicycle trips with friends, and seeing Louie Armstrong and Gene Krupa perform.  Hearing those musicians continued to bring him joy throughout his life.  Track and field was another passion.  Prior to moving to Canada in 1957 he served in the Finnish Army (Jagermeister Corps) for two years.  He told many stories of his army life which always seemed to include a period of kp duty.  

Because he arrived in Canada with little command of English, and qualifications which were not recognized, work was difficult to find so he worked briefly in a nickel mine in Sudbury before moving to Winnipeg. He was joined in Canada by his parents and younger siblings in 1958. 

He married Rita Harju in 1959 and they moved to St. Albert, AB.  While working he began night school to complete Canadian engineering requirements but the death of Rita in 1972 changed the course of his life and of his young son, Brian. In 1974 he moved to Calgary and began a long career in steel design and fabrication. He married Patricia in 1987 and they enjoyed many happy and memorable times together until his passing.

Despite working long hours and taking few vacations Osmo found time to enjoy the outdoors.  Skiing and fishing came first, followed by hunting (although he preferred to come home without having fired a shot as he took greater pleasure in seeing the deer and pheasants over bringing something home for the pot). Camping was another interest, and he was an able woodsman. He enjoyed training his canine friends, in particular the German Shorthair Pointers which shared his later years.

Long road trips were another feature of his life.  Osmo thought nothing of working all day in Calgary, then driving overnight to Vancouver to a job site where he would be walking on steel girders high in the air early the next morning.  He could drive to Winnipeg or Dawson Creek or Salt Lake City in record time and often did.  This ‘get there in a hurry’ characteristic was tempered in later years at the urging of his wife.  

He made his first visit back to Sweden and Finland in 1996 and was very surprised to learn his command of the Finnish language was now considered old-fashioned.  ‘Finglish’ had crept in and the language had evolved in the 39 years since he left.  He connected with many relatives and met new and enduring friends, Ilkka and Marja-Liisa, in Finland.  He also showed his wife and later his son the beauty of both countries, the people and the food.  

He loved to watch hockey games, particularly junior ice hockey, as well as the summer and winter Olympics and the Commonwealth games.  Because of his love for Finland and Sweden, as well as Canada, he always found it difficult to know which country to cheer for, especially when it came to hockey playoff games.  In 1988 during the Winter Olympics in Calgary, he was driving from downtown with Jeff and stopped for a traffic light.  Fortune smiled on him when the driver of the car beside him rolled down his window and offered Osmo 2 tickets to the Finland/Russia gold medal game as he was unable to attend.  Osmo naturally jumped at the chance, but still took time to call home and apologize for missing supper.  

Everyone who met him knew he had the Finnish trait of sisu. This is the quality of tenacity, determination, endurance, resilience and perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds. He met every challenge in his life by working harder without counting the cost to himself. Even when he was debilitated by Parkinson's Disease and chronic pain, he remained a model of sisu. He always brushed off expressions of sympathy and said 'it could be worse'.

Osmo is survived by his wife Patricia, son Brian; stepsons Jeff, Joel (Nadia) and Paul (Aliza); stepdaughters Leigh (Annette) and Robin (Marty); brother Goran Samuel (Inez) of Calgary; sister Tarja (Teri) Reetta Helena (Graham) of Saskatoon; sister-in-law Yvonne; nephews and niece Eric (Alison), Jason (Kyle), Michael (Rebekah) and Adrianna (Doug); granddaughter Lilly; and many extended family and friends.

He was predeceased by his first wife Rita, brother Esko Esa (Yvonne) of Dawson Creek, and his parents, Laimi and Vilho Salo. 

Private Funeral Services will be held at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY (Fish Creek, 14441 Bannister Road SE, Calgary, AB) on Saturday, July 4, 2020.  Condolences, memories and photos may be shared and viewed on Osmo’s obituary at www.McInnisandHolloway.com.

The family would like to thank Dr. Jeremy Myles and the compassionate caring staff at Foothills Medical Centre, as well as the good friends and neighbours who visited him at home to share many hours of companionship and fishing stories.

In living memory of Osmo Salo, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Fish Creek, 14441 BANNISTER ROAD SE, CALGARY, AB T2X 3J3, Telephone: 403-256-9575.

Share Your Memory of