Walter (Varri) TorolaX

Born: September 18, 1901

Location: Calumet, Michigan

My name is Walter (Vaari in Finn), Torola. I was born on September 18, 1901, in Haapajarvi, Finland. When I got older, I served 1 year in the Finnish army, fighting against Russia and starvation. I married Aili Olson, and immigrated to New Finland, Canada because there was no work in Finland. I began preaching at the local churches there, and moved to a parsonage in Calumet, Michigan, where I preached at The Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church in Calumet. I learned how to read, write, and speak English by myself. I worked as the editor of a Finnish newspaper called Opas, along with my preaching, and I helped many recover from illness with home remedies. In my elder years I made homemade St. John’s Wort and birch bark tea, and when my son Peter got polio as a young man, I used physical therapy methods that were unheard of at the time. I loved to fish and made my own boats, all called Moosti. My descendants say I taught them a love of farming. Walter (Vaari) Torola passed away on November 20, 1996, at his home in Calumet, Michigan. He was 95 and had 82 grandchildren and over 200 great-grandchildren.

Contributed by: Warren Torola, Calumet Elementary School