ROCK, MI – Sonja Anita (Kangas-Salo) Aalto, of 941 W. Maple Ridge 37th Road, Rock, died of natural causes on Friday, November 18, 2022 at Lakeview Assisted Living in Gladstone, Michigan. She turned 83 years old.
Sonja was born on July 23, 1939 at 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 in banking for many years, 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, where she retired in 2003 after 21 years of service. During her tenure in the federal government, she received a plaque of appreciation for saving the lives of 29 sailors after finding a vital component in time to repair a submarine’s air system in the Pacific. After a year living with her son Mark and his family in Bozeman, Montana, Sonja moved to Harvey in Marquette County.
On July 7, 1977, Sonja married Howard “How” Aalto and she settled 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 loved to sing and dance, as well as reading, swimming, golfing, and cross-country skiing.
Sonja is survived by: her husband, Howard, van Rock; a 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 step-grandsons, Nathan and Justin Quint, all of Maine; five siblings, 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 and nephews. Sonja is also survived by Howard’s children: Elizabeth “Liz” Coatsworth of Niceville, Florida; Brenda “bim” (Fred) Ahtila of Gobles, Michigan; Greg “Damn” Aalto of Rock; and Jeffrey “Jeff” (Faith) Aalto from Escanaba, Michigan and their families.
Sonja was preceded in death by: her parents; her first husband; a son; a brother, William “Billy” Kangas and a brother-in-law, Don Peterson.
A funeral service and burial will be held in the spring.