Anita Josephine Matilda Karvakko Sikorsky passed away on October 25, 2021, at Gundersen Medical Center in LaCrosse. She was born to August and Mary Karvakko on April 28, 1921, in South Range, Michigan. She was 100 years old when she passed away. She died due to complications arising from COVID-19. She had been fully vaccinated against the disease.
Anita spent most of her life in Upper Michigan. She attended the Adams Township Schools in Painesdale, MI. She went on from Jeffers High School to Suomi College (now Finlandia University) where she is a distinguished alumna. She also attended Northern Michigan University where she obtained a teaching degree. From college she moved to the lower peninsula of Michigan and taught school in Northville and Central Lake. In addition to teaching English at these schools she directed school musicals and, in Central Lake, she was the girls’ basketball coach. She returned to the UP and met the love of her life, John Sikorsky, while she was teaching in the L’Anse High School and he was attending Michigan Tech. They married in June 1948. After their marriage and after John graduated from college, they moved to Ottawa, IL, but the lure of the UP was too great and they returned, first to Rockland, then Iron Mountain and eventually back to L’Anse in 1955. She worked in the L’Anse Junior High School and High School teaching English, Speech and German. After retirement she continued to substitute teach in L’Anse at both the public and parochial schools until she was in her 80’s. Her hundreds of students will remember, not only her high expectations, but her willingness to help them meet those expectations with kindness and good humor. She remained in L’Anse until January 2017, when she moved to Sparta, WI, to be closer to family.
Anita was an excellent pianist and accompanied many choirs and soloists. She was involved in many civic organizations, and most importantly to her, her church, First Lutheran Church of L’Anse (now United Lutheran). In addition to her many talents and interests Anita will be remembered by many for her storytelling and infectious laughter and tenderhearted kindness.
Anita is survived by her sister, Phelma Jacobsen of Luray, VA, her daughter Anah Kirshbaum in Flagstaff, AZ, her son PJ (Nancy) Sikorsky of Sparta, WI, her granddaughter Erin (Jon) Sikorsky-Stewart and great grandchildren Maggie and Teddy of Washington, DC and her granddaughter Tatiana (Dan) Wiersema and great grandson Jack of Austin, TX and numerous nieces and nephews. She was proceeded in death by her husband, John, her parents August and Mary Karvakko, a sister Fern Karvakko, a brother Paul Karvakko and a brother Hubert Karvakko.
The family would like to acknowledge and thank the awesome, incredible, compassionate staff at the Gundersen Medical Center throughout her recent illness. We also want to thank the staff at Morrow Home for their kind and loving care for mother over the past 5 years. In lieu of flowers memorials can be sent in her name to Gundersen Medical Foundation, 1836 South Avenue, LaCrosse, WI 54601; United Lutheran Church, 21 Mesnard St., L’Anse, MI 49946 or Finlandia University, 601 Quincy St., Hancock, MI 49930.
In respect for the dangers of meeting in these COVID times, there will be a small, private funeral in Wisconsin soon, with a celebration of life on the shore of Lake Superior in L’Anse in spring or early summer.
Online condolences may be offered to Anita’s family at www.schanhoferfh.com
The Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home and Cremation, Sparta, is assisting the family with arrangements.
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