NASELLE - Walter Erola, 94, died June 28, 2005, at his Naselle residence. The son of Eino and Hilma (Tamylla) Erola, he was born Oct. 10, 1910, in Kongingkangas, Finland. He grew up and received his education in Finland, and at age 25 became a missionary in Burma for the Pentecostal Church of Finland.
With the outbreak of World War II, Japan invaded Burma and he fled to India. There he was recruited by British and U.S. forces to serve as a chaplain and given the rank of captain. When the war ended, Mr. Erola immigrated to the United States and was granted U.S. citizenship as a result of his military service.
He attended Bethel College in Minnesota, and received his degree in sociology from Seattle Pacific College. In 1950, he returned to Burma as a missionary for the Assembly of God church. He served as pastor of the Assembly of God in Chinook during 1963-64 and in 1965 began a 20-year ministry in The Philippines before retiring to Naselle in 1985. For 15 years, he faithfully visited and preached in his native Finland, making his final trip in 2002. He was a member of the Naselle Assembly of God.
Mr. Erola had three books published in Finland chronicling his ministry and life adventures. He enjoyed history and woodworking, but his passion was his ministry. His life and work were a testimony to his faithfulness to God and he was a true son of Finland.
He met Lucille Verheyen while attending college in Minnesota. They were married Aug. 28, 1948. She survives. Also surviving are sons, W. Alan Erola of Federal Way, and Edwin Erola of Chinook; grandchildren, Elena, Scott, Brent and Chelsea Erola. He was preceded in death by a brother Arno.
A funeral service was held on July 2, at the Naselle Assembly of God. Concluding graveside service was at Peaceful Hill Cemetery in Naselle. Memorials may be made to the Naselle Assembly of God in care of Penttila's Chapel by The Sea, P.O. Box 417, Long Beach, WA 98631.