ASTORIA — Howard Wirkkala, Jr. passed away peacefully at Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria, Ore., on Jan. 10, 2017. He was born on Feb. 4, 1935. Howard was 81 years old.
He was the second of two children born to Howard Wirkkala, Sr. and Georgina Wirkkala (nee Culbertson). He and his sister Arlene grew up in Naselle, Wash., among numerous uncles, aunts and cousins. Howard cherished his Finnish heritage.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Howard managed numerous logging crews for nearly six decades throughout the Pacific Northwest. On the job, and to many friends and cousins, he was known as “Sonny.” To his family he was Dad, Grandpa and Big Grandpa. Howard was well-known for a sharp wit, which brought humor and levity to all occasions. Howard will be missed and never forgotten.
Howard was preceded in death by Audrey, his wife of 56 years; his parents, and his sister Arlene Chapman.
He is survived by his five children, Andrew Wirkkala of Arlington, Va.; Jerald Wirkkala and his wife Karen of Bothell, Wash.; Julie Wirkkala of Washington, D.C.; Jenelle Wirkkala of Auburn, Wash.; and Christopher Wirkkala of Kirkland, Wash. Howard’s seven grandchildren are Evan Wirkkala, Rheanne Wirkkala, Natalie Wirkkala, Sydney Wirkkala, Baird Lehman, Riley Lehman and Taylor Crow. His four great-grandchildren are Penelope Wirkkala, Blaise Wirkkala, Magnolia Wirkkala and Percy Wirkkala Duncan.
A memorial service is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 19 at 1 p.m. at the Naselle Lutheran Church with the interment to follow at Peaceful Hill Cemetery. There will be a public viewing at Penttila’s Chapel by the Sea in Long Beach, Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 18 from 3:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Naselle Volunteer Fire Department.