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 was 83 years old.

Sonja was born on July 23, 1939 in Suomi Location, Richmond Township, 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 “Beam” 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 and retired in 2003 after 21 years of service. During her employment with the federal government, she was awarded a plaque of recognition 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 living in Bozeman, Montana with her son Mark and his family for a year, Sonja moved to Harvey, Marquette County.

On July 7, 1977 Sonja married Howard “Howi” Aalto and she settled in Rock.

Sonja has been 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 enjoyed singing and dancing, as well as reading, swimming, golf, and cross-country skiing.

Sonja leaves behind: her husband Howard from 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-grandchildren, Nathan and Justin Quint, all from 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, nephews and cousins. Sonja is also survived by Howard’s children: Elizabeth “Liz” Coatsworth of Niceville, Florida; brenda “bim” (Fred) Ahtila of Gobles, Michigan; Greg “Devil” Aalto by Rock; and Jeffrey “Jeff” (Faith) Aalto of Escanaba, Michigan and their families.

Sonja was preceded in death: her parents; her first husband; a son; a brother, William “Billy” Kangas and a brother-in-law, Don Peterson.

A memorial service and burial will be held in the spring.

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