Fitchburg- Ellen M. (Myllymaki) Hill, 96, died Saturday, May 9, 2020 at Fitchburg Healthcare.
Her husband of 59 years, Weikko J. Hill died in 2002.
Ellen leaves a son Dennis Hill, of Canterbury, NH; a brother, Wilho Myllymaki and his wife Ellen Myllymaki of Battle Ground, WA; two nieces, Lynn Karlsen and Jane Hannu and one nephew, David Myllymaki, all of Battle Ground, WA.
She was born in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, the daughter of August and Nanni Myllymaki, and lived and went to school in New Ipswich. After graduating from Appleton Academy near the beginning of World War II, she moved to Fitchburg to find employment and went to work for United Cooperative Society of Fitchburg, a consumer co-op that had been founded in the city in 1912 by Finnish immigrants. By the time she had begun working at the Co-op, it was already a well-established and successful business entity in the city.
As the war went on, the Co-op wanted to expand both its membership and the goods and services it could provide to its members. Ellen, still only in her 20s, was named as the only woman to an Education Committee to study these matters and formulate suggestions on gaining new members. She soon became the Membership Secretary of the Co-op, a position she held until it ceased its operations in 1980.
Both her and her husband’s work lives and social lives were so intertwined with the Finnish American community that Ellen began a new career as a bookkeeper for Raivaaja, the Finnish newspaper that had begun in 1905 and was still being published in Fitchburg. Over the years she attended many and varied Finnish events at the former Saima Hall at the base of Rollstone Hill and summertime events at Saima Park.
During the 1940s through the 1970s it wasn’t unusual for various older Finns, usually with limited English-speaking ability, to seek her out and ask her to translate for them different types of documents written in English and then to explain what those documents meant.
In consideration of our current restrictions on gatherings and to preserve the health of others, burial will be held privately in the Forest Hill Cemetery, Fitchburg.
For those who wish to make a memorial contribution in Ellen’s memory, kindly consider the Raivaaja Foundation, 640 Townsend Road, Groton, MA 01450., which is currently engaged in electronically preserving all 104 years of archived issues of the former Raivaaja newspaper from 1905 to 2009.
The Smith-Mallahy-Masciarelli and the Fitchburg Chapel of the Sawyer-Miller-Masciarelli Funeral Homes, 243 Water Street, have been entrusted with Ellen’s care.
John F. Masciarelli and Walter C. Taylor funeral directors
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