Ethel May Kanniainen

March 21, 1927February 10, 2018

Ethel May Kanniainen, age 90 years, died February 10, 2018 in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Ethel was born March 21, 1927 in Detroit, Michigan to Amanda (Aho) and Ralph Berry. In her youth she loved big band music, dancing and shoes. During WWII she worked as a teletype operator for Western Union. She married 'my soldier' and childhood sweetheart Yalmer Kanniainen in February 1946 upon his return from the Philippines. She met Yalmer at the Calumet home of her grandparents in the Upper Peninsula. Their families had maintained close ties after immigrating together from Puolanka, Finland. Ethel and Yalmer made their home in Dearborn, Michigan. After years at home raising her three children, Ethel converted part-time temp work into a full-time position with the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. She began as a typist in the editorial department and retired as supervisor of the circulation department for the Society’s technical journal, an achievement of which she was very proud. Upon retirement, they traveled and built new homes in the Upper Peninsula, northern Wisconsin and Traverse City, reveling in being part of new communities. After Yalmer’s death in 1986 she continued to travel in the U.S. and wintered in Arizona and Florida. In 1991 she put down roots in Dexter, Michigan to be near her family. Throughout her years she was a strong, loving person who gave of herself unstintingly. She was an avid follower of politics, delighted in movies, read constantly and used her computer to keep current with her now widespread family. Never idle, she was a skilled quilter and knitter. There are many beautifully crafted coverlets, afghans, baby blankets and booties that have warmed the recipients with the love she put in every stitch.

She is preceded in death by her husband and two sisters Patsy and Muriel. She is survived by her brothers Ralph and Mike Berry and numerous nieces and nephews. Her love and legacy lives on in her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her son, Kenneth (Karen) and daughters Nancy (László Boros) and Karen (David) Keller. Her grandchildren Lisa Kanniainen, Áron Boros (Hillary Mull), Ádám (Ntsako) Boros, Kendra (Mike) Means and Anna Liisa Keller. Her great-grandchildren Elizabeth, Julia, Isaac, Masana, Andani, and Logan.

Her memorial service will be held on Sunday, March 4 at 3:00 p.m. at Webster United Church of Christ in Dexter, Michigan; Pastor Marcia Meabon officiating. She will be buried next to her husband at Ft. Custer National Cemetery in Battle Creek. Memorials in her name may be given to Webster UCC, which she considered her family's spiritual home, or to Gilbert Residence Assisted Living in Ypsilanti where she resided for the last two years of her life.



  • Memorial Service Sunday, March 4, 2018


  • Laid to Rest

Ethel May Kanniainen

have a memory or condolence to add?

Mary Henzie

March 3, 2018

After graduating from high school, I was given a knitted Afghan by Mrs. K. Where ever I lived, it added a beautiful accent to my surroundings. Something that impresses me to this day is that she chose for me a color to match my personality, as she did for the Afghans she gave to her daughters.

She was a wonderful woman who I will always remember with love.

Tonia Haugh

February 25, 2018

I loved visiting Auntie Ethel and Uncle Yalmer at their home in the U.P. She would always take time away from visiting with the adults to sit with me and watch for deer, and then she showed me how to feed them right from our hands. She was a strong, caring person whom I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with.

Karen Block

February 25, 2018

Thank you Auntie Ethel for the bridal shower that you gave me in 1968. Also the good memories of camping with your family at Baraga Park in the U.P. love Karen block.

Michael Kanniainen

February 24, 2018

Aunt Ethel I will always Cherish our Memories over my life time My younger days in your Home in Dearborn then my teen years in Newberry Mi. and the short few time I was able to See you at Karen Ann's Home. My heart weeps with sorrow that I will no longer visit with You on this earth. Your Sweat Kind Caring heart filled Memories will be with me for ever. Love you Michael Kanniainen

Ron Ylitalo

February 24, 2018

Aunt Ethel,
Thank you for being there for us so many years ago.

Phillip Palmer

February 13, 2018

Love you Aunt were a blessing to us all

Donna House

February 11, 2018

We love you Aunt Ethel & you will be missed. So happy I have memories