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January 16, 1952 ~ October 15, 2023 (age 71) 71 Years Old
31 Trees, Flowers, or Condolences have been shared with support of Ann's family - View on Tribute Wall
Ann Pihlaja, 71, of Mass City, MI passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, October 15, 2023 at Aspirus Wausau Hospital in Wausau, WI.
Ann was born on January 16, 1952 in Syracuse, NY to the late Nellie Christine Carter.
She graduated from Corcoran High School in Syracuse, NY in 1971 and soon after enlisted in the United States Airforce. As a female pioneer, Ann was one of the first female Airmen to enter her unit in Illinois in 1972.
Ann married Michael Pihlaja of Mass City on June 21, 1975. Mike and Ann were stationed in Eielson Airforce Base in Fairbanks, AK where they started their family. They moved to Mass City in 1981. Ann earned an Associate Degree from Gogebic Community College in 1998 and went on to work for the American Red Cross and was the Commander of The American Legion. She enjoyed photography, painting, crafts, and making greeting cards of all types. Ann participated in many craft shows over the years and volunteered at the Depot Gallery in Bruce Crossing. Ann is honored to have one of her photos still currently displayed at the state capital in Lansing. Ann’s pride and joy were her two children, Daniel and Jeri along with her three grandchildren, Isaac, Emma, and Alex. If you were to run into Ann out and about, she would be sure to brag about her kids and grandkids. Ann enjoyed every opportunity to visit and travel all over the world with Jeri in the Army. She often stayed for several months to help her settle in.
Ann was a dedicated meteorologist for East Branch, reporting to the WUPY radio station for well over 30 years. You could always count on Ann to have the coffee pot on, bakery on the table, and her Scrabble board ready for a game.
Ann was preceded in death by her mother, Nellie Christine Carter and her brother William R. VanPatten.
She is survived by her husband of forty-eight years, Michael Pihlaja, two sisters, Linda (Larry) Barner, Dorene Pritchard, and brother Kennett (Margaret) Carter, along with her three sisters-in-law, Cindy Russell, Sandy Pihlaja, Peggy (Matthew) Banach, and her 9 nieces, 6 nephews, 11 grandnieces, and 6 grandnephews.
Ann was loved by her two children, Daniel Pihlaja and Jeri Pihlaja, and her beloved grandchildren Isaac, Emma, and Alex Pihlaja. She also leaves behind her cherished 14-year-old feist terrier, Ziva. ‘You will always be remembered in our hearts and we will forever miss your hugs’.
A church service will be held on Monday, October 23, 2023 at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Mass City, MI. Visitation/viewing will be held from 10:00am to 11:00am, with the service starting at 11:00am. There will be a luncheon in the basement of the church following the service. The family will schedule a graveside service at the Maple Grove Cemetery in Greenland next spring or summer.
Cane Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations be made to help assist with Ann's final expenses.