Courtesy: Congressman Dan Benishek’s Office
WASHINGTON, DC — Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) released the following statement after the Senate passed H.R. 2223, which will name the post office building in Munising, Michigan after Mrs. Elizabeth L. Kinnunen. The legislation, which was written by Dr. Benishek and passed by the House of Representatives in July 2014, is now headed to President Obama’s desk for signature.
“Mrs. Kinnunen’s family should be incredibly proud of her life’s accomplishments, as well as her dedication to her family and this great country. After years of hard work by the Munising community, Mrs. Kinnunen will be forever honored and celebrated in Northern Michigan. As an upstanding citizen and devoted two gold-star mother, Mrs. Kinnunen certainly earned this designation.”
Ms. Kinnunen, born Elizabeth L. Paasto, emigrated from Finland in 1903 and married Oscar Kinnunen in 1909. Mr. and Mrs. Kinnunen operated a boarding house in Marquette, Michigan. There they provided warm beds to countless timber and mining workers in Marquette County. Oscar and Elizabeth had eleven children. Eventually, they moved to Munising, Michigan. Oscar worked for Munising Paper Company and Elizabeth worked as a local cook. Mrs. Kinnunen was a faithful member of the Messiah Lutheran Church in Munising.
Two of Kinnunen’s sons, Eiso Kinnunen and Raymond Kinnunen, were both killed defending America’s freedom. Eiso was killed in action during the Battle of the Bulge in 1945, one of the most critical and decisive campaigns of World War II, while Raymond was killed during the Korean War in 1952. These two tragic deaths led to Kinnunen earning the unfortunate distinction as a two-gold star mother. In addition, Kinnunen had another son, Reino Kinnunen, who served this country in West Germany.
Elizabeth died on April 5, 1974, at the age of 81.