WASHINGTON, DC: Legislation authored by Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) to name the post office building in Munising, Michigan after Mrs. Elizabeth L. Kinnunen was passed recently by the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Mrs. Kinnunen’s family should be deservedly proud of her life and accomplishments.
Like so many people in Northern Michigan, her life’s story was one of fidelity to
her family and to her country. It is wonderful to see this legislation be passed
by the House and I hope to see it reach the president’s desk as soon as possible,”
stated Dr. Benishek, a lifelong resident of the Upper Peninsula.
Ms. Kinnunen, born Elizabeth L. Paasto, immigrated 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
“I am completely taken by it of course. I know if my mother was here today she would
say: thank you, thank you, thank you. She would be the first person in disbelief
of receiving this honor. She would say there are so many other mothers who have
made and continue to make the same sacrifice that she has made, they should be
recognized as she is being recognized,” said Jerry Kinnunen, Mrs. Kinnunen’s son.
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.
“As an upstanding citizen and devoted two gold-star mother, Mrs. Kinnunen undoubtedly
earned this designation. Naming this post office will be a great way for the community
of Munising to celebrate her life and accomplishments,” added Dr. Benishek.
H.R. 3378 passed the U.S. House of Representatives by voice vote on December 20,