August 27, 2020
Mary Ellen (Simukka) Saari, 85, of Naselle, WA, died peacefully on August 18, 2020, in Longview, WA. She was born on February 13, 1935, to Matt and Ester Simukka and was a life-long resident of, in her words, “good-ole Naselle.” She loved her Lord, family, friends, hometown, and her Finnish heritage. While in high school, she played the clarinet in the band as well as in the Naselle Assembly of God orchestra. She also played the piano and sang duets with her sister Helen in church. She graduated from Naselle High School in 1954 and wed the love of her life, Leo, on July 10th of the same year. They were happily married 66 years. She loved her four children, five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. They were a constant source of joy to her.
Mary was a hard working and giving person. She and Leo raised beef on their farm in Naselle for their whole married life until Leo’s health dictated retirement. She served as Sunday School secretary for many years as well as a Missionettes girls’ club leader. Mary also served as a precinct election worker until elections switched to mail-in. She did free hair care for ladies at the Cathlamet nursing home for many years. She served at senior dinners well past the entry point for herself. Mary also worked until recently as a custodial worker at the Hair Villa and Naselle Library. This is in addition to doing the books for L&M Trucking until Leo retired. She lived a life of Sisu. Mary loved to watch the Mariners play on TV, and her favorite shows were Jimmy Swaggart, Larry’s Diner, and Keeping Up Appearances. She was preceded in death by her granddaughter, Victoria Bennett, her sisters Sylvia, Elsie and Helen and brothers Fritz, Arvin and Ed. She is survived by her husband Leo, of Naselle, children Randy (Deborah) Saari, Vancouver, WA, Cheryl (Bob) Caetano, Naselle, WA, Byron (Kathleen) Saari, Longview WA, and Diane (Alan) Bennett, Naselle, WA; brother Alfred Simukka, of Naselle, as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Mary was a long time member of Naselle Assembly of God and cherished her weekly Bible study group. Her life is summed up in the words of the apostle John: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 1:4 ). She is now enjoying a much deserved rest with her Heavenly Father.