obit template2018-11-29T12:10:12+00:00

Eeva Kaarina

Eeva Kaarina Nunnally (née Partinen) passed away on June 14 after a wonderfully long life, which she filled with all the vigor and joy of a fiercely independent person. She was immensely creative, bluntly honest, and always unconventional. Eeva was born in Viipuri, Finland on August 22, 1927, but she spent most of her childhood and youth in Helsinki. In 1950 she met Elam Nunnally of Decatur, Georgia, when they were both helping to build a community health center in Pelkosenniemi, north of the Arctic Circle. A year later they were married in Helsinki. They then began their life together in the United States, first in Chicago, then in Milwaukee, with a few years spent in Minneapolis. They lived more than four decades in Shorewood while Elam was a professor of Social Welfare at UWM. Theirs was a close and loving partnership that lasted until Elam’s death in 2010. Together they raised five children, traveled frequently in northern Europe, and took many road trips around the U.S. They shared a passionate interest in psychology, child-rearing, and social issues. They loved camping, bicycling, walking, and polka dancing. Eeva was staunchly proud of her Finnish heritage, which gave her a strength of will best described by the Finnish word “sisu,” meaning fortitude, perseverance, and nerve. She loved the brisk cold of Wisconsin winters, and she could be found shoveling snow well into her eighties. She loved fresh flowers and bright colors, and she had a special talent for weaving and textiles. She was the heart of her American, Swedish, and Finnish family. She passed on to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren her love of reading, her sense of fun, and her curiosity about the world. She was a warm and generous friend, known for offering sage advice. We will all miss her greatly, but whenever there is an art fair, international festival, or musical event in town, we will remember her enthusiastic voice saying: “You should go!” And we will put on our shoes and go. If you would like to honor Eeva’s memory, please donate a book to your local library.

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