Beaverton Historical Society
Gladwin County Obituary/Death Notice
Tekla Halme

   Tekla Miriam Halme died peacefully on March 21, 2007 in a nursing home in Royal Oak after hip surgery. She was born in Ontonagon, Michigan on Aug.16, 1916 to Edward and Alina Heikkila. She had eight siblings who have predeceased her.

   She and Russel Halme were married in Ontonagon in 1936 and daughter Patricia was born in 1938. The family moved from Ontonagon to Detroit, where Ceola (now known as Nakeesha) was born in 1942.

   They then moved to Aleta in 1946, then to Berkeley and then to Beaverton in 1970. Russel died in 1991 and upon his death she moved to an apartment in Gladwin and then to senior residences in Midland in her later years.

   Her eight grandchildren enjoyed visits to Tekla’s and Russel’s home on Birch Point in Beaverton where Tekla organized camp-outs, canoeing, hiking and games of scrabble. Nine great-grandchildren and two more expected, are spread to Toronto, Canada; Taos, New Mexico; and Portland, Oregon.

   Education was very important to Tekla. Although she completed only eight years of public education she earned a GED in her adult years and took college courses at Wayne State University, Oakland University and Delta College. She encouraged her three daughters to complete degrees in higher education.

   Tekla lived a life of service for her family and community. She was dedicated to improving the lives of others. Her history includes a life of volunteerism; in Ontonagon she served in a rural health program. In Berkeley she served as a Girl Scout leader for 24 years, she drove for the Red Cross Motor Unit, was Sunday School superintendent, participated in PTA in her children’s schools and upon retirement in Beaverton, she organized classes for ADC (Aid to Dependent Children) and served as a liaison for the public schools.

   Tekla successfully lobbied to establish the Mid-Michigan Alliance Community Action Agency and became its first director. She developed a Mother’s Club that encouraged young, poor women to attend college. Tekla’s organization for Gladwin County citizens led to many successful programs for seniors, such as “Meals on wheels,” “Dial-a-Ride,” and a federally funded food program. In her later years she benefited from the programs she helped create.

   Her volunteer work was acknowledged when she received the annual Certificate of Merit for 10 years. The Silver Salute Award, presented each year to one volunteer for outstanding service, was presented in 1983.

   Tekla also believed in the life of the spirit. She was active in the First Presbyterian Church of Beaverton. She read about religious life, and in her later years enjoyed the services on television and became an avid reader, saying she had “finally time to sit down and read.”.

   The family held a private memorial service at Sisson Funeral Home in Gladwin on March 26, 2007 where family members told stories about Tekla, and her grandchildren sang. Each of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren knew a different part of Tekla.

   Roger Brown, former pastor of the First Presbyterian Church and good friend to Tekla, said, “Her heart went out to women.

   She was the best social worker I know. She was a powerful and loving woman.” We hope by each of us remembering a part of her, we would presume to acknowledge the thoughtful, competent, loving and extraordinary woman of Tekla Miriam Heikkila Halme.

   In the summer of 2007, Tekla’s three daughters will carry her ashes to Ontonagon to be interred beside Russel Contributions may be sent to the Beaverton Community Center at 142 Saginaw St., Beaverton, MI, 48612.

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Gladwin County Record, Gladwin, MI
P:A2 C:?
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September 2009
Bob Frei
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