Parnell orders flags lowered for Koponen

ANCHORAGE — Alaska state flags are set to be lowered next week in memory of former Fairbanks state Rep. Niilo Koponen, who died Tuesday at the Fairbanks Pioneers Home.

Koponen was 85 years old.

Gov. Sean Parnell issued the order for state flags to be lowered Wednesday in Koponen’s memory.

Koponen and his wife, Joan, moved to Fairbanks in 1952. They cleared trees to plant hay and raise animals.

Koponen also helped organize a credit union and a volunteer fire department.

The Democrat won a seat in the state House in 1982. He left a decade later when Joan Koponen was seriously injured in a car crash.

Niilo Koponen also had a career as an educator.

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