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Bernhart (Ben) Savikko of Douglas, died Aug. 18, 2010, at the age of 93. He is survived by his beloved wife, Nell Peltier Savikko and their five children, Michele Savikko Bilyeu (Larry), Dr. Douglas Savikko (Becky), Herman Savikko (Paula), Kurt Savikko (Holly), and Rick Savikko (Shelley).
Ben was introduced to Nell as a pen pal when he was attending the University of Washington and met, fell in love and married his Cajun-French sweetheart in St. Martinville, La. on April 9, 1949. Ben and Nell raised three children in New Orleans while Ben attended Tulane University. They moved back to Douglas in 1954 and added two more children to their Alaskan family. They recently celebrated 61 years of marriage and have also been blessed with 10 wonderful grandchildren (Tiffany, Blake, Brittany; Danielle, Shana, Jason; Davin, Brenton; Kyle, Amanda, Kelsey; Damien and Brodie and 4 great-grandchildren.
Growing up as a pioneer Alaskan, Ben was proud to have been the oldest Douglas resident, who was both born and raised on the island. Born to Herman and Elli Tiitto Savikko, immigrants from Finland, he was one of 11 children. He was preceded in death by brothers, Walter, Herbert, Hjalmar, Elmer, Robert, Albert and Bruno and his sisters, Hilda, Jennie and Alma.
Ben was a veteran of World War II, serving as a Warrant Officer and skipper as part of the U.S. Transportation Corps, delivering troops and supplies to the Aleutian Chain. Ben was an avid outdoorsman, talented craftsman, artist, photographer and writer. He worked for AEL&P for more than 25 years, retiring in 1979 and was a proud member of the IBEW Local 1547.
Ben and his wife, Nell, served as Grand Marshals of the 1996 4th of July Parade and its festivities at Savikko Park named in honor of his brother, Robert Savikko, the last mayor of the City of Douglas. Robert's wife Geraldine Savikko Straty and their children Albert, Bern, and Coreen were raised with Ben's family and loved as his own children.
In addition, Ben treasured his many nieces and nephews with fond memories of their times together in Douglas, or visiting them and their families, in the lower forty-eight.
At Ben's request, there will be no formal service. A private Celebration of Life will be held at a later date for immediate family.