ARMAS TAMMINENArmas Wayne Tamminen died a peaceful death of old age on March 31, 2012, in Solvay Hospice House.
Armas Wayne Tamminen died a peaceful death of old age on March 31, 2012, in Solvay Hospice House.
Armas was born May 15, 1916, in the sauna on the family farm in Cherry (Iron), the youngest of nine children of Anna Alexandra and Johan Gustav Tamminen, Finnish immigrants to the Iron Range.
After graduating from the University of Minnesota, Armas began his career as a high school teacher before serving in the Army Air Corps as a trainer during World War II. His post-war work in guidance counseling at UMD led him to enter the U of M graduate school to earn a PhD in psychology. He returned to UMD as a professor of psychology, where he worked for over 25 years, serving many years as department head. He was a loved and respected teacher as well as co-founder of the UMD counselor-education program. He conducted research on numerous topics as well as consulting to both private businesses and public agencies. In all his work, he sought to blend the best of psychological theory with a deep concern for the practical, human consequences of ideas and actions.
During his career, and in expanded ways during 30 years of retirement, he served as mentor and informal counselor to a wide range of friends, extended family members, and others who benefited from his wisdom, warmth, and humor. He had an uncanny ability to call up a story that illuminated most any situation, easing difficulties with gentle humor. He wrote extensively--reflections, poetry, stories and letters--on a range of subjects concerning gratitude, love, ethics, the natural world, and spiritual and political engagement. He photographed nature and created with wood, designing many lamps and other objects for his family. Working with wood was one of the many ways he embodied his Finnish heritage.
He was a voice for justice for those who were disempowered, discriminated against, and less privileged. He helped create Duluth's original open housing campaign, chaired the board of the Human Development Center in its early days, served on the board of the Damiano Center, was involved with many social justice organizations, and worked to help First United Methodist Church become a Reconciling Congregation. FUMC was his church home of the last 30 years where he served in many capacities as well as finding many dear friendships.
He was raised in a Finnish Lutheran household by parents who lived the core tenets of their faith: God is love, and love your neighbor as yourself. He engaged in a spiritual search over many decades to blend that faith with his strong connection to nature and his studies as a social scientist--bringing quiet passion, deep thought, and warm dialogue to that path.
Alma was the love of his life. They traveled together, built their family lake cabin and their home overlooking Lake Superior, shared common interests and commitments, talked through life's challenges and opportunities, and were each other's best friend.
Armas was devoted to his family and engaged in the lives of his children and grandchildren as well as those of extended family members. His many friendships were a source of joy and stimulation to him until the last days of his life.
He was preceded in death in 1996 by his beloved wife of 54 years, Alma, and by his siblings and their spouses.
Armas is survived by his children, Beth (Hal Moore), Ann (Allan Silverthorne), and Paul (Ann); his beloved grandchildren, Ilona and Susanna Tamminen Moore, Quentin and Riana Taminhart, and Lia and Lucas Tamminen; as well as by numerous nephews and nieces, and grand nephews and nieces.
Armas' children and friends wish to express their deep gratitude to the staff of Westwood and of Solvay Hospice House for the attentive, loving, and generous care they provided him and his family.
VISITATION: 12 noon until the 1 p.m. service Tuesday, April 3, in First United Methodist Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to The Damiano Center, 206 W. Fourth St., Duluth.
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