Alyce Viola Hietala Santa


February 19, 1934-April 12, 2023

Alyce Viola Santa of Moose Lake, Minnesota (formerly Duluth) passed away at home under hospice care with her family by her side on April 12, 2023 at the age of 89 from complications suffered in a fall.

Alyce was born in Grand Rapids, MN to Ellen and Oscar Hietala and was raised in Wawina, MN. Following her graduation from Grand Rapids High School in 1952, she married Arnold (Arne) Santa from Cedar Valley on January 31, 1953.

Alyce’s family soon became the center of her life. They moved often due to Arne’s career with the railroad and eventually settled in Duluth. When her youngest son, Gregg, started school, Alyce continued her education at the University of Wisconsin-Superior and received her Bachelor’s and Master of Science in Teaching in 1978. Alyce was committed to education and taught first grade at Emerson and Homecroft Elementary schools in Duluth before retiring in 1989.

Family trips to the Boundary Waters and frequent gatherings at the Hart Lake family cabin fostered Alyce’s passion for the beauty of nature and care of the environment. Holidays at the Wawina homestead brought the generations together, and music was an important part of every celebration.

Alyce and Arne were well known in the Finnish American community. Alyce was a charter member of the Vihurit, a Finnish folk dancing group, member and past president of the Järvenpää Finnish American Historical Society, member and past Matron of the Ladies of Kaleva-Aallottaren Tupa #15, and a member of the kantele ensemble, Kanteleen Soittajat.

A tireless volunteer, Alyce also served as a member and past president of the Twentieth Century Club of Duluth, and a member of Chris Jensen Health and Rehabilitation Center Auxiliary.

Following Arne’s death in 1994, Alyce took many world trips with friends, including to China, Russia, and Turkey. She also made several trips to Finland and Norway with her family.

Alyce was preceded in death by her husband, Arne, her parents, Oscar and Ellen Hietala, and brother Alvin. She is survived by her daughter Jeanne Doty (Dan), Moose Lake; son Wesley Santa (Jackie), Oak Grove; son Gregg (Astrid), Asker, Norway; five grandchildren, Johanna Solem, St. Paul; Karl Doty (Liesl), Potsdam, NY; John Santa (Rikki Jo), St. Paul; Erik Santa, Blaine; Emma Santa, Madison, WI; two great-grandsons Pekka and Mikko Doty, Potsdam NY; brother John Hietala (Marilyn), Grand Rapids; sister Joyce Ilola, Hermantown; sister Edie Johnson (Rick), Ely; special cousin Mary Sorensen, and many cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.

Always one to put others’ needs ahead of her own, Alyce will be remembered for her quiet but intense pride in her family, her generous commitment to volunteerism, her unexpected sense of humor, and her overriding pledge to honesty and equity.

The family would like to thank St. Croix Hospice, Moose Lake Village - Oakview, and the health care professionals at Essentia Health Duluth and Moose Lake for their care and compassion.

A celebration of Alyce’s life will be held on Saturday, May 20th, 2023 at the Town Hall in Wawina, MN. Visitation will be from 10:00 to 11:00, with a service and lunch to follow. Inurnment will be in the Cedar Valley Cemetery in a private ceremony.

Arrangements by Hamlin-Hansen-Kosloski Funeral Home in Moose Lake.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Croix Hospice Foundation (checks payable to “Hospice Support Foundation”, 7755 3rd St. N, Ste.200, Oakdale, MN 55128), Salolampi Finnish Language Camp, or an organization of choice.

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