Franklin Countys First News

Irja Niemi Lehto (1922-2019)

Irja Niemi Lehto

NORTH ANSON - Mrs. Irja Niemi Lehto passed away peacefully at home in North Anson, with her family by her side, on May 29, 2019. She was 96 years old, born on August 15, 1922 in Kingfield.

After graduating from Kingfield High School as class salutatorian, she married Arthur Johannes Lehto of Quincy, Mass in 1941. They moved to North Anson in 1957 and raised four children. Irja was a homemaker for most of her life. She was always active, a self-taught artist and painter. Irja loved her family, her dogs, gardening and life. She was a lifetime member of the Mt. Bigelow Chapter of the Eastern Star; was Worthy Matron several times, and was also a District Deputy Grand Matron. She belonged to the Women’s Club.

Irja was a kind, gracious lady, always thinking of the other person, and had a wonderful sense of humor. She was the daughter of John and Eva Kristina Niemi, Finnish immigrants. Learning to speak English from an elementary teacher from England, she had a clear distinctive speech, which was wonderful to listen to.

Irja is survived by two daughters, Kathryn E. Lehto and Carol A. Lehto of North Anson; one son, Carl Jonathan Lehto, of Nashua N.H., his wife Nancy and their four daughters, Ann, Erin, Jane and Grace. She is predeceased by her husband, Arthur J. Lehto and her son, Arthur V. Lehto and by six siblings – Aili Temple (her twin sister), Tyyne Pillman, Maija Silta, Martta Kankainen, Niilo Niemi and Eino Niemi. Irja is also survived by nieces Pirkko Atwood of Kingfield and Aster Littlefield of Jay, and by nephews Mauno Kankainen and William Niemi of Kingfield and Earle Temple of Littleton, N.H.

We would like to thank Maine General Hospice and Dr. Diane Zavotsky for their excellent help and support during our mother’s final weeks.

Graveside services will be announced at a later date.

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