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Frank and Fanni (Salomaki) Ranta

Immigrants from Finland, Frank Ranta (Fransi Rantala) and Fanni Salomaki, married in Michigan in 1910. Family lore suggests that Frank, an employee of Fanni’s family in the area of Ikaalinen, Finland, wanted to marry her, but her family would not allow it, so he immigrated to America in 1906.

He became a woodsman, residing in a Finnish boarding house in Chatham, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Fanni immigrated to America in 1909 with her sister Iida, to work at the very same boarding house owned by her uncle, Hjalmar Aalto.

True love won and Frank and Fanni were married. However, tragedy overcame the family when daughter Aune Aurora, at age five, died of diphtheria. Baby son Aarne died within a year of being born.

Fanni passed away of tuberculosis, two weeks after giving birth prematurely to our mother, Lempi, in August 1914. Frank gave his tiny child the name Lempi, “dear one.” She was not expected to live and was not even measured or weighed. We cannot imagine the grief Frank endured, after losing his wife and two children within five years, then faced with another loss.

But, with true sisu, Lempi fought for her life. Frank’s dear friends, John and Maria (Hill) Torma stepped in to help the grieving father, bringing her to their home in Chatham.

In later years, Lempi learned the story of how Maria and the neighbor ladies took turns caring for her, wrapped in cotton wool, tucked in a cigar box in the warming oven on the wood stove, and fed with an eye dropper.  Frank always was part of her life, but Lempi lived with the Tormas until marrying her high school sweetheart, our father, Arne Posio, in 1935.