William T. Savolainen

EAST LANSING, MI. – William “Bill”, “Toby”, “Taito” Savolainen of Burcham Hills Retirement Community, East Lansing, formerly of Negaunee, Michigan, passed away on April 25, 2013, at age 91, of Alzheimer’s Syndrome and congestive heart failure. He had been a resident of East Lansing for 47 years.

William was born on August 11, 1921 to Hilda (Albrecht) and Tobias Savolainen in Negaunee, Michigan.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Pearl (Krook) Savolainen, son James Savolainen, brother Toivo Savolainen, sisters Dagmar Savolainen and Aili (Savolainen) Crowley.

Mr. Savolainen was a graduate of Negaunee High School and attended Michigan Technological University and Cornell University. He had worked as an underground iron ore miner, forester, union organizer, former president of the Marquette County Building Trades Council, and served as a Program Chairman for the USAID programs in Ecuador and Uruguay. He also was a Distinguished Lecturer at Michigan State University for the School of Labor Relations and had retired from the Michigan Department of Labor where he served as an Elections Officer and Labor Arbitrator.

Mr. Savolainen is survived by his son, Donald Savolainen with partner Michael Schacherbauer of East Lansing, brother Tarmo Savolainen of Negaunee, and sister Elizabeth (Savolainen) Kevern of Marquette. He is also survived by five grandchildren, nine great grand children, and numerous nieces and nephews, and by a cousin in Finland.

Mr. Savolainen was a Purple Heart recipient in WWII at the Battle of the Bulge and remained a staunch anti-war advocate his entire life. He was a secular humanist who affirmed that every individual has the right to have an opportunity to succeed and be provided with the tools necessary for that success.

Mr. Savolainen willed his body to the Department of Anatomy at Michigan State University. A memorial service will be held in his honor at a future date at Negaunee Cemetery.

The family requests that memorial donations be contributed to:

Burcham Hills


2700 Burcham Drive

East Lansing