Astoria

Aug. 29, 1948 — May 1, 2021

Henry Matias Pelto passed peacefully on May 1, 2021, after heroically and fiercely battling Parkinson’s disease for many years.

Born Heikki Matias Ylipelto on Aug. 29, 1948, in Toholampi, Finland, to Eeva Kyllikki and Veikko Ylipelto, he moved with his family to Svensen when he was 7. The day after their arrival, he and his sister, Hanneli, started first grade, even though they did not speak a word of English.

He excelled in school, played baseball — and later led the Longview fast-pitch league with the highest batting average for a season — football and basketball for Knappa High School (the team won the state championship in 1966).

He successfully managed school and athletics while helping with the family’s mink business and working summers at the Wauna Mill.

He attended the University of Oregon after receiving a scholarship from Wauna, eventually discovered a passion for the building industry, and moved to Seattle, where he formed his own construction company, specializing in custom and speculative homes, commercial projects and remodeling.

He enjoyed golfing, boating, racing 6-meter sailboats, skiing and attending or watching many sporting events.

Heikki was always at the ready to help friends and family. He will be remembered for sharing his kindness and talents with so many.

He retired in 2010 for health reasons, but continued planning and dreaming of building until he passed.

He leaves behind his wife, Sherie; two sons, Nicholas and Justin; his siblings, Hanneli Turner (William) and Antti Ylipelto (MaryAnn); sisters-in-law, Sandra (Michael) and Kimberly (Randy); a nephew, William Jr. (Miranda); nieces, Shelley (Eric), Nikki (Daniel) and Noel; and seven grand-nieces and nephews.

Our heartfelt thanks go to his doctors, especially Dr. Kathryn Chung at Oregon Health and Science University, Lower Columbia Hospice (Rhonda, Diane, Joey, and Jeanette); many physical and other therapists, including Megan, Nathan and Leo; our local Parkinson’s support group; and all the neighbors, friends and family who supported Heikki during his last years.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in his name to Oregon Health and Science University research, Mail Code L-341, 3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, OR., 97239-3098 or Lower Columbia Hospice.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Please email hpelto@aol.com for details.

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