Erkki Alestalo

Obituary of Erkki I. Alestalo

Erkki Ilari Alestalo, loving husband and father, passed away on December 24, 2019 at the age of 66 following a brave battle with cancer. He was a 20-year resident of Jamesville, NY. Born in Helsinki, Finland, in August 1953, he moved with his parents, Erkki K. and Maire Alestalo, to the United States in 1955. While his soul always shined bright during his many visits to—or when simply speaking about—Finland, his heart belonged to his adopted country. Erkki carried the best qualities of both countries in all his actions – independence, integrity, respect, equality, fairness, innovation, resilience, responsibility - carving his own path to the American Dream. In 1975 he graduated with a degree in Economics from University of Albany (SUNY) where he also met his beloved wife, Sharon. In 1985, he was awarded a degree in Architecture from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In 1993 he and his partner opened Alestalo & Etzel Architects specializing in small commercial buildings, low-income housing, and hospitality/hotel design. In 1994, the Everson Museum selected Erkki to design a ramp compatible with this I.M. Pei-designed building to provide accessibility for all visitors. His design not only won the competition, but also earned the approval of the building’s famous architect. In 2012, Erkki and his firm were awarded the NYS Outstanding Family Residence Award for a low-income housing venture in Syracuse. Erkki retired in 2018 after 25 years of successful business. Erkki was a man of many interests: science, sports, music, and reading to name a few. He had a wealth of knowledge that he loved to share. You wanted him on your team in a game of Trivia or as an informal guide at the Master’s Tournament. His life-long passion was golf, and even as the cancer and treatments made golfing difficult, he appreciated being out on the course with good friends. Another favorite pastime was being on the sidelines of a youth soccer game, cheering his son, Kris, and his teammates on. He rarely missed a game. In recent years, his interests turned to hiking with Sharon on the many beautiful central NY trails, especially Beaver Lake Nature Center. With the recent addition of a puppy, Pippin, Erkki continued to enjoy outings and walks. In the last year he also pursued exploring and documenting his rich family history with his cousins in Finland. Erkki is survived by his wife of 40 years, Sharon; son, Kristofer; brother and sister-in-law, Eric and Barbara Alestalo of New Windsor, NY; as well as sister-in-law, Donna Libert and her husband Raymond Campbell of East Hampton, NY. He is blessed with four nieces and nephews and six great nieces and nephews as well as strong family connections in Finland; all dearly loved. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 11, 2020 at 2:00 pm in University United Methodist Church, 1085 E. Genesee Street, Syracuse, NY 13210 (parking and main entrance are at 324 University Avenue). In the spring the family will hold a graveside service at Cedar Lawn Cemetery in East Hampton, NY. A service will also be held in Finland during the summer. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to University United Methodist Church, where Erkki once served as trustee, or to Friends of Beaver Lake Nature Center, 8477 East Mud Lake Road, Baldwinsville, New York 13027. Arrangements are with Fairchild & Meech DeWitt Chapel.
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Memorial Service

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Saturday, January 11, 2020
University United Methodist Church
1085 E. Genesee Street
Syracuse, New York, United States
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