Olli Salminen

Born February 19, 1926

Olli Salminen, age 89, of Newark, DE, passed away peacefully on Monday, October 26, 2015.

Born in Brooklyn, NY on February 19, 1926, Olli was the son of the late John Salminen and Vappu M. (Haapanen) Salminen. After graduating from Newark High School, he proudly served his country as a member of the U.S. Navy during World War II. He graduated from Yale University in 1948.

Olli married Virginia Haug in 1955 and built a home for his family on Iron Hill. He was a chicken farmer until 1980; he then converted the farm to a Christmas tree farm.

Olli was a longstanding member of the Glasgow Lions Club, receiving the Melvin Jones Fellow award for dedicated humanitarian services in 2009. He was also a proud member of the Delaware Valley Finnish American Society. Olli was an avid student of the stock market. He enjoyed a healthy debate.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Virginia Salminen. Olli is survived by his children, John Salminen (Dianne) of Nansha, China, Neal Salminen (Lauren) of Valhalla, NY and Laura Salminen (David Schwartz) of Phoenixville, PA; and grandchildren, Dana, Erik, Lee and Paul Salminen.

A funeral service will be held at 11 am on Saturday morning, October 31, 2015, at the Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 121 West Park Place, Newark, DE, where a visitation for family and friends will be held from 10 am. A committal service will be held at 11 am on Monday, November 2, 2015 in the chapel of the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 2465 Chesapeake Road, Bear, DE.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Glasgow Lions Club, P.O. Box 404, Bear, DE 19701 with the following memo line: Olli Salminen/Vision Research & Eye Bank Fund.


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2 Condolences for Olli Salminen

  • Olli and my dad were best friends and sauna buddies for over 40 years. I have vivid memories childhood memories of the sauna that Olli’s parents had built on the farm that Olli lived on almost all of his life. On Wednesday afternoons Dad would come home from work, take a nap, eat supper, pack a towel, a fresh suit of underwear and a cold six pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon, and join Olli and other friends at the sauna. Sometimes when school was out and I could stay up late, I got to go, too. I would go to sauna with the women – Olli’s mother, who was also my godmother, and his wife, Virginia. (Years later his daughter Laura and my sister Ann, who are 11 years younger than I, would come.) The men would go to sauna after us, when it was really hot. We would all have coffee and coffee bread (pulla) at the house after the men came back, rosy and in good spirits from steam and brew.

    I don’t remember whether fire destroyed the old sauna, or whether it fell apart with age. In any case, decades later Olli started construction on a small sauna near his house on Iron Hill on property adjoining the farm. Dad had retired to Florida, but he did extended visits “up north,” and helped Olli with the project. However, time was always short and age was catching up with them both, so the project was never completed. Meanwhile, I had gotten married and moved to Oregon, but my husband and I would visit Olli and Virginia at the farm from time to time. For me it was like touching base with my roots.

    Olli and Virginia came to visit us in Oregon the summer of 1995 when the Finnfest was in Portland. Besides the Finnfest we went sightseeing on Mt. St. Helens (an active volcano), and on the Oregon coast, where we stayed in cabins overlooking the ocean. There was also a sauna, and Olli and Dad took steam and argued politics, just like in the old days. It was a happy time for them. But it was the last time they would go to sauna together; Dad died the following November.

    Some years later when Ann and I were visiting at the farm, Olli heated his functional but incomplete sauna for us. He was having more and more trouble walking, and it was a struggle for him. I was moved. He had given us one last sauna at the farm.

  • What lovely memories, Ellen.
    Thank you.