Marja Tuulikki Pukkila Emmet, 77, of Bremen Maine died on March 4, 2023 after a mercifully short battle with ovarian cancer. Born in Tampere, Finland to Arvo and Karin Pukkila, Tuuti, as she was known to her legion of friends throughout the world, left life on earth with her accustomed grace and dignity.
An extraordinarily kind, loving and thoughtful lady, Tuuti, by birth a Finn and by adoption a proud American is survived by her husband Bill; daughters Kati and Mari; son Will; granddaughters Lauren and Kaitlin; grandsons Gus, Michael and Liam; and her devoted Labrador retriever, Bella.
Raised in her early years in Finland, her formative years from middle school through to her marriage saw her take up residence with her family in Egypt, Malaya and Venezuela. After graduating from the Bourne School in Kuala Lumpur, Malaya, Tuuti spent a brief time in Caracas and then returned to Helsinki in 1965 to work for the Finnish Foreign Service first in Helsinki before being posted to Lagos, Nigeria in 1968. Fully intending to spend at least two years in Nigeria, Tuuti soon met her future husband Bill who was working as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lomé, Togo. To Bill’s everlasting gratitude, Tuuti agreed to become his wife in 1969, an agreement that served as a solid foundation for love and devotion lasting more than 53 years.
Over more than five decades of marriage, Tuuti and Bill’s life together took them to disparate and demanding parts of the world including Bangladesh, Indonesia, Zaire, Lesotho, Haiti, Yemen, and Niger. While Bill’s work in international public health called for the acceptance of challenges that might have taxed the ability of any family to grow and prosper, Tuuti’s skills at maintaining a stable, incredibly supportive, warm and loving environment under all circumstances made it all look so easy and effortless. At the birth of the new millennium, Tuuti and Bill finally set up roots in America by establishing their house and their home in Bremen, Maine. Since January 2000, with Bill continuing to travel overseas as a short-term consultant, Tuuti, for her part, continued to provide the guidance and strength that all her family so deeply cherished.
While Tuuti consistently remained modest in acknowledging her talents as a teacher in Chinese Brush Painting, an expertise she gained while living in Yemen, Niger and Indonesia, the many students to whom she passed on her knowledge have consistently come forward to attest to the impact of her quiet guidance in responding to the demands of an exacting art. While she may have placed the brushes back in their stands, her paintings and the paintings of her students will endure.
While it is hard to say farewell to such a special individual, her sense of values, her strength of character, and her love for us all will prevail.
Memorial visits will take place on Thursday, March 9, 2023 from 2-4 pm at Hall’s of Waldoboro, 949 Main Street, Waldoboro, Maine 04572.
Hall’s of Waldoboro has care of the arrangements. To extend online condolences, visit their Book of Memories at www.hallfunerahomes.com.