Vaino “Bill” William Wesala

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August 13, 1938 ~ March 3, 2023

Vaino “Bill” William Wesala, 84, passed away on March 3, 2023, at the Avantara Norton Nursing home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

   Bill will be returning to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where a service will be held with his family in the spring. In lieu of flowers, his family requests stories and pictures of him, which can be sent to his daughter at 105 E. 4th Street, Egan SD 57024, or emailed to

    Bill was born in St. Louis County, Minnesota, to Kalle and Aili Wesala, on August 13, 1938. He graduated from Aurora-Hoyt Lakes High School in Aurora, MN. He went to Virginia Junior College, in Virginia, MN, and received his Associate of Science.  He enlisted in the Army in 1958 and served as an electronics technician until his discharge in 1961.  He then worked as an electrician, with experience with various motors and large mining equipment. He also supervised journeyman electricians, finally leaving Schuff Steel, Phoenix, AZ, in 2002, after a serious accident with a horse. 

   Bill married Shirley Ann Sanderson in August 1964, in Minneapolis, MN, and was married to her for over 55 years. He lived with his wife, in Aurora, MN, where their two daughters were born. They then moved to St. Louis, MS, and then to Tucson, AZ.  Bill also lived and worked in other places, such as Ajo, AZ, and Tyrone, NM, but let his family stay in Tucson so as not to interrupt his daughter’s schooling. He moved to Sioux Falls SD, in December 2019, after his wife passed away.

   Bill loved his family deeply and was the rock they all depended on.  He had a great sense of humor that you were always surprised by, as he was a typical Finnish man who spoke only when needed. He was an intelligent man who quietly supported his wife with all her various projects and activities. He read a lot, enjoying western and science fiction books.  Bill enjoyed woodworking, and whittling; he was a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism along with his wife. He did much more, but he never talked about himself, preferring to let his wife do the talking for him.

   Bill is survived by his daughters, Elizabeth Wesala, and Katja Paule; one son, William Paule; and his granddaughter, Kirstyn Fink-Wesala. He will be missed by them and many other family members and friends.

   Bill is preceded in death by his wife, Shirley Ann “Vana” Sanderson; his parents, Kalle and Aili Wesala; one daughter, Tamara Susan Wesala; granddaughter, Tamara Mychelle Lupo; his sisters, Enid, Esther, Ellen, Hilja, and Ida; and his brothers, Arnie, Oscar, Oiva, and Kalle.

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