Cover photo for Viola Mary Porter's Obituary
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1925 Viola 2011

Viola Mary Porter

April 30, 1925 — February 19, 2011

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Viola Mary Porter, age 85 of L'Anse, MI passed away on Saturday, February 19, 2011 at Baraga County Memorial Hospital in L'Anse.

Viola Mary Heikkinen was born in Ironwood, MI to Mary (Haara) Heikkinen and Edwin Heikkinen on April 25, 1925. She loved learning, reading, music, cooking, spending time with family and being a grandmother. She would spend hours playing with her grandson Jo (J.R.) when he was little. Also, her Creamed Potato Soup was a family favorite. She was a talented musician who taught herself to play the accordion and organ by ear at the age of thirteen. Many family events featured Vi and her music which she loved. She worked at BCMH in housekeeping early in her life, and then stayed at home to care for her children. Viola suffered trauma at an early age when she witnessed her father's death, from a sudden heart attack, as a young teen. It was at this time she quit school to stay home to care for her mother. She eventually married Leonard Adolph Bourdage and had two children with him, Edward Lee Bourdage and Patricia Ann (Bourdage) Noble. The family lived in Marquette. Viola and the children later moved to Skanee. She married Glen Porter in 1963. Shortly after the birth of her last child, Bonnie (Porter) Huhtasaari, Viola suffered a mental breakdown. She was admitted to Newberry State Hospital and given electric shock treatments. Viola was never the same after that. Fear ruled her life. She was later diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia; yet Vi always had a smile for everyone she met. She would always say "Hi honey! You are so beautiful. I love you". We will miss Mom's sweet smile and voice, but we are glad to know she is at peace with the Lord, whom she loved very much.

Vi often talked about Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. She prayed daily, and stayed firm in her faith that she would be with Him one day. She never forgot the church she attended as a young woman--the Zion Lutheran Church in Skanee. While living at Woodhaven House in L'Anse, she requested the Zion Church Pastor start visiting with her. This is how she met Pastor Judy Mattson. Pastor Mattson would visit her often, and knew her well.

Viola's oldest daughter, Pat Noble, co-wrote a cookbook, in part, as a tribute to her mother's mental illness: Cooking Your Blues Away. Viola was a gentle, sweet soul that never held a grudge against anyone. Whenever company came for a visit she was thrilled and made the visitor feel like the most beautiful, most beloved person on earth. Her beautiful smile and sweet voice will live forever in the minds and hearts of those who knew and loved her. Viola was preceded in death by her parents, her husbands Leonard Bourdage and Glen Porter; her sister Violet Vanoverloop and her son Edward Bourdage.

She is survived by her children Patricia Noble and Bonnie (Ken) Huhtasaari; Grandchildren: Melissa LaFernier, Edward (Tanker) Bourdage, Mary (Jack) Martin, Rebecca Noble, Joseph Noble, Olivia (Robert) Rajacic, Cole Huhtasaari, Brent Geroux, Madisen Huhtasaari; Great-grandchildren Daniel Donaldson, Cody Donaldson, Carissa LaFernier, Addyson Rajacic, Brooklyn Rajacic; a special niece, Charmaine Smith, a special friend, Linda Kinnunen and several cousins, nieces, and nephews . A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, March 5, 2011 at Zion Lutheran Church in Skanee. Rev. Judy Mattson will officiate. The family will receive visitors for an hour before the service. A fellowship time will be held immediately following the service. Jacobson Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements.

Friends may sign Viola's guest book or send condolences at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Viola Mary Porter, please visit our flower store.


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