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Aino Annikki Villanueva, shipboard cook, dies

Aino Annikki Villanueva, a homemaker who earlier in her life worked as a shipboard cook in her native Finland, died March 26 of heart failure at Franklin Woods Center in White Marsh.

She was 86.

Aino Annikki Rytkola, the daughter of a seafarer/fisherman and a homemaker, was born in Seiskari, Finland, which is an island in the Gulf of Finland.

She attended schools in Seiskari until she was 14, and when the Russians invaded in 1939, she and her family were evacuated to mainland Finland. In 1942, she enrolled in a home economics school.

In 1943, she took a job as a cook aboard a ship that took measurements in mine-infested waters, said a daughter, Pirjo Maria Rytkola of Timonium.

When she was in Turku, Finland, a port, in 1948, she met Augusto Villanueva, who was in the U.S. merchant marine and a cook aboard an American liner.

She left Seiskari in 1956 and moved to Baltimore to be with her husband, whom she married in 1953. The couple settled in a rowhouse across the street from Patterson Park, where in addition to caring for her eight children, she grew vegetables, fruit and roses in her garden.

The family later moved to Northeast Baltimore.

After divorcing in the 1980s, Mrs. Villanueva lived in Lantana, Fla., until moving to Franklin Woods Center.

Proud of her Finnish heritage, Mrs. Villanueva was a founding member of the Finlandia Association and was a member of the All Nations Foundation, whose activities and multicultural affairs she supported.

She enjoyed going to weekly dances at the Finnish Tourist Hall in Lantana with her companion, Harry Hagan, who died several years ago.

Since 1983, she had been a member of the Seiskari Association and enjoyed the organization's annual reunions in Finland.

She loved the sea and enjoyed vacationing at beaches, family members said.

Mrs. Villanueva was a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Baltimore, where a memorial service was held March 30. At her request, her ashes will be spread in the Gulf of Finland.

Also surviving are two sons, Jari Villanueva of Catonsville and Daniel Villanueva of White Marsh; five other daughters, Beatrice Mason and Carmen Nemic, both of Perry Hall, Paula Villanueva of Cockeysville, Tania Po of Fulshear, Texas, and Norma Miller of Bolingbrook, Ill.; a sister, Maria Virkkila of Kotka, Finland; and 14 grandchildren.


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