Memoir Unto Joensuu 1926–2021

Commercial Counselor Unto Ensio Joensuu died on October 24, 2021 in Espoo at the age of 94. He was born in Ylitornio on November 20, 1926.

Joensuu began his commercial duties as a seller of the Oulainen cooperative in the turmoil of the war years in 1942. At the end of the war, he was called up for air defense duties on the coast of the Gulf of Finland. Joensuu was a sergeant in military rank.

In 1952 Joensuu graduated from the Raahe School of Bourgeoisie and Commerce. He started working at SOK’s Kokkola office and participated in field and in-service training for management. He worked as an auditor at SOK’s regional offices in Joensuu and Kokkola until 1960 when he moved to Helsinki as an assistant to the branch manager.

In this position, he prepared for future supervisory positions, and in 1962 he returned to Kokkola as SOK’s branch manager.

In Kokkola Joensuu actively participated in the local business community and played a significant role in developing the cooperative’s food industry by managing the cooperative bakeries.

In our conversations, he recalled that his Saturday mornings at that time often started with a tour of the Kokkola bakery, which the family’s children, Pekka and Henna, were also pleased with, as the gifts were freshly baked donuts.

In 1969, the Joensuu family, which also had a third child, Juha, returned to the Helsinki metropolitan area when Unto was appointed director of SOK’s Helsinki office. He held that position for the rest of his career. In Helsinki he also worked e.g. On the Board of Oy Maan Auto Ab. He was awarded the title of Commercial Counselor in 1980 for his work experience.

Unto enjoyed his free time especially in nature by boating and hunting. He was called the “walking map of Finland” because he really knew the fairways, paths and roads of our country. He was able to discuss with him both the sights of the national parks in southern Finland and the good fishing spots in Lake Inari.

He maintained his relationship with nature when he was still old, by doing excursions e.g. Nuuksio and once said that he had attracted a female tern so close to himself to the dog by imitating the call that he could stroke the bird’s back.

Socially the talented Unto was adept at finding things that united himself and his interlocutor, and this had certainly helped him even in working life situations.

Unto had three children, eight grandchildren, and five grandchildren. He kept in close contact with his family and relatives living in Oulu and emphasized to our grandchildren the importance of a good education and a close relationship with nature.

Lauri Joensuu

The author is Unto Joensuu’s grandson.

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