Deacon Richard B. Aho

Published 8:02 pm Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Deacon Richard B. Aho

Deacon Richard B. “Richie” Aho passed away peacefully on January 10th, 2024 at Sacred Heart Care Center surrounded by his wife Jo Ann, family and the special caregivers of Sacred Heart.

Rich was born on December 31st, 1944 to Ahti and Irene (Oikarinen) Aho in Laurium, Michigan. Richard attended elementary schools in Centennial Heights, and Calumet High School in Calumet Michigan. While in high school, Richard was in ROTC from 1960-1964, earning the title of Cadet Captain Richard Aho.

He married Jo Ann Kovachich on March 26th, 1966, after meeting her in study hall when she was a sophomore, and he was a senior. Rich and Jo Ann were lucky enough to know each other for 61 years and be married partners in life and love for almost 58 years.

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Richie went on to attend Michigan Technological University. In his 2nd year of college in 1966, the Vietnam draft was on, and Richard enlisted in the United Stated Marine Corps to ensure he was able to choose his own path and serve his country as he saw fit.

Rich arrived back from Vietnam in 1967. He finished his time with the Marine Corps in Cuba finally returning home in 1968. While working nights with Mercy Ambulance and Quality Foods to support himself and his young family, he went back to Michigan Tech and graduated in June of 1972 with his degree in Business Administration.

After graduating, Richard accepted a position at Hormel Foods in June of 1972 in management. He moved his young family to Austin, Minnesota, where he built his life with his wife Jo Ann and their children. He worked for Hormel for 35 years, prospered and enjoyed the many friends, colleagues, and associates he encountered. This was the foundation that shaped his life, and his faith in God that he shared with many through his years.

Richard’s faith in God was always strong and he became an active member of St. Edward Catholic Church in 1972. He enjoyed participating and bringing his family to church activities, gatherings, and teaching confirmation.

He later attended the Institute of Lay Ministry, his faith was strengthened, and he felt a calling from God to join the Diaconate Formation Program. He was ordained as a Deacon on August 22, 2009. This was Rich’s true calling in life. His faith led him to help countless others, inspire his family, and serve his community even when his own health began to fail.

Richard was a keen hockey lover and played the sport from grade school through high school. He was a coach for in house and a travelling coach for the Pee Wees in Austin. He loved coaching, refereeing, and spending time with his children on and off the ice. His love of the outdoors lasted throughout his life. Rich was an avid gardener, camper and hunter. He most of all enjoyed traveling to the UP to spend summers with his beloved family. His home away from home. He would often be found cheering on his favorite team Michigan Tech, Minnesota Gopher Hockey and Minnesota Vikings with his sons.

Richie was preceded in death by his parents, Ahti and Irene (Oikarinen) Aho; in-laws, Rudy and Clarice (Stafford) Kovachich; sister and brother-in-law, Karen (Aho) and Jim Roberts; nephew, Kevin Roberts; sister-in-law, Jean Kovachich; son, Colin Aho; grandson, Jacob Aho; along with many beloved aunts and uncles.

Richie is survived by his wife, Jo Ann Aho, of Austin; sons, Bryan Aho (Stephanie Aho), of Austin, Darren Aho (Margaret Schmitt Aho), of Naperville, Illinois; daughter, DeAnna Aho, of Austin; many beloved grandchildren, Jocelyn, Benjamin, Christopher, Jennifer, Megan, and Kyle; great grandchildren, Camille, Jaylene, Maxie Mae, Landon, Austin, and Hannah; many nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews in the UP and around the country that Rich always made a point to visit with and share his wisdom and love; sister-in-law, Claire (Bruce) Waananen, Ishpeming, Michigan; nephews, Scott and Kyle.

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 am on Friday, January 19th, 2024 at St. Edward Catholic Church with Father Andrew Beerman officiating. Visitation will be held from 4-7 pm on Thursday at Clasen-Jordan Mortuary where there will be a 6:30 pm rosary. Visitation will continue for one hour before the mass at the church on Friday. Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery with military rites by American Legion Post #91, Olaf B. Damm Post #1216, and the United States Marine Corps Honor Guard. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Diocese of Winona Diaconate and Seminary;; Cameron Can Foundation c/o Rory Dominick, 388 Kent Road, Riverside, Illinois 60546. Arrangements by Clasen-Jordan Mortuary