Nevala, (Kemppainen) Clara F.A. 94

Clara F.A. (Kemppainen) Nevala, 94, of Cokato, MN, passed away on Saturday, March 23, 2024. Clara was born on September 7, 1929, on the family farm in Pelkie, MI, to Antti and Anna (Tervonen) Kemppainen.
Clara attended a one-room school and graduated at the age of 16. After graduating, she worked on the farm for a few years, helping her mother who struggled with health difficulties. She briefly moved to Detroit before settling in Minneapolis, where she lived for many years with her close friend Anni Korpela. She was employed as a bookkeeper until her retirement in the early 1990s.
Clara was especially dear to her niece Marilee (married to Dan Wuollet), who once said “Clara was like a mother to me.” Clara called Marilee nearly every day on her lunch break. For the rest of the Wuollet family, Clara was a grandmotherly figure, celebrating holidays and birthdays with them. She was a regular, and sometimes formidable, presence in their home. She was particularly close to her great-nephew Paul Wuollet, who was severely disabled, and would sit with him, holding hands and singing.
Clara was a precious sister in faith to her church family as well. She endeavored in living faith to the end and wasn’t shy to share the gospel message with others. She faithfully served God’s kingdom for decades as a Finnish-English language interpreter, translating writings as well as sermons. She was a gifted vocalist, singing at many weddings and other occasions. She loved music and was inspired to write songs and translated several hymns into English. Her faith was her treasure.
On October 27, 1996, at the age of 67, she was united in marriage to Paul Nevala. Clara relished her new family and was delighted to have many stepchildren and step-grandchildren. The Nevala family lovingly welcomed her, thankful that their father, Paul, would have a companion and helpmate in faith. Clara and Paul moved to Brainerd in the fall of 1997 and lived there for many years. They enjoyed traveling to visit family and friends until Paul’s health began to fail. The family cared for them when they moved back to Cokato to live in assisted living apartments and eventually the Cokato Manor nursing home, and continued to care for Clara after Paul’s death in 2019.
Clara was preceded in death by her husband of 22 years, Paul; parents Antti and Anna; sisters Martha Jurmu and Dorothy Pelto; and brothers Fred (infant), Waino, Uno, Donald, Ralph, Hugo and Harold. Surviving are dozens of nieces & nephews, great-nieces & great-nephews, stepchildren, step-grandchildren, and step-great-grandchildren.
Visitation will take place on Monday, April 1, at Cokato Laestadian Lutheran Church from 4-8PM with a prayer service at 7PM.
Funeral services for Clara will be held at 11AM on Tuesday, April 2, at Cokato Laestadian Lutheran Church, with visitation for one hour before the service. Interment will be at the Cokato Finnish Cemetery. Arrangements by Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home of Cokato, www.swansonpeterson.com 320-286-2534