Sirkka Ahlskog died Feb. 17, 2010, after a period of declining health. She had been a resident at Tall Pines for several years.

Sirkka was born April 15, 1917, to Edward and Bertha (Nieminen) Tulonen in Suolahbi, Finland. She was the eldest of seven children. In her 20s, Sirkka eloped to marry K.G. Borge Ahlskog, a ship captain. They traveled together throughout Europe until his tragic death in 1944 during the Soviet bombing of Finland Harbor. During the Russian invasion, Sirkka helped thousands of children escape the horrors of war by leading them through the underground system and walking them across the boarder and out of Finland. Just before she was to leave Viipuri with the Red Cross the Russian planes bombed the city. She was buried in rubble and prayed that if she were allowed to live, “I would never be unkind in anything I said or did.” She tried to keep that promise through her art, which was often of angels, Madonnas and tranquil young girls.

Sirkka came to the United States in the early 1950s, where she settled in New York City, working many years for the Rockefeller family as a caregiver for the children. She also followed her creative inner path and built a reputation as a gifted artist, having her own studio in New York City and doing one-woman shows throughout the East Coast.

Cricket (which is the English translation of Sirkka) was born to be an artist. She had a passion for bringing color to her world and a desire to share this vision with others through her weavings, tapestries, tiles, paintings, ceramics and sculptures. She has been recognized in Who’s Who In American Art, and has pieces of her work archived in the Smithsonian Museum of Art, the Norfolk Virginia Museum of Art and Science, and the Columbia Museum of Art. Sirkka taught weaving for several years at the Penland School of Handicrafts in North Carolina. Cricket spent many summers in Warren, Maine, with her dear friend Helen Tirri before buying her own land and building her open floor home in 1972. She spent years there enjoying her life of peace surrounded by her art, dogs, gardens and flowers.

Sirkka is survived by a sister in Manitoba, Canada; a brother and a sister in Finland; as well as many nieces and nephews.

Cricket wrote, “Vast forests of pine, spruce; long winters and fleeting summers; midnight sun, blue eyed people, sauna — The spiritual heritage of the Finn could never, however, be destroyed either by fire or war. And freedom’s the legacy the Finns cherish above all.”

Arrangements are with the Hall Funeral Home. There will be no formal service. Cricket’s ashes will be set free in her favorite place on a day full of color; with the brightest sun shining and the bluest sky waiting.