CAMDEN — Irene Terttu Vaino, beloved wife of Rowland S. Whittet, passed away peacefully into the company of her Savior Feb. 16, 2020.

She was born to respected school teachers Niilo and Darja Kiirikki in Salmi, Finland, in 1929.

World War II forced her family westward from their Karelian home. Irene met and married civil engineer and Finnish army veteran Edmund Vaino of Tartu, Estonia, in 1950 in Stockholm, Sweden. Both of Irene’s parents died unexpectedly in 1951.

Irene, then 21, took her three oldest siblings under her wing. In 1958, she emigrated with her husband and young son, Jaan, to New York.  Their daughter, Helene, was born soon thereafter. Irene’s sister, Kaija, and brother, Niilo, soon followed the Vainos to the U.S.

The Vaino family resided in the Quincy, Mass., Finnish community for many years. The family acquired property on St. George Road in South Thomaston, where they summered. Irene made it her home after Edmund’s death in 1991.

Irene wed her sweetheart, Rowland ‘Steve’ Whittet in May 2019, and made her home with him in Thomaston.

Irene was a beloved member of Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Rockland.

Private interment will be at Wiley’s Corner Cemetery, St. George. A reception celebrating her life will be held from 4 to 6 p.m., Friday, Aug. 20, at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Rockland.

Irene is survived by her loving husband Rowland S. Whittet; son Jaan Vaino of New York; daughter Helene Groarke of North Carolina; grandsons Paul Bishop and David Vaino, and numerous nieces and nephews.

To share a condolence with Irene’s family, visit their Book of Memories at