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GUSTAVUS - David Robert "Big Dave" Siekkinen, 74, of Gustavus, Ohio, born Nov. 21, 1947, to David and Ida Siekkinen, died Thursday, 28, 2022, unexpectedly.
Dave lived his life with the concept of sisu. Dave was a lifelong conservationist and outdoorsman who shared his craft to whomever wanted to know how he did it. Dave did not shy from hard work. In addition to the regular chores of running a dairy farm, he also planted acres of sweet corn that was harvested and sold by family members on the roadside every summer. Every spring, Dave and others in the family tapped the nearby maple trees and produced very fine maple syrup.
Dave finished out his working life as a school bus driver. A hallmark of Dave's life was making sure, in his own quiet manner, other people were helped and served to the best of his ability. In his retirement, he studied the Finnish language and took a long-planned trip to Finland to explore his roots.
Dave was a member of the Finnish Heritage Museum, the Finnish American Heritage Association, the Ashtabula County Antique Engine Club and the Ashtabula County NAACP.
Dave is survived by his wife, Barbara. They were married Aug. 22, 1970.
He is also survived by his children, Katherine and her husband, Emery Smith of Rochester, Minn., Becky and her husband, Dan Donaldson of Madison, Ohio, Miina Rae and her husband, Rob Beyreis of Woodinville, Wash., David Erik Siekkinen and his wife, Kate of Hermitage, Pa. and Andy Siekkinen and his husband, Shawn Rohrbach of San Diego, Calif.
Dave always enjoyed being with his grandchildren and devoted much of his time to them. In chronological order, they are Angie, Kade, Caleb, Ethan, Ella, Sophia, Jake, David, Will, Mae and Ava. His siblings Liisa and her husband, Don Onstott, Lyle Siekkinen and Dan Siekkinen and his wife, Jackie also survive him. He will be missed by his cousin-brothers, David, James, and Tim Kananen. Also surviving are his sisters and brothers-in-law, Peggy and her husband, David Kananen and Ruth and her husband, George Lee, Paul Davis and his life partner, Mary Ann Szalkowski, Frank Davis and his wife, Nina and Floyd Davis and his wife, Amy.
He was preceded in death by his parents, David and Ida Rohly Siekkinen; his in-laws, Miland and Katherine Ahola Davis; and his brother-in-law, David and his wife, Dollie Smith Davis.
Visitation will be from 3 to 5 p.m., with a memorial service following at 5 p.m., Wednesday, May 4, 2022, at the Hartford United Methodist Church.
In lieu of flowers, plant a tree in memory of Dave. Donations can be made to the Warren Family Mission or a charity of your choice.