Folsom Funeral Service

Sulkala, Charles O.


Charles Sulkala was born and grew up in Maynard MA graduating from Maynard High School in 1935.  His father who was a Ski instructor in the Finnish Army helped teach local teams’ gymnastics, javelin, shot put and discus.  As a youth he also participated in several of those meets in the Fitchburg and Quincy area winning medals in Javelin and other events.  As a mechanically talented individual, he owned a car early in life which allowed him the opportunity to meet Glenna Easton in Brookline.  He was 21 and she was 16. 


He enlisted in the Army on December 12, 1940 and went to California for Sheet metal school fixing and repairing damaged airplanes.  From there he was transferred back to Georgia.  In the meantime, the bulk of his squadron had been shipped to Guadalcanal where few survived.  He was left in Georgia to start up a repair squadron which was to head over to the North African campaign.  It was during this time that they married in April of 1942 and on their honeymoon in Savannah, he managed to save his new wife from Drowning in an undertow and then later in the day went in again to save the son of an officer in the Air Corp.


In March, 1943, his wife’s 20th birthday, he was shipped out to the North Africa Campaign.  Three months later, he was informed by the Red Cross that his son was born and two years later, on his son’s second Birthday, he arrived home for the first time.  He participated in the North Africa campaign as well as that of Naples, Foggia, Rome, and Arno.  He attained the rank of Master Sergeant.  After a number of years, of trying to keep in touch with many of the members in his Squadron, he felt compelled to “keep the Squadron together”.  So for the last 25 -30 years,  he was responsible for creating a newsletter as well as planning reunions until a few years ago when there were so few able to attend that they just kept in touch by mail or phone.


After returning from the service, he started in the auto body business working for Talbot Pontiac in Brookline.    Dan Sarno originally from Roxbury and then Norwood, was his partner and the painter, and he was the body man and estimator in their repair business started in the back underground store of DeVoe Motors in Jamaica Plain.  After five years of building their business they built on the current location on Washington Street in Jamaica Plain.  The business, ACME Body & Paint is currently owned by his son, Chuck and his wife Linda.   As a very involved individual with a magnetic personality, in those early years, he was very involved in the founding of the Massachusetts Auto Body Shop Owners Association (MABSOA)later becoming its President during which times the membership was in excess of 500-600 shops.  During his terms as President, he represented Massachusetts at national meeting with the Auto Body Association of America and also led in passing legislation to have licensing of Auto Body Shops in Massachusetts as well as the establishment of the Auto Damage Appraisers Licensing Board which tested and oversaw the licensing of Automotive Damage Appraisers both Shop and insurer for the sake of the consumer.  MABSOA was also one of the leaders in providing self insurance for their members both for health insurance as well as property insurance should a business have difficulty in finding reasonable insurance.


He live most of his life in Norwood and retired shortly after the death of his daughter who was killed in an accident as she was turning into the home driveway on Neponset St on her 19th birthday in 1967.  After that tragedy, both he and his wife Glenna focused on their soon to arrive Grandchildren and they became the strength and purpose of their living.  As the grandchildren grew and married, he assisted his wife in their new purpose as “ frequent day care providers” for their now Great Grandchildren.  It was not uncommon to see Great Grandsons Ryan or Jack visiting there at any time on any day and they became the joy of his life as well.


He had participated in the normative Aging program which the VA has conducted since WWII tracking the aging process and every year he faithfully went in to be measured and tested and checked out.  At 90, he was still very much driving a car, shoveling snow and chopping wood much to the chagrin of many.  He worked at and enjoyed taking care of his 3 acres of property as well as to have family gatherings at the family home.  A “sauna” was the norm every week year round.  He enjoyed tennis in the earlier years and also golf having shot several hole in ones as well as numerous times shooting his age, a feat perhaps more challenging than getting a lucky hole in one.


He was able to attend the wedding of three Grandchildren and was highly sought after as a dance partner by both the Brides maids as well as the spouses of the groomsmen.  A 90th Birthday celebration was held in 2007 at the Wayside Inn, a place where his own father years before had helped to make the granite gristmill.  It was a fitting location for a fitting celebration and he was both surprised at the fuss, but was thrilled that his whole family was able to be there. 


Charles is survived by his wife Glenna (Easton) of Norwood, and his son Charles “Chuck” S. and his wife Linda of Walpole.  He is also survived by his grandchildren; Kristen Cannon and her husband Christopher of Norwood, Charles E. and his wife Erika of Grayslake, IL, Douglas and his wife Amy of Mansfield, Matthew of Washington, DC, Jonathan of Walpole, and Alina N. of Walpole.  Dearest “Tarley” to Ryan, Jack, Meredith, Charles K, Keira, Colby, Caleigh, and Tyler.  He is predeceased by his daughter Nanci E.; his parents Kalle and Alina (Italouma); his brother Osmo, and his sister Laila Sulkala. 


A memorial service for Charles will be held, Saturday, August 16th at 10:00 AM at the United Church in Walpole, 30 Common Street, Walpole.  Interment will be private.  Donations in his memory may be made to Camp Mak-A-Dream, c/o Collision Industry Foundation, P.O. Box 3007, Mechanicsville, VA 23116.  Camp Mak-A-Dream is a cost free, medically supervised camping experience for children ages 6-25 who are undergoing active treatment for cancer.   Arrangements by the May Funeral Home, Norwood.


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Folsom Funeral Service

Folsom Funeral Service