James Frederick Salo

April 14, 1933 ~ August 8, 2023 (age 90) 90 Years Old

James Salo Obituary

Our beloved father, James Frederick Salo, 90, passed away in the late afternoon August 8th, 2023 at the Ashtabula County Medical Center.

James, (Jim) was born April 14th, 1933 in Cleveland to the late Laura Salo.  He was adopted by his grandparents, Hedwig and John Salo and grew up in Ashtabula Harbor.  He grew up speaking Finnish and only learned English when he began kindergarten. He graduated in 1951 from Harbor High School where he had excelled in football, basketball and track.

After graduating, he began the following Monday working at Union Carbide Power Plant.  He served in the U.S. Navy 1955 – 1959 aboard the destroyer, the U.S.S. Abbot, DD629.  During his service on the Abbot, he traveled around the world.  James married his childhood sweetheart, Marilyn Ruuska, on May 8th, 1954 at Old Bethany Lutheran Church.

He was an avid sports fan participating in bowling at King’s Lanes and Lake Shore Lanes.  He was a member of Village Green Golf Course and played there often.  He was a fan of all Cleveland sports, Guardians, Browns and Cavaliers.  And he was a beloved fan of Ohio State Football; while his daughter, Kristy, lived in Columbus, he attended many OSU Football games and enjoyed the Memorial Golf Tournament at Muirfield Village.  In Ashtabula he was a Little League manager, and once he moved to Kingsville, he was a Kingsville area Little League manager.

He retired from the Illuminating Company June 30th, 1990 at the age of 57.

James and Marilyn were always on the go locally to Ashtabula Harbor, Conneaut, and Geneva-On-The-Lake.  They also traveled to Finland, California, Upstate New York, Branson, Missouri, Cape Cod, Nashville, along with numerous trips to Columbus, Ohio, Front Row Theatre and Cleveland Playhouse Square.  His favorite close to home summertime spot was Eddie’s Grill at Geneva-On-The-Lake.

James and Marilyn were founding members of the Finnish American Heritage Association and both attended Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.

On his 90th birthday, in April of this year, he received over 200 birthday cards from co-workers, neighbors, friends, little league players, and the President of the United States.  Cards came to him from as far away as California, Brazil and Japan.

James lived by the motto, “Keep smiling,” which is his father-in law, Martin Ruuska, taught him.

James was preceded in death by his wife Marilyn, and is survived by sons, Timothy of Kingsville, Steven (Theresa) of North Kingsville, and daughter, Kristy (Jay) Woelfel of Glendale, California and a few cousins.

We invite friends and family to a memorial celebration of his life, followed by a light lunch, which will be held on August 21st with the service starting at 11am at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 876 Grove St, Conneaut, OH.  It will be a joint service with Pastor Josh Krenz and Pastor Betsy Schenk.

The family wishes to thank, friends, household assistants and companion care providers, Darlene Ziegler Rinehardt and Wanda Olp.  Thanks as well to Pastor Betsy Schenk for her spiritual guidance and companion care.  And also, thanks to Potti Funeral Home & Cremation Service for three generations of assistance in our family’s times of need.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Conneaut or the Finnish American Heritage Association, Ashtabula.


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Celebration of Life
August 21, 2023

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (Conneaut)


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