Cover photo for Airi Jean Pesola's Obituary
Airi Jean Pesola Profile Photo
1968 Airi 2016

Airi Jean Pesola

June 12, 1968 — January 3, 2016

Airi J. Pesola, age 47, Detroit Lakes, MN, died January 3, 2016, at her apartment.   Airi Jean Pesola was born June 12, 1968, in Northfield, MN, to Russell and Carol Ann Pesola. She graduated from Moorhead High School.   Airi Pesola was a remarkable woman who lived a life of great strength, courage, uncompromising determination, astonishing resilience, joy, compassion and love. She was a beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin, aunt and friend. Airi was an animal lover; an avid Twins/Bison/Red Hawks fan; a Trekkie; an Uno and Bingo player; a Doctor Who enthusiast; an impressive collector of stamps and pop-culture memorabilia; a rock hound; a discriminating gift-giver; a horseback rider; a model builder; a Subaru driver; a wood splitter; a boogie-woogie dancer; a baby sitter; a beer connoisseur; a proud Finn; a train traveler; a jokester; a keen observer; the chief back-rubber to the Concordia College Band; a charmer; a defier of expectations. Airi lived with many limitations, but never seemed to see them as such. She faced innumerable physical and health problems, any one of which would have been enough for a lifetime. Despite all of her challenges, Airi worked for many years at the Vanity warehouse. More recently she worked at the Red River Valley Academy in Moorhead where she prepared for meals, read to and listened to children read and most importantly got to spend time with the “trio”, her triplet nephews. In her early years Airi’s constant companion, best friend and guardian angel was a white cat named Monkey. As an adult she shared her home for many years with a diminutive Siamese named Sasu, and later was stepmom to her dear friend Olivia’s cats Lucy and Sammy. Shortly before her death she adopted an affectionate kitten that she named Lil’Lu. She was also a great dog lover and maintained a close, though long-distance, bond with her aunt and uncle’s dog Ginger. In her new apartment she quickly befriended all the canine residents and kept a steady supply of dog treats to distribute during her daily rounds through the building.  For many years Airi enjoyed a special bond with her friend Dan, with whom she shared a love for movies, concerts, monster truck shows and all things inter-galactic. The years that she spent caring for her grandma were pivotal in Airi’s life. Overcoming Doris’s initial skepticism and resistance to her offers of help, Airi soon became her closest companion and most compassionate caregiver, and the friendship they developed transformed both of their lives. Airi’s spirit transformed all of our lives, and we will miss her terribly.   Airi is survived by her parents Carol Ann Dahlberg (Duane), Frazee, MN, and Russell Pesola (Denise), Hawley, MN: sister Kristin Pesola, Portland, OR; stepsister Beth Luby (Mark), Stillwater; stepbrother Steven Dahlberg (Colette Wolf), Mahnomen; aunts Kay Sahlin (Ken) and Diane Miller (Alan); godparents Myrna and Sarah Johnson; four cousins Erik and Jonathan Sahlin (Dana), Dan Miller (Brooke) and Lauren Miller Germaine (Michael); eight nieces and nephews; and close friends Olivia Schlotman and Joy Mudgett.   She was preceded in death by her grandparents Ray and Doris Pesola and Eugene and Esther Bjornstad; stepbrother Mark Dahlberg; godparent Miles Johnson, and special friend Dan Heil.
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