Kaarlo Pollari, 89, passed away peacefully on Friday, February 5th, 2021 at his home in Bradenton, Florida. He will be missed and fondly remembered by Karen, his wife of nearly 61 years, daughter Katrine, sons Kermit and Kevin, Kevin’s wife Janet, three grandchildren – Allison, Jessica and Emma, his brother Edwin Pollari and sister Elaine Minnick. He is preceded in death by his parents and siblings Richard, John, Emily and Eleanor.
Kaarlo was born December 9th, 1931 in Monessen, PA to the late Richard and Aino (Ojutkangas) Pollari. His family moved shortly thereafter to Geauga County where he lived most of his life in Middlefield and Parkman. Kaarlo graduated Parkman High School in 1949. He earned his BA Mathematics at Hiram College in 1953 followed by service in the Army 1953-1955. He also attended graduate school at The Ohio State University.
Kaarlo’s career was dedicated to education, teaching math over a 37-year span, primarily in Cardinal Schools. He coached golf and basketball. Friday nights were always spent with family, watching Cardinal sports. He also served on the Board of Education 14 years while managing a construction business. He took great pride in the diverse accomplishments of Cardinal students and loved sharing their stories with others.
Kaarlo served on the Geauga Credit Union board of directors for over 30 years that provided affordable banking access for teachers. He was an early leader supporting the teaching profession in the 1960s. For example, he led union negotiations with the school to successfully establish a durable contract. At the same time, there was no doubt he put the students’ interests first. For example, he had a standing offer to help any student needing one-on-one support after school.
His faith was important to him serving as a church trustee, president and singing in the choir at Grace Lutheran Church in Thompson, Ohio, where he and Karen were also married. He was a proud Finn full of “Sisu” – that is, a combination of grit, courage and perseverance. Throughout life he spoke English to his Mom and Finnish to his Dad.
Kaarlo was one of a kind. He was passionate about Cleveland and Ohio State sports and attended the 1948 World Series with high school buddies when the Indians last won. He enjoyed bird watching, meticulously tracking a lifelong list of birds he had seen. Other hobbies included hunting, fishing and golf. He even mastered riding a bicycle backwards after seeing it performed at the circus. He loved jazz music, hot soup, a good Rob Roy cocktail and domestic beer. He did not like onions.
Above all else he loved Karen, his kids and grandkids. He took great pride in regaling others with stories about them, as many surely know. He will be missed by all.
A Celebration of life will be held in Ohio at a date to be determined in the Summer of 2021. We request you consider supporting Cardinal Athletic Boosters, P.O. Box 41, Middlefield, OH 44062 or Grace Lutheran Church, 8091 Plank Rd., Thompson, OH 44086.