Kaarina Sand died at home on Sunday, July 12, 2020. She was 91 years old and living in Shingle Springs, California, USA. Born as Terttu Kaarina Kähkönen on February 16, 1929 in Ruokojärvi, Impilahti, Finland, she was the fifth of nine children born to Aatu Kähkönen of Valtimo, Finland and Ida Hirvonen of Kitee, Finland. Aatu was a farmer, blacksmith and lay Adventist preacher whose preaching, assisted by his violin and enthusiastic singing, brought many to revival, including Ida. In 1939 Finnish soldiers were sent to Ruokojärvi, with some soldiers attending his meetings. Aatu was first warned and then detained by the authorities for preaching against killing. Then when Soviet forces invaded Karelia during the Winter War preceding World War II, the family evacuated before Christmas 1939, first to Läskelä and then to Kitee. They returned to Impilahti the Spring of 1940 where they had to rebuild their home and barn which had been burnt to the ground by soldiers. During the Continuation War of 1941-1944, they evacuated again, this time to Alajärvi (Summer 1942). Then in 1945/46, the Finnish government relocated the family, along with a number of other evacuees from Impilahti, to Suonenjoki, Finland where they cleared the forest to build a new home and farm.
Kaarina moved to England the day after Christmas in 1954 and completed the “PTS” Preliminary Training School nursing program. She was employed from December 30, 1954 until May 10, 1957, first as an assistant nurse and later as a student nurse at Warley Hospital, Brentwood, Essex. After that she was employed by King George Hospital in Romford, Essex, until she married Walter Tetsuo Itagaki in the Walthamstow Seventh-day Adventist Church, Ilford, England on September 27, 1957. Walter Itagaki was a US citizen of Japanese ancestry from the Territory of Hawai’i, stationed at Royal Air Force Greenham Common, Newbury, Berkshire, England. He was a Staff Sergeant, Medical Service, US Air Force.
Children born to Kaarina and Walter include Lisa Marie (1958) and Don Briant (1959), while residing at Southbroom Bungalow, Sandleford Grove, Newbury, Berkshire, England, and Leila Ann (1961) and Sonja Lucy (1962), while residing in Laurel, Maryland, USA. Walter was honorably discharged from military service and completed a PhD at the University of Maryland, USA. Due to lingering anti-Japanese sentiments post World War II, the family legally changed their last name from Itagaki to Sand.
The family moved to Loma Linda, California in 1965, where Walter became a professor at what today is Loma Linda University. His career as a clinical psychologist moved the family around the country over the following 20 years: Highland, California (Patton State Hospital); Peterson, Alabama (Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center); Gainesville, Florida (VA Medical Center); Newark,
New York (Newark State Home); Hammondsport, New York (Bath VA Medical Center) and Battle, Creek, Michigan (Battle Creek VA Medical Center). During those years Kaarina worked as a homemaker and part-time nurse.
Kaarina loved to garden and was generous and hospitable, whether entertaining at home or taking creative dishes to church potlucks. She was ready for adventure and travel, visiting relatives in Finland, going on tented safaris in Kenya, watching the World Cup in Seoul, Korea,
throwing buckets of icy water during Songkran in Chiang Mai, Thailand, watching white-faced monkeys at dawn in Costa Rica, or simply and especially, enjoying time together with family in California, Hawai’i, Maryland and Oregon. Kaarina was interested in people of varied
backgrounds and would light up with babies, children and animals.
In 1985, she began to drive school buses for Battle Creek Academy and tour buses for the Historic Adventist Village in Battle Creek, Michigan. She moved to Shingle Springs, California in 2007. Kaarina braved Parkinson’s disease for 18 years. She was a life-long Seventh-day Adventist, devout in her faith in God until the end.
Kaarina is survived by four children, Lisa Marie Beardsley-Hardy (Frank Hardy), Don Briant Sand, Leila Ann Miller (Robert Miller) and Sonja Lucy Bradburn, (David Bradburn), and five grandchildren: Shelby Hurwitt (Gabriel Hurwitt), Megan Taylor, Bryce Taylor, Joshua Bradburn and Jeffrey Bradburn. One grandson, Zachary Bradburn predeceased her. Living siblings include Rauha Sormunen and Väinö Kähkönen (Leena) of Nummela, Finland and Vieno Järvinen of Ylöjärvi, Finland.
A Celebration of Life will take place in November. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Historic Adventist Village in Battle Creek, Adventist Heritage Ministries, Accounting Dept. P.O. Box 1414, Battle Creek, MI 49017, www.adventistheritage.org
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