Aarne Kovala’s daughter wrote a book about his Second World War experiences
A man who survived being taken prisoner by the Germans as a teenage Finnish merchant marine during the Second World War and later went on to help build the Superstack here in Sudbury passed away Oct. 30 at the age of 90.
“From his youth as a sailor in Finland, his travels across Canada raising smokestacks, and his work constructing homes and buildings in Sudbury, Aarne brought energy, determination, and sisu to every project,” said Aarne Kovala’s obituary. “Aarne loved spending time at his camp on Lake Panache surrounded by friends and family. He will be remembered for his cheerful personality and easy laugh.”
Sudbury.com interviewed Kovala about his life a couple of times over the years, most recently in 2017, when he spoke about his role in building the Superstack in the wake of news that it will be dismantled.
Safety in the 1970s wasn’t what it is today. To get to the top of the stack while it was under construction, workers would hop on the cement buckets being hoisted to the top of the structure, and hang on for dear life. As far as Kovala knows, nobody was killed in the stack’s construction.
There’s an amazing photo of Kovala — sitting at the top of the Superstack — without any fall restraint safety gear. “You couldn’t have any safety belts because you were moving steady,” he said. “Of course, everybody is maybe afraid of heights, but after awhile you get used to it.”