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Finnish Resthome’s oldest resident dies at 111

Emily McCool remembered as ‘a spunky lady’

The Sault’s Ontario Finnish Resthome Association (OFRA) has lost its longest living resident.

Emily McCool died Thursday.

She was 111.

“Our sweet Emily was such a pleasure to take care of,” wrote Helina McGrath, OFRA’s Mauno Kaihla Koti (MKK) care services executive director in an email.

Mauno Kaihla Koti (MKK) is a nursing home which provides 24-hour nursing and personal care services.

She first moved to Kotitalo (a supportive housing facility at OFRA) a decade ago. 

“She loved everyone there. Emily then moved to MKK on Sept. 19, 2016 and was a constant source of inspiration and joy to all of us. Emily had an awesome sense of humor and was known to be a ‘spunky lady’” McGrath wrote.

When McCool moved to MKK in June 2016 at the age of 107, Heidi Schell, OFRA purchasing and marketing agent, asked her son-in-law Pat what McCool attributed her longevity to.

“He said, ‘well, as she would say, nothing in particular, but live one day at a time and make sure you drink a rum and coke every afternoon,’” Schell recalled.

McCool was born on St. Joseph Island Dec. 13, 1909, left St. Joseph Island at 20 and moved to the Sault. 

She married George Cahoon. They had one daughter, Patricia Allan (1940–2012). In 1950, she divorced. In the 1960's, she remarried to Loren McCool. She worked in a variety of grocery stores as well as a proofreader for The Sault Star, also working as a hospital candy striper.

“Emily’s son-in-law Pat was very supportive. Pat could not thank the OFRA team at Kotitalo and MKK enough. He said Emily was really well cared for at her OFRA home. Pat was a frequent visitor here and he expressed his gratitude for the wonderful care and services here at MKK and Kotitalo over the years. I extend our sincere and heartfelt condolences to Pat on the loss of his dear mother in law,” McGrath wrote.