Mona Ann-Gret Isosaari, age 87, passed away in the early morning hours of October 18, 2021.


Ann-Gret was born June 24, 1934, in Kokkola, Finland to Evald and Emilia Kangas. In 1958, she emigrated to Canada under sponsorship of her cousin Erik Stenbacka and then wife Ann Hicks, who continued to be a friend and mentor to Ann-Gret throughout her life.


She was a devoted mom to her children who will miss her tremendously; son Peter, daughter Maren (Peter) and son Michael. She was also an incredibly loving Mommo to her grandchildren Lennea, Derrick, Leah and Jakob, and great-grandchildren Noah, Sadie, Liam, Freya and Tennley.


She is predeceased by her parents, sister Els-Maj Hagström, and daughter Ann Katherine Isosaari.  Also, her beloved dog Jasper.


She will be missed by many cousins, nieces, nephews and friends in Canada, Finland, Sweden, Australia, and England.


Ann-Gret had a unique sense of humour and numerous sayings that did not always translate well from Finnish or Swedish into English. “Even fish stink after three days” when talking of house guests, or “you can pee in my pocket, if you don’t laugh.” One of her go-to lines, when her kids questioned her about her ability and age, was “I don’t have anything you won’t have in 20 years.” And as usual, she was right.


In her retirement, she loved to knit and spent many hours making socks and mittens which she would bring to the local schools, church, and hospital. She loved volunteering at the United Church with her cousins and enjoyed golfing as it gave her the opportunity to walk and socialize.


Mostly she loved to garden; every summer she had a beautiful display of flowers all around her little house in Wawa and a vegetable garden that brought her enough spoils to last through the winter. She loved her wood stove and the heat it emitted, and she continued to split firewood until she sold her house in 2015, at the age of 81.


She was a strong, determined, and independent woman. In Finn, this is called Sisu, and she was the embodiment of it.


A memorial service will be held at a later date.


Memorial contributions may be made to the First United Church in Wawa, Ontario.


  1. My condolences to the Isosaari family. She was a beautiful lady with an infectious smile.

  2. Wonderful memories of Joan’s good friend, a spunky woman with a kind heart & a beautiful soul
    Loved her Finn accent & Sisu – Finn women never give up
    Wishing you smiles mixed between the tears as you remember the happy times

    Jack Aitkenhead & Judy Scott 💜

  3. How I loved shopping in her store. She had great taste and too big was no excuse. She could remake it to fit me. I recall a beautiful white shirred dress that I bought, very expensive at the time but gorgeous. My sister called soon after I wore it twice all concerned. She had been invited along with her husband to the big Kraft Company Christmas gala in Montreal. What would she wear that would be worthy of such an event? I assured I have the perfect dress for her and sent it to her from Wawa. After the party, I called and she explained how it almost ruined her evening. People kept asking here where she got such a fabulous dress. Not wanting to spend the night explaining where Wawa was she said Sault Ste Marie which most did not recognize either. Then she told how that the wife of the president of the company told her she had the best dress in the place!! I have many good memories of this beautiful lady and of the friendship of her family.

  4. Spent hours in the store – was like a family visit. Ann-Gret would pull out the chair downstairs for Scotty & after she assembled the clothes she & my mom thought I should buy she would visit with him while I modelled the suggested outfits. Then I would pick out my outfits which tended to be plainer & to my mom’s horror some of them were black
    Few years after moving to the Soo I ended up in Fashion First Dress Shop on Wellington Street & after meeting the owner immediately told her about Ann-Gret & the store in Wawa
    Later discovered the owner’s best friend was Harry McCluskie’s sister Ina
    The days of a special outfit for each occasion & dressing up big time bring back happy memories of years gone by

    Judy Scott 💜

  5. Sorry to hear about your loss. She was a lovely lady. Spent many hours shopping in her store.