Leslie R. SaikkonenLeslie R. Saikkonen, age 93, passed away after a brief illness Tuesday, July 26 at Cayuga Medical Center, Ithaca, NY. 


Leslie was born April 28, 1918 in Negaunee, Michigan, one of nine children of Esa and Alma (Niemi) Saikkonen.  The family moved to the Spencer-Van Etten area of New York in the early 1920s.  Leslie received his education through the Van-Etten schools.


In early 1941, Leslie entered the U.S. Army for a one-year enlistment that increased to the four-year duration of World War II.  Shortly after returning from the war, he got married and purchased the farm near Trumansburg where he resided the rest of his life.


During his working years he operated the farm and worked as an auto mechanic at several local auto dealerships.  In 1957, he went to work for the Finger Lakes Stone Company as their heavy machinery mechanic until his retirement in 1982.


His wife, Sarah I. Saikkonen, died in 2003, and his son Stuart L. Saikkonen died in 1995.


Leslie is survived by his son Alan J. and daughter-in-law Cheryl A. Saikkonen of Syracuse, NY; two grandchildren, Kelly A. (Zervas) Saikkonen of Lexington, MA., and Lauren L. Saikkonen of Fayetteville, NC; brother Donald (Dixie) Saikkonen of Spencer, NY; and sister Edne Alva of Spencer, NY.


Leslie was especially proud of his contribution to the war effort in the South Pacific and also proud of his Finnish heritage.


Funeral services will be held at the Ness-Sibley Funeral Home, 23 South Street, Trumansburg, NY at 11:00 AM, Friday, July 29, 2011.