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  • Writer's pictureVesa Oja

Esko & Rodney Hieta Van Nuys 2009

8th Finglish trip June 2009 #23

Esko Hieta was born in Tampere in 1930, were he also went to school. After studying at Business Institute in Helsinki he moved to Sweden in 1950. Then in the same year he was recruited to Canada. Esko worked in Toronto for 5-6 years in building construction.

In 1956 Esko moved to New York and started importing wooden speed boats from Kotka, Finland. He participated in Marathon Race Around Lond Island, which was 260 ml long. The name of the game was, whose boat lasts longer won. The race continued for six years until it was banned by authorities as too dangerous.

Customs regulation hampered imports of mahogany and Esko had to sell the firm in Long Island. In the 1960s Esko moved to California to work as real estate broker and he also sold insurances. In North Hollywood a Finnish American Club was set up, Esko helped to find a property for the Club. The Club was set up for Finns from Canada. Esko said ´if you are in Canada you are just in the hallway´.

Esko´s son Rodney repairs cars and bicycles. He is an avid downhill mountain biker and was often injured in it. When Esko moved to Van Nuys, only four Finnish families lived there. He is proud of his garden in the yard of his house where he had planted lemon and orange trees.

Next Finnish Folk Art Museum Pasadena California USA

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