Jorma “Ole” Sarto

Jorma “Ole” Sarto (BS Mech Egr ’42) of Mackinaw City, Mich., died February 5, 2012 at home. He was 95.

A resident of Mackinaw City since 1984, moving from Orchard Lake, Michigan, he was born January 26, 1917, in Lansing, the son of Oskari and Maria Matilda (Tuomisalo) Sarto of Finland.

He graduated from Michigan State University with a BS in mechanical engineering in 1942, and from Chrysler Institute with a master’s of automotive engineering in 1944. On March 27, 1943, in Lansing, he married Frances Elma Hamilton. He was employed as an engineer with Chrysler Corporation for 46 years. During World War II, he worked as a civil engineer at the Warren Tank Plant, and after the war he worked as an automotive engineer, fuel systems specialist, in Highland Park, retiring in 1984, having 39 patents in fuel efficiency, power steering, and emission quality. Sarto was a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers and a fellow in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. As a registered professional engineer, he continued to work as a consulting engineer well after retirement.

Sarto actively served the Presbyterian Church throughout his adult life—including as youth adviser, as an elder, as anchor for the bass section in the choir, in the Presbytery and Synod, and in Presbyterian Men. He was a member of the Church of the Straits and the Lions Club. Prior to retirement he was active with the Finnish Association Center in Farmington Hills, and sang in the Finlandia Male Chorus. He was an avid pilot and loved flying small planes even after he was 80. Most fascinated with seaplanes, he participated in the annual Otsego Lake Splash-In. He also served as commander of the Civil Air Patrol in Cheboygan, training cadets in search and rescue. He treasured his role in the Colonial Fort Michilimackinac Pageant as one of the “Fathers.” He and his wife, Fran, worked with youth, PTA, sang in choirs, and loved to go dancing.

Surviving are his wife, Fran; three daughters: Mary Fran Sarto of Minneapolis, Minn., Andrea Sarto of Mackinaw City, and Elma (Jon) Strom of Davison, Mich.; three grandchildren: Rachael Sarto of Minneapolis, Nathan Bennett of Mackinaw City, and Cora Thiele of Marquette, Mich. He was preceded in death by his parents; two sons-in-law: John Thiele and Bill Bennett; two brothers: Jack and Leo Sarto; and a nephew, Leo David Sarto.