Cover photo for Aino Kikkas's Obituary
Aino Kikkas Profile Photo

Aino Kikkas

April 14, 1926 — March 30, 2023

Aino Kikkas

Aino Manni Kikkas, 96, Coeur d’Alene, passed at age 96 from this life into the arms of her  Savior Jesus Christ, on Thursday, March 30, 2023 at The Lodge at Fairway Forest. 

She was born April 14,1926, to Vassili and Helene (Kirman) Manni in Tallinn, Estonia. Aino spent  many happy childhood years on the Estonian island of Aegna, where her father was military  commander. Things turned dark though during World War II with the invasion of Estonia by  Communist Russia in 1939 and later by Nazi Germany in 1941. To avoid death or deportation,  many Estonians, including Aino’s father and older brother, Edgar, were forced to go into hiding.  

At age18 Aino herself was forced to flee her beloved country when Russian forces once again  breeched the borders in 1944. She made her way to Poland, but the encroaching Red Army  pushed her to trek (sometimes on skis) ever westward during the cold winter months of early  1945 through Czechoslovakia and eventually to the American lines along the Rhine in Germany.  On her journey to freedom she barely escaped death several times — from gun and cannon  fire, bombings, and starvation. 

When the war ended, she spent several years working as a translator for the British and living  all the while in displaced persons camps. When the chance came to immigrate to America in  1951, she seized it and sailed for New York. She also lived and worked for a time in Newark,  

New Jersey and St. Louis, Missouri, and enrolled in night classes at business schools. Aino  studied diligently for her citizenship exams and became a proud U.S. citizen in 1957. 

A job offer in Los Angeles brought Aino to California, where she became an accountant for the  Standard Oil Company. In L.A. she met other Estonian refugees, including the man she would  marry — Kalju (“Cliff”) Kikkas — on May 13, 1961. She and Kalju later moved to Hayden, Idaho in 1967, where he continued his job with GTE. They became longtime members of Coeur  d’Alene Bible Church, and enjoyed leading many Christian endeavors there. Evangelism was  dearest to Aino’s heart; there’s nothing she enjoyed more than sharing her amazing story and  faith with others, whether one on one or to large audiences. Looking back on her experiences,  she sees the guiding and protecting hand of God on her life, even before she knew him in a  personal way. 

Aino had a great ability to befriend young people, especially internationals and also those on  staff at places she lived during her last years at Fair Winds, North Star and The Lodge. She will  be remembered for her sharp wit and keen sense of humor, her fight against communism  and for conservative issues, her passion for Bible study, her love of animals, and her thirst for  adventure. She and Kalju traveled extensively to places near and far — to the Deep South,  Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey and Greece, Israel, and  eventually to reunite with friends and family in their home country of Estonia after the demise of  the Soviet Union. Her greatest regret, however, is that her mother and father and her brother  had all passed away before her 1993 return trip to Tallinn. She also found it odd that she  needed a passport to enter the country of her birth. 

After a brief battle with cancer, Aino’s husband Kalju preceded her in death in 2002. As a  widow with no children, her many friends (too numerous to name here) and those she led to the  Lord are her survivors. Longtime friends Monica Hillard, Bob and Beth Ployhar, and Randy and  Brenda Adams are in charge of final arrangements.

Celebration of life will be 1 p.m. Friday,  April 14 at English Funeral Chapel, Coeur d’Alene. Burial will be 2:00 p.m. Monday, April 17 at Coeur d’Alene Memorial Gardens.

Memorial donations may be made to Open Doors, a ministry to persecuted Christians and to refugees like Aino.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Aino Kikkas, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Friday, April 14, 2023

Starts at 1:00 pm (Pacific time)

English Funeral Chapel and Crematory

1133 N. 4th St, Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Graveside Service

Monday, April 17, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Pacific time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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