Jaak Juhansoo, a prominent figure of the Estonian émigré community and longtime president of the Estonian World Council, died on Jan. 13.
Juhansoo was born in Põltsamaa, Estonia on May 16, 1942. His family, together with Jaak's older brother Jaan, fled to Augsburg, Germany in escape from Soviet occupation. After a few years, they moved on to New York; Juhansoo was almost seven years old at the time.
After working for a couple of years on a farm on Edisto Island, S.C., the family moved to Minneapolis.
Following his graduation from the University of Minnesota, Juhansoo enlisted in the U.S. Army. After he was discharged in 1965, he worked in the electronics field and went on to establish his own business producing photo reproductions in metal, PRIMA Products, in the early 1970s.
Juhansoo was a longtime Estonian activist, contributing to Estonian liberation efforts by staging demonstrations, writing articles and giving interviews. He was presidnt and honorary member of the Boston Estonian Society, president and board member of the Baltic Society of New England, treasurer and board member of the Captive Nations Committee and longtime member of the Estonian American National Council (EANC). He also belonged to the Estonian World Council (ÜEKN) for three decades, serving as its president from 2007-2014 and treasurer thereafter.
The Estonian-American activist was given the Canadian-Estonian award for freedom fighting in 2003. He was also bestowed with Estonia's Order of the White Star, 4th Class, in 2007 and the EANC's award for distinguished service in 2014.
Juhansoo, who was buried in West Roxbury, Mass., is survived by wife Daina (Ule) Juhansoo, son Peeter and daughter Michele, as well as his first wife Sharon Juhansoo, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla